The Triton Poker High Roller Series Main Event has reached its final table, with six of the world’s elite poker players returning tomorrow to crown a champion. One of them will leave the Landing Casino, Shinhwa World Resort, South Korea, with an extra HK$30.6 (US$3.9 million) and the first main event trophy of 2019.
With 48 entries, costing HK$2 million apiece, the prize pool had swelled to HK$90,204,000 (US$11.5 million approx) by the time registration closed at the start of today. By the end of it, we had six North Americans, and nobody else, left.
Play was significantly more cagey through the day’s eight hours than perhaps at any other time at a poker tournament in these parts. With a bubble of HK$6.3 million (US$803,000) looming, it’s not surprising. But it was still fascinating to see the game’s glitterati playing with extreme caution lest they leave with nothing.
By the end of it, the Canadian high roller regular Timothy Adams had amassed a considerable chip lead. Adams knocked out the final two players on the second day — one of whom was the seemingly unbeatable Justin Bonomo — to end with a stack of 5.33 million, more than 2 million more than his closest challenger.
The final table stacks up as follows, with scheduled payouts below:
1 – Timothy Adams, Canada, 5.33 million
2 – Bryn Kenney, USA, 3.21 million
3 – Isaac Haxton, USA, 1.235 million
4 – Peter Jetten, Canada, 820,000
5 – Dan Smith, USA, 810,000
6 – David Peters, USA, 595,000
Triton Series Jeju Main Event
Dates: March 7-9, 2019
Buy-in: HK$2 million (US$255,000)
Entries: 48 (inc. 16 re-entries)
Prize pool: HK$90,204,000
1- HK$30,600,000 (US$3.9 million)
2- HK$21,200,000 (US$2.7 million)
3- HK$13,600,000 (US$1.7 million)
4- HK$10,390,000 (US$1.3 million)
5- HK$8,150,000 (US$1.04 million)
6- HK$6,300,000 (US$803,000)
In the moments before play resumed today, after 10 levels on day one, Ivan Leow and Michael Soyza found time to re-enter, while Wai Leong Chan also sneaked in for the first time. But none of them was able to spin up a 25 big blind stack to take a place in the last nine.
It’s a measure of the volatility here that there was also no room at the final table for Richard Yong, who led overnight. The Triton co-founder died as he lived, with a fearless display of aggression. With the big blind at 25,000 Isaac Haxton opened to 50,000 and Yong made a huge shove, for 889,000, with . Haxton only had himself but made a gutsy call and hit an ace on the flop, knocking Yong out. Soon enough, the field trimmed to nine, and it was a who’s who of the global game.
Though only one table was now necessary, the bubble was still a way off, and both remaining Germans fell short. Dominik Nitsche, who led at one point today, followed Christoph Vogelsang to the rail, setting up an all North American battle to squeeze past the bubble.
Bryn Kenney assumed the lead, before Adams pegged him back. All the while, David Peters sat with a tiny stack — around six big blinds at one point — but somehow he managed to cling on. He was in for four bullets too, so he needed this.
Even putting aside the particular dynamic, you would have got long odds against Bonomo being the man to perish. His tournament game is second to absolutely no one’s, as evidenced by his position at the top of poker’s all-time money list.
But he made what turned out to be a rare mis-step when, holding he three-bet pushed over Adams’ opening raise. Adams might have been bullying with the chip lead, but the he had in his hand suggested otherwise.
After a call and then a blank flop, Bonomo wandered away as the bubble boy.
That set us up for a final day on which you can be pretty much guaranteed a display of flawless poker. Watch it on the Triton live stream tomorrow. You might just learn something.
Photography by Jamie Thomson/Poker Photo Archive.