Champion Andy Ni!

The Triton Super High Roller Series served up a thriller tonight in Montenegro, where China’s Andy Ni landed a first title after ending the $25K NLHE tournament with a bang.

With chips flying back and forth in an entertaining but perilously short-stacked finale, Ni managed to knock out two players in the final hand, taking the tournament from three to one in an instant.

Observers are fairly sure it’s the first time a Triton tournament has ended with a double knockout, but it was no more than Ni deserved after a dominant performance. The 41-year-old, originally from China but who has lived in Spain since childhood, had led at the end of Day 1 and maintained that lead when the final table began.

He then survived the ups and downs of a crazy final to emerge on top, ending the challenges of Nicolas Chouity and Chris Brewer in that spectacular end. Ni banked $785,000 for the win, which was his third and biggest cash on the Triton series.

Chouity settled for $531,000, his second runner-up finish on the series. Meanwhile Brewer took third for $354,000, and took his Triton total winnings to around $7.5 million.

But this one was all about Ni, who did his post-game interviews in Spanish and can perhaps take some of the weight off Adrian Mateos as the only Spanish Triton champion so far. He told reporters that he is mostly a recreational player, who only plays tournaments occasionally, but was persuaded to come to Montenegro by a friend.

Ni played for the first time in Madrid a couple of years ago, but has cashed his first two tournaments here in Montenegro, including this breakout win. He acknowledged he needed two big coups to go his way at the final, drilling a three-outer and a two-outer at crucial moments. But he earned his place at the winner’s table.

Andy Ni begins life as a Triton champion


The tournament attracted 135 entries but after a speedy Day 1 only 18 were left. That meant they were all already in the money, with Matthias Eibinger having burst the bubble. Eibinger lost the majority of his stack in a clash with Alex Kulev, when the Bulgarian’s AdQh won the race against pocket jacks.

The last of Eibinger’s chips went to Patrik Antonius, who also held jacks but beat Eibinger’s AhTs.

There was just time for a few more players to go broke, including Triton stalwarts Mikita Badziakouski, Seth Davies and Kiat Lee, before bagging and tagging for the night. Eighteen came back, with Andy Ni leading the way.

Everyone was guaranteed at least $42,500 at this point, but the target was the final table of nine.

Luminaries continued to fall by the wayside, with Steve O’Dwyer, Ben Tollerene, Nick Petrangelo Henrik Hecklen, Zhou Quan, Patrik Antonius and Tobias Schwecht among those departing. Ben Heath had less than two big blinds remaining on the final table bubble, but managed to triple up and remain involved as simultaneous bust-outs took us from 10 to eight in one fell swoop.

On the outer table, chip-leading Ni bust Paulius Vaitiekunas with KsQs beating ThKc. It happened at the same time as Heath ran his pocket fours into Nacho Barbero’s Ac9c and Danny Tang’s pocket aces, with Tang all but tripling up as a result.

Ben Heath ended up chopping ninth and tenth place money

Heath and Vaitiekunas took $72,150 each as the payouts were modified to reflect the simultaneous elimination. Meanwhile, the final table of eight settled down to play to the champion. The stacks were as follows:

Andy Ni – 5,475,000 (44 BBs)
Chris Brewer – 4,600,000 (37 BBs)
Danny Tang – 4,300,000 (34 BBs)
Nicolas Chouity – 3,925,000 (31 BBs)
Nacho Barbero – 2,650,000 (21 BBs)
Alex Kulev – 2,375,000 (19 BBs)
Viacheslav Buldygin – 2,200,000 (18 BBs)
Aram Sargsyan – 1,475,000 (12 BBs)

Triton Montenegro Event 2 final table players (clockwise from top left): Alex Kulev, Nicolas Chouity, Nacho Barbero, Danny Tang, Andy Ni, Viacheslav Buldygin, Aram Sargsyan, Chris Brewer.

Ni had held the chip lead from the start of the day, and early action at the final only consolidated it. Ni knocked out Kulev to get things started, with pocket aces staying good against Kulev’s AsQs. It left Kulev on the rail, with a $98,500 payout.

Ni was not able to run away with things, however, and Chris Brewer continued to keep him in his sights. It helped that Brewer was the next to find aces in a pivotal spot, busting Nacho Barbero who was more than happy to get his chips in with AdKh. There were no miracles for Barbero here and he ended with a $133,600 payout.

Not much Nacho Barbero could do

As Ni and Brewer were collecting chips during the major elimination hands, Nicolas Chouity was chipping up consistently in smaller pots. To this point, Chouity’s graph showed a very steady incline: no sharp peaks taking him in either direction, and he landed at the top of the six-handed battle. Even when he was then involved in a major hand, he landed on the right side of it.

Danny Tang, who was returning to the venue where he made his Triton debut five years ago, had been holding firm through the early exchanges of the final table. But when he found a premium — pocket queens — and got his chips in, Chouity was sitting behind with AdKd.

Chouity called Tang’s three-bet shove and hit a king on the river to send Tang out in sixth, collecting $180,500.

Danny Tang’s career has blossomed since his Triton debut here in Montenegro

Viacheslav Buldygin was another player making a welcome return to the Triton Series here in Montenegro, and he too had progressed to the final. But he never managed to put together a big stack today (at least not big enough to really challenge) and he ended up dwindling down to a shoving stack. He got it in with Kc8h but lost to Brewer’s Ah3c.

Buldygin won $233,000.

Viacheslav Buldygin finished in fifth

Triton first-timer Aram Sargsyan had made the final table in only his second tournament on the tour, and his progression to fourth place had shown his chops. The final stages of his performance had been mostly a case of clinging on with a short stack, but he finally got it in good against Chouity.

Sargsyan had pocket tens but Chouity couldn’t fold Qd7d with a dominant stack and facing only a three blind shove. Chouity hit a queen on the flop and Sargsyan was out. He took $290,000 to get his Triton career up and running.

A fourth-place finish on Aram Sargsyan’s Triton debut

There had been precious few dramatic moments to this point, with the best hands usually holding up. That pattern continued in three-handed play, with Brewer and Chouity first to clash. Brewer’s AcTd beat Chouity’s As7d when they got it in pre-flop.

It gave Brewer a big lead. But it didn’t last long.

As is so often the case in this world, the stacks were shallow and getting shallower. The three players got their chips in repeatedly but chopped pots seemed to be the order of the day. It left them at one point with only two big blinds separating them, and stacks of 19, 18 and 17 blinds. It made it anyone’s game.

Chouity was sticking to his policy of firing at almost all flops and continuing to stay afloat. He slid a bit, but then moved back into a narrow lead. Brewer assumed the shortest stack. But then Brewer found kings and doubled, following up with another double with AdJd and suddenly he was our chip leader once more.

Chris Brewer was involved in most of the biggest pots at the final

There were now only 45 blinds at the table, and the volatility continued. Ni went from shortest stack to leader after a double through Brewer, with KhTd bettering KsJs when a 10 landed on the turn.

And that proved to be a big moment because it gave Ni the stack to take on anyone who came at him — even if both his opponents fired together.

Brewer ponders folding in a three-way all-in

So it happened: a three-way all in to end a Triton event. It may not have ever happened before. Brewer opened with his Ac8s, Ni looked down at AhJc and moved all in from the small blind. Chouity found AsTd in the big and called all in.

That put Brewer in a really tough spot. He had less than a big blind, but knew he might be able to fold the hand and limp into second. It was the best part of a $200K decision. After a while, however, he was persuaded to call — but regretted it.

The best hand held up. Chouity was officially second, for $531,000. Brewer took third for $354,000. But it meant Ni was our champion: chip leader at the start of the day, at the start of the final, and then a double killer to wrap it up.

A second runner-up finish for Nicolas Chouity


Event 2 – $25,000 NLHE – 8-Handed
Dates: May 13-14, 2024
Entries: 135 (inc. 45 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,375,000

1 – Andy Ni, China – $785,000
2 – Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon – $531,000
3 – Chris Brewer, USA – $354,000
4 – Aram Sargsyan, Armenia – $290,000
5 – Viacheslav Buldygin, Russia – $233,000
6 – Danny Tang, Hong Kong – $180,500
7 – Nacho Barbero, Argentina – $133,600
8 – Alex Kulev, Bulgaria – $98,500

9 – Ben Heath, UK – $72,150
10 – Paulius Vaitiekunas, Lithuania – $72,150
11 – Tobias Schwecht, Germany – $65,800
12 – Patrik Antonius, Finland – $57,500
13 – Henrik Hecklen, Denmark – $57,500
14 – Nick Petrangelo, USA – $52,300
15 – Zhou Quan, China – $52,300
16 – Ben Tollerene, USA – $47,300
17 – Steve O’Dwyer, Ireland – $47,300
18 – Xiaohui Tan, China – $42,500
19 – Kiat Lee, Malaysia – $42,500
20 – Klemens Roiter, Austria – $42,500
21 – Krasimir Neychev, Bulgaria – $39,200
22 – Seth Davies, USA – $39,200
23 – Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus – $39,200

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive