A forlorn Stephen Chidwick bubbles $200K Luxon Invitational

The biggest tournament poker bubble of 2023 just burst at Triton North Cyprus, with the elimination of Stephen Chidwick from the $200,000 buy-in Luxon Invitational.

Chidwick placed 14th in the tournament, one spot outside the in-the-money places, where a min-cash is $350,000. With 86 entries to the tournament, there’s $17.2 million in the prize pool and $4.56 million reserved for the winner.

But the chances of Chidwick, the current leader in the Triton Player of the Year race, went up in smoke at around 1.30 am local time when he ever-dwindling short stack became the possession of Punnat Punsri.

Punsri himself had been all in and under threat moments earlier, but managed to turn pocket kings into quads to beat Ben Heath’s AcQc. That gave Punsri enough chips to play some pots, including the one that burst through the enormous bubble.

In the decisive hand, Chidwick raised for almost all of his nine big blind stack. He left just one chip behind. Punsri called and they saw a flop of 2h8c7c. The last chip went in here.

Punsri had KdQc while Chidwick had KhJh. Although the Ah turn gave Chidwick a flush draw, the 6c river was a brick.

The hand played out all but silently, with Chidwick quickly making his departure and the remaining 13 players settling back to play down to a final table of nine.

Over the other side of the tournament room, Jason Koon was among the last six in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, banking more Player of the Year points as Chidwick missed out on gaining more. Chidwick still has a comfortable lead in that race, but he won’t be quite so relaxed if Koon claims top spot in that one. It concludes tomorrow.

The Luxon Invitation also finishes off, with a characteristic constellation of the game’s biggest stars ready to divvy up this $17.2 million prize pool.

The PLO event, foreground, played out with the Luxon Invitational behind

Event #9 – $200,000 NLH Luxon Invitational
Dates: May 18-20, 2023
Entries: 86 (inc. 24 re-entries)
Prize pool: $17,200,000

1 $4,560,000
2 $3,169,000
3 $2,100,000
4 $1,640,000
5 $1,325,000
6 $1,030,000
7 $820,000
8 $636,000
9 $481,000
10 $369,500
11 $369,500
12 $350,000
13 $350,000

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive