Australia’s Michael Addamo is in the two-time Triton Series club, securing his second title in less than a week in the Spanish capital Madrid and demonstrating that no end is in sight for his incredible winning streak.
The 27-year-old Australian has been on one of those spectacular high stakes surges we see sometimes, winning in all corners of the globe. He has won six $50+ buy-in tournaments in less than a year, and he took down his first Triton Series title in the very first event held here in Madrid last Friday. Six days later, he made it two.
This one was even more valuable — although it comes with a major asterisk. At the end of this €75K buy-in tournament, Addamo and his heads-up opponent Stephen Chidwick arranged a deal. Addamo may have won the tournament, and took €1,152,086, which he adds to the €478,000 he won in Event #1. But Chidwick had the chip lead when they negotiated, and the Brit took €1,291,414.
Addamo will know that this could easily have gone Chidwick’s way, after the pair were forced into a short-stacked, high variance heads-up duel following another tight and tricksy final table had run long. That’s why they did the sensible thing and chopped it.
But Addamo’s golden touch then became apparent again, and he left Chidwick still searching for his first Triton win — even though he has compensation of a big seven-figure score for “second” place.
“I have to always acknowledge that to win this much you have to get incredibly lucky,” Addamo told Ali Nejad after the tournament’s conclusion. “So I think there’s a lot of luck involved. Obviously some skill as well, but winning the all-ins.”
The heads-up duel, between the old adversaries of the UK and Australia, was another topsy-turvy affair, following on from last night’s marathon between Mikita Badziakouski and Danny Tang. Tonight’s show also featured the American Seth Davies, who finished third, but who traded blows with the two others for long periods at a time when other events might have long concluded.
But with the payouts so high, and the poker knowledge so advanced, there are almost never any mistakes at this elite level. It’s how come two of the very best made it all the way once again, and how come they eventually decided to essentially call it a tie.
Chidwick had a small heads-up chip lead when they beckoned over Luca Vivaldi and asked to broker a deal. They agreed on the ICM deal, which gave Chidwick more, but there was the non-insignificant matter of the trophy and the Player of the Series points, and they are going to Addamo.
After the deal, it was all Addamo — and he closed it out with to Chidwick’s . Addamo flopped bottom pair; Chidwick flopped middle pair but there was another club on turn and river to give Addamo the flush. Addamo shoved, Chidwick thought long and hard about it, but fell into the trap with a call. It was over.
“It was a super tough table, a lot of great players,” Addamo added. “Three handed, with a lot of all ins going back and forward, it was hard to know what was going to happen. It’s great to get the win from there.”
FINAL DAY ACTION
There’s no such thing as a soft field on the Triton Series, but this one seemed especially tough. As the 28 players who returned overnight battled towards the money (only eight were paid), the rejects heap came to feature players like Phil Ivey, Steve O’Dwyer, Christoph Vogelsang, Ike Haxton and Elton Tsang.
Down to nine, they assembled around one table and took a picture, but they all knew that one of them wouldn’t be making the money. Laszlo Bujtas had nine big blinds, Tony G had 19. And both of them will have looked on with glee when Fedor Holz became the one to sample the ignominy of the bubble.
To be fair to Holz, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it. Addamo, in the hijack and in a dominant chip position, opened to 80,000 (blinds were 20K/40K) and Holz found in the big blind. Holz jammed for a little more than 1 million (26 BBs) but slammed straight into Addamo’s .
Those short stacks were delighted as Holz made his exit, penniless. Addam took yet another huge lead to the official final.
FINAL TABLE CHIP COUNTS
1 – Michael Addamo, Australia – 3,360,000 (84 BBs)
2 – Seth Davies, USA – 2,080,000 (52 BBs)
3 – Ben Heath, UK – 1,955,000 (49 BBs)
4 – Jason Koon, USA – 1,570,000 (39 BBs)
5 – Daniel Dvoress, Canada – 1,335,000 (33 BBs)
6 – Stephen Chidwick, UK – 1,095,000 (27 BBs)
7 – Tong G, Lithuania – 740,000 (19 BBs)
8 – Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary – 440,000 (11 BBs)
There was nothing at this stage to suggest the next elimination would be anyone but Bujtas, but the gods had other ideas. Poor Ben Heath. Sitting on the button, he looked down at and then watched Seth Davies open shove from under the gun. Heath snap-called, of course, even though he had the marginally smaller stack.
Davies had and it seemed like a pretty good set-up. However, Davies had 30 percent equity and, bink, there it was on the flop when the was in the window. Had Heath’s hand held, he would have been second in chips. As it was, he was sent away in eighth for €189,000.
Tony G hit the rail next. He had been enjoying an epic massage in the late stages of the tournament, with a massage therapist kneading his back for several hours. But just as his deep tissues got a pummelling, so did his stack, and the last went in with after yet another Addamo open. Addamo had and ended up turning a set to end Tony G drawing dead.
Guoga, to give him his full name, picked up €241,000 (and one hopes the massage therapist got a good tip).
The Addamo show wasn’t done yet. A few hands later, Jason Koon found himself flipping against the Australian for his tournament life, and Addamo doesn’t tend to lose in these situations. Koon’s came unstuck against Addamo’s . An ace flopped.
Koon yesterday watched Mikita Badziakouski draw clear of him, winning his fourth Triton title. Koon, who has three, had been in decent shape to match his Belarusian adversary, but Addamo had other ideas. Koon won €302,000.
Bujtas had been the happiest player at the final as he saw all of these opponents vanquished. Although he had pulled off one double up, through Tony G, with beating Guoga’s , he hadn’t actually ever built what you might call a stack.
But he had duly laddered to fifth and got his last seven big blinds in with . Davies called him with and there was no help for the short stack. Bujtas earned €387,500 for his second career Triton cash.
The next player out was another Triton stalwart: Daniel Dvoress, whose decline coincided with Chidwick’s rise. Chidwick managed to double through Dvoress with aces against Dvoress’s . Chidwick opened, Dvoress ripped in 2 million, and Chidwick was obviously happy to call all in with the best hand in hold’em.
It held and left Dvoress with crumbs. He doubled up once, but even then only had 310,000, and was out a couple of hands later, with losing to Addamo’s . Dvoress took €500,500 for his second cash of the week.
Addamo was still in front at this stage, but both Davies and Chidwick had pulled into sight. The three handed counts had Addamo with 67 big blinds, ahead of Chidwick’s 52 and Davies’s 41. As they played into the next level, everything shrank a bit — including the average stack, which was quickly only 34 big blinds.
And then began the merry-go-round that would last another couple of shortening levels. Davies won a big pot from Chidwick with beating . But then Chidwick won a big pot when he outdrew Addamo’s with .
Addamo then doubled back through Davies, with beating and we were basically all square again. Round and round they went.
Last night, we saw a titanic heads-up battle, where two seasoned campaigners, at the top of their games, refused to bow down for three hours. Tonight, there was a third dimension: all of Chidwick, Davies and Addamo had their small-pot strategies working smoothly and no one was taking unnecessary risks. Chidwick was the one who seemed to be on the ropes most often, dwindling to single-digit blinds. But he found at least two doubles to stay afloat, and his presence meant it would be madness for one of the others to get knocked out now.
Then, with the blinds at 100K/200K and an average stack only 21 big blinds, Chidwick got the wind in his sails. He doubled again, through Addamo, with beating . He then woke up with when Addamo tried to force the issue and shoved from the button with the big stack.
Addamo had only in that spot and Chidwick’s double this time put him into the chip lead.
The level went up again, meaning there was only now 50 big blinds between three players and every pot was crucial. And that’s when the dam finally broke, sweeping away Davies.
He found pocket threes in the small blind and made a raise of all but one 25K chip (not even a small blind). Chidwick called in the big blind, sitting with pocket tens. They ended up checking the flop, turn and river all the way through, and the tens held, meaning Davies went into one more hand.
But that one he lost with to Chidwick’s . Yes, Davies’s six-high was actually ahead pre-flop, but there were two fours on the board and that was it. Davies’ stern resistance earned him €661,500, which was the first Triton cash of his career.
That in itself was a big result for Davies, but he will have regretted missing out on the million.
That was what was now guaranteed to each of Chidwick and Addamo, the final two players left. Chidwick had Addamo in a very unfamiliar position: the Brit had a five-to-one lead over the Australian.
The tournament structure meant it was impossible for there to now be a repeat of last night’s really long heads-up duel, but everyone who knows anything about poker also knew that things might not be over just yet. Sure enough, Addamo doubled on the first hand of heads-up play, hitting a queen with his to beat Chidwick’s .
He then won another big pot to bring the stacks level, moving all in on the river with the board showing . Addamo had and Chidwick was forced to fold his .
With the blinds encroaching again, the old rivals knew that it was no longer all about their skills. They looked at the numbers and quickly agreed, allowing Addamo to sweep quickly to the title.
There’s truly no stopping him — and he now takes a big lead in the Player of the Year race.
Triton Madrid – Event 7
€75,000 NLH 8-Handed
Dates: May 18-19, 2022
Entries: 63 (inc. 23 re-entries)
Prize pool: €4,725,000
1 – Michael Addamo, Australia – €1,152,086*
2 – Stephen Chidwick, UK – €1,291,414*
3 – Seth Davies, USA – €661,500
4 – Daniel Dvoress, Canada – €500,500
5 – Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary – €387,500
6 – Jason Koon, USA – €302,000
7 – Tony G, Lithuania – €241,000
8 – Ben Heath, UK – €189,000
*after heads-up deal
Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive