Chris Brewer tonight joins the ranks of two-time Triton Series champions after the 30-year-old American downed Jason Koon to seal victory in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event in North Cyprus.
Brewer, originally from California, but now based in Las Vegas, knocked out every single one of his five final-day opponents, and only faced resistance from Koon when the pair were the last two remaining from a 37-entry field.
“I ran super well,” Brewer admitted. “I just kept having the best hand.” He acknowledged that Koon gave him some problems after the two had come to an ICM chop and played heads-up, but said pocket aces twice secured him the title.
Brewer took $292,449 for the victory, with Koon’s slice of the deal worth $239,551. It denied Koon a second title of the festival, and what would have been his seventh overall. But both he and Brewer hopped straight into the $100K Main Event, so never say never.
The tournament was essentially swallowed up by the Luxon Invitational, which played out on the main stage as the PLO occupied a small corner of the main floorspace. But it may yet have significant Player of the Year implications — and Brewer’s victory should not feel any less of an achievement. He hadn’t cashed so far during this festival, and said last night, “I need this one”.
He then made absolutely all the right moves to secure the first PLO title of his career.
The tournament’s first day played out deep into the night last night, with Isaac Haxton’s elimination putting six players into the money. Brewer was responsible for Haxton’s elimination, as he was for all the others today. In fact, Brewer knocked out all the players ranked second through eighth.
They resumed today with the following stacks:
Chris Brewer, USA – 2.255m (56 BBs)
Eddie Ke Ti Tran, Australia – 1.545m (39 BBs)
Jason Koon, USA – 1.025m (26 BBs)
Maxim Kolosov, Russia – 915,000 (23 BBs)
Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon – 900,000 (23 BBs)
Daniel Perkusic, Germany – 735,000 (18 BBs)
Nicola Chouity has had a pretty good debut on the Triton Series, with a chop of Event 1 earning him close to $700,000. After busting his first bullet, he was also the chip leader for long periods of this PLO event, and was still battling at the end of its long day one.
However, Chouity’s involvement on the final day was brief. He was first out, winning $64,800 for sixth. After losing a big pot to Koon, who jammed the river on a run-out of forcing Chouity to fold, the last of his chips went to Brewer.
Chouity opened with and Brewer called with . The rest of the money went in after the flop of , and the run-out of turn and river gave Brewer a boat. That took them to five.
Brewer had the stack to inflict the most damage, and quickly sent another former chip leader to the rail. This one, Maxim Kolosov, had been in irresistible form for much of yesterday until he lost repeated chunks of his stack in attempting to burst the bubble. Everyone kept doubling up through him when there were seven left, and Kolosov was hauled back into the pack.
Brewer completed the job. Kolosov raised pot, 210K, from the hijack and Brewer called in the cutoff. They saw a flop of . The remaining 175K in Kolosov’s stack went in now and Brewer called. The hands were on their back:
No one really had very much, and Brewer’s pair of nines stayed best through the turn and river. Kolosov was out in fifth for $83,200.
At this stage, the only serious challenge to Brewer seemed to be coming from Eddie Ke Ti Tran. He was the only other player with a decent-ish stack. However, Koon soon doubled up through Tran — versus on a board of — and very soon after, Tran was out.
Brewer applied the final blow, of course. His ended up with a straight on the board of . Tran didn’t have anything nearly that good and was out in fourth for $106,300.
Daniel Perkusic had had a ringside seat for all this brutality, but had mainly stayed out of it himself. But there was now nowhere to hide and became Brewer’s fourth consecutive victim.
This all went in pre-flop, with Brewer’s becoming a full house through a board of .
Perkusic had , but it wasn’t enough. He won $138,700 for third.
With two players left, Brewer had the big stack — 55 BBs to Koon’s 19 BBs — and they asked to look at the numbers. They quickly agreed to an ICM chop that guaranteed Brewer $283,449 to Koon’s $239,551, with $9,000 to play for.
There was, of course, more than even that, however. Koon was eyeing a seventh Triton title and a delivery on a pre-event prediction that he would win two tournaments at this stop. It would push him right up alongside Stephen Chidwick in the Player of the Year race as well.
For Brewer, whose trip to North Cyprus last year ended with some soul-searching and some serious consideration to a retirement from poker, a triumphant return would further emphasise that he had made the correct choice.
They had taken vastly different paths to this point in the tournament, but with the blinds now rapidly escalating, their fate lay in the lap of the gods.
Koon was in the ascendant. He won most of the biggest pots, and a double-up with against Brewer’s put him into the chip lead.
This was a fun pot. They saw the flop of for the minimum, and Koon bet his big combo draw. Brewer called. The on the turn was checked through and then the all action river completed the board.
Brewer bet with a set, Koon moved all in with the nuts and Brewer paid him off.
Brewer doubled back not long after, with his aces holding firm against Koon’s picture gallery of high cards. It put them even again. And then with fewer than 40 big blinds between them, another couple of aces in Brewer’s hand made it a pretty easy shove for him after Koon opened.
Koon called with pocket kings and said, “I have a good feeling about this.” But his was really no match for Brewer’s on a full board of . Brewer ended with quads.
“I’d rather be playing poker than other stuff, even when it’s frustrating,” Brewer said, admitting that his foray into regular employment after his disappointing festival here last time was not to his liking.
He’s back for good.
Event #10 – $25,000 NLH Pot Limit Omaha
Dates: May 19-20, 2023
Entries: 37 (inc. 13 re-entries)
Prize pool: $925,000
1 – Chris Brewer, USA – $292,449*
2 – Jason Koon, USA – $239,551*
3 – Daniel Perkusic, Germany – $138,700
4 – Eddie Ke Ti Tran, Australia – $106,300
5 – Maxim Kolosov, Russia – $83,200
6 – Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon – $64,800
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive