Three days after losing $1 million in a bitter heads-up poker match, Nikhil “Nik Airball” Arcot gave credit where credit is due to his new rival Matt Berkey.
Some may have expected the Hustler Casino Live regular to make excuses for the beatdown, perhaps blaming variance. Instead, he took the high road and congratulated his opponent. On top of that, on Twitter, he apologized for referring to the Solve for Why founder as a “scammer.”
The high-stakes poker players battled in a $200/$400 no-limit hold’em match at Resorts World in Las Vegas that began last month and concluded last week. It was scheduled to last 100 total hours of play over multiple sessions, but there was a $1 million stop-loss in play that permitted the player who was behind to quit at that point. Airball, after losing a $300,000-plus pot to set-over-set, decided to call it quits $1,029,700 in the hole after just under 60 hours.
End of the Poker Rivalry?
As promised in a brief May 6 congratulatory tweet, Nik Airball tweeted out a lengthy note about the match and his heads-up opponent. He, as Solve for Why’s Matt Hunt wrote, showed some “humility.”
“There was a lot of s**t talking, most of it for fun and to add excitement to the match, but in the end I have to give credit where credit is due. He played well, and he played better than I expected he would. He won fair and square, and he deserves to celebrate his win,” Airball wrote.
Nik Airball then went on to apologize for “the comments I made about Matt being a scammer.” He referred to those comments he made on Doug Polk’s podcast as “out of line.”
Berkey, the lead co-host of the award-winning Only Friends Podcast, has faced criticism recently from both Airball and Polk. He’s fired back his fair share of shots too. But he backed up his talk in the highly publicized heads-up match, and perhaps humbled his opponent a bit in the process.
“My close friends know the type of person I really am and the character I have. But in poker, I enjoy being an exuberant polarizing character. I believe that poker needs characters, but sometimes I go too far with it, and that’s something I need to work on. I’m never going to change how I really am – fun, loud, social, sometimes obnoxious. But I can work on being better at not making comments that can be hurtful. In the end, I just want to have fun and play some poker,” Airball continued.
What the Poker Community has to Say About Apologetic Tweet
Nik Airball talked the talk prior to the high-stakes match against Berkey, but he couldn’t back it up. Afterwards, however, he appeared humbled and showed some humility. But what does the poker community have to say about his lengthy tweet? Let’s take a look.
“This is great to hear someone have these type of takeaways and be willing to grow and admit where they may have been wrong but still stay true to being themselves,” Faraz Jaka wrote.
“Most people just talk, you put up and battled. Respect for that and for this open vulnerable statement,” David Williams tweeted.
@chinamaniac @nikairball @berkey11 It doesn’t matter how someone learns, only that they learn. Well, this way matters to Berkey.
“Please consider some of this class when you are playing. It sets so much of a better example in this polarised world we live in,” @wimdows advises.
“Who hacked Airball’s account? Jokes aside, his apology to Berkey shows how important it is to be careful with our words about others. Nice to see him swallowing his pride giving credit where it was due. Hopefully there can be some mutual respect between them going forward,” tweeted Andy “Stacks,” who often faces Nik Airball in the biggest games on Hustler Casino Live.
Phil Galfond, who served as the arbitrator for the heads-up match, praised Airball for taking the “high road” and not blaming the loss on variance.
Shaun Deeb also gave props to Airball, but we won’t share the full tweet until Coherent Deeb swoops in the clean up the grammar.
Last but certainly not least, the most important response to Airball’s tweet comes from the poker pro Airball previously referred to as a “scammer.”
“I honestly think this statement is closer to the real person Nik is at his core than all of the antics reflect. Saw plenty of very small examples of him going out of his way to be kind both with his words and actions. Thank you for the apology,” Berkey responded.