Over the past couple of years, Australia’s Michael Addamo has graduated from the ranks of high-level poker talents to stand alone at the very top of the tree. He has put together a streak of results that stands comparison with any seen before, slicing through elite tournament fields to bank millions.
Addamo today added another title, winning the opening event of the Triton Series Madrid festival, worth €478,000. It is by no means the biggest payday of this incredible purple patch, but it might go down as Addamo’s most satisfying performance.
Addamo was the overnight chip leader of nine players returning today, but was then reduced to a tiny short stack, sitting with fewer than 10 big blinds seven-handed. However, he managed to pick his spots like a true artist, refusing to put his fortunes in the lap of the gods and instead always backing his impeccable judgment. It meant that he was able to rebuild, bounce back from any downturns, and eventually defeat the Malaysian pro Michael Soyza heads up.
It’s Addamo’s first Triton Series victory, over a field of 90 entries in this €20,00 buy-in tournament, but it will not be his last.
THE STORY OF THE DAY
There were some interesting ICM implications at the start of the day, especially for the medium-sized stacks. Morten Klein had only seven big blinds and Fernando Garcia had 14, which meant it would have been suicidal for anyone sitting in the middle of the pack to bust before them. However, with such a ruthless and well-stacked chip-leader in Addamo, those medium stacks also knew they might easily be targeted by the bully if they were to play too passively.
START OF DAY CHIP COUNTS
Michael Addamo – 4,695,000
Paul Phua – 3,250,000
Tommy Kim – 2,210,000
Michael Soyza – 1,790,000
Heung Wayne – 1,650,000
Rob Young – 1,545,000
Danny Tang – 1,485,000
Fernando Garcia – 700,000
Morten Klein – 345,000
Soyza set a tone on the very first hand of the day, refusing to fold a flush draw despite Addamo’s aggression, and being rewarded by rivering that flush. That gave Soyza a big early pot and showed an early chink in Addamo’s armour. On the very next hand, the Klein problem was solved — the short stack shoved into Paul Phua’s , and received no help.
Klein departed in ninth, having played only two hands at the final, but earning €50,400 from his first foray into the Triton shark tank. Phua meanwhile recouped some of the chips he lost in yesterday’s huge final hand against Addamo.
With the absolute short stack eliminated, play settled down for a while. Addamo was still trying to push things, but wasn’t getting it all his own way, and Phua managed to move back into the chip lead. And Phua received another fillip when Garcia thought his time had come to either double up or go home.
Garcia had 550,000, with the big blind and 80K, and action folded to him in the cutoff. His holding wasn’t amazing — — but he shoved it in, and it folded all the way to Phua in the big blind. Phua’s holding also wasn’t great — — but Phua made the sighing call.
Garcia was fine with it, especially after he picked up even more equity when the first four cards off the deck were and . But the came on the river, only improving Phua, and Garcia’s day was done.
The lone Spaniard at the final shrugged his shoulders and grinned his way away from the table, happy that his debut on this series had ended with such a deep run. He earned €66,600 and looked keen to get back into the action next time.
At this stage, it might have been fair to assume Addamo would take over. He still had heaps of both chips and experience of precisely these kinds of situations, and he could have now expected to change gears and run things over. However, the only gear he found was reverse.
Addamo doubled up Heung Wayne in a huge pot when both flopped top-pair jacks, but Heung had a better kicker. And the pair then played another 1 million-plus pot, when both had ace high and Heung had the better kicker again. Addamo slumped to 10 big blinds, and will therefore have been grateful to see Danny Tang next to take the fall.
Tang doubled up Rob Yong in a huge pot, when Tang’s queens lost to Yong’s kings. And even though Tang doubled back through Soyza, it was only for a few blinds, and he was eliminated in seventh shortly after the first tournament break of the day.
Tang had to Tommy Kim’s when he shoved for 825,000. But there was a jack on the flop and another on the river, and Tang hit the rail winning €85,600.
Everyone had now locked up a six-figure score and Addamo was still the short stack, but the tournament then underwent another peculiar swerve. Yong, who had scored that huge double up to dent Tang, somehow became the next to bust, and then Phua, who had been a dominant chip leader seven-handed, was out in fifth.
Yong’s elimination was a simple error of timing. Wayne had been making a lot of plays as he chipped up on the final table, and Yong had probably noticed. So when Wayne opened to 300,000 from a 2.6 million stack from the cutoff, with mostly short-stacks behind him, Yong decided to rip in his last 1.85 million with .
However, this was one time when Wayne actually had it, to be precise, and Wayne snapped him off. (Addamo folded ace-queen.) Wayne ended up with a king-high flush, while Yong was out in sixth for €108,000. That’s his first cash on the Triton Series.
The same was not true for Phua, of course, who was in the money for the record-extending 17th time. But Phua couldn’t convert it into a title once again, and he busted soon after Yong. His final hand was a tiny bit more tricky: Soyza opened the hijack with and Phua defended the big blind with , from a stack of 1.8 million.
The flop was the all-action , which meant top pair versus the nut flush draw. Phua check-shoved over Soyza’s c-bet of 300,000, and the dealer put the on the turn to end it for Phua.
“GG,” Phua said, taking €138,500 for fifth, still trophy-less.
Even though he had been on a precipitous decline for much of the final day, Addamo had never been all-in and at risk. He had actually dodged two close calls when that might have been the case — once when Yong shoved the small blind with ace-eight and Addamo folded his ace-three, and once when he let that ace-queen go during Yong’s elimination hand.
But he did then shove for his last six big blinds with and earned a double when Wayne called him with . That proved to be another major turning point, because Wayne now spiralled downward as Addamo climbed up again. On the very next hand, the same two went at it with the same result. Addamo’s hitting trip kings to earn a double again through Wayne’s .
Addamo was now motoring once more.
It took at least another 45 minutes until those same players tangled again, but this time Addamo had Wayne comfortably covered when the dealer set up a time-honoured versus clash.
Addamo had the queens; Wayne had the over-cards, but the queen on the flop made the king all but irrelevant. Addamo took Wayne’s last 2 million chips and left the Hong Kong cash-game specialist looking for his fourth-place prize of €172,000.
Soyza still had the chip lead among a very shallow final three. He had 23 big blinds to Addamo’s 21, with Kim sitting with 15. It didn’t seem likely to last very long.
Sure enough, Soyza open pushed the first hand of three-handed play with and Kim called all-in with . After nothing much for the over-cards through flop and turn, the river was the and that was it for Kim. He took €219,500 for third.
That left Addamo to do battle with Soyza, and the Malaysian had a near two-to-one chip advantage. Soyza had 38 big blinds to Addamo’s 21. But the table were quickly turned when Addamo won the first flip, hitting a seven to match his to beat Soyza’s pocket sixes. Addamo this time never lost the lead again.
Soyza did manage one double up after he pushed for his last 2.5 million (nine big blinds) with and spiked a 10 on the river to beat Addamo’s .
But Addamo again had an off-suit ace-four (this time ) when Soyza pushed for 2.5 million with . This time there was no drama on the board and Addamo was the winner.
Soyza took €332,000, which is a nice way to start any festival. But this one was all about Addamo, who has laid down a formidable marker at the start of this 13-day festival.
Triton Madrid – Event 1 – €20,000 NLHE 8-Handed
Date: May 13-14, 2022
Entries: 90 (inc. 34 re-entries)
Prize pool: €1,800,000
1 – Michael Addamo, Australia – €478,000
2 – Michael Soyza, Malaysia – €332,000
3 – Tommy Kim, South Korea – €219,500
4 – Heung Wayne, Hong Kong – €172,000
5 – Paul Phua, Malaysia – €138,500
6 – Rob Yong, UK – €108,000
7 – Danny Tang, Hong Kong – €85,600
8 – Fernando Garcia, Spain – €66,600
9 – Morten Klein, Norway – €50,400
10 – Andriy Lyubovetskiy, Ukraine – €38,700
11 – Cristobal Hidalgo, Spain – €38,700
12 – Jeremy Ausmus, USA – €36,000
13 – Ni Liangce, China – €36,000
Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive