Champion Chris Frank!

As he filled in a questionnaire sent to players before they arrive on the Triton Series, Christopher Frank described his poker dream. “To win a big tournament, obviously,” he wrote.

Tonight, Frank can consider that achievement unlocked.

The 29-year-old German, based in Vienna, came to Triton Montenegro to play just the pot-limit Omaha phase of this festival, and today took down the $100K buy-in PLO Main Event for a career-best score of a little more than $2 million. It was the first time Triton had hosted a PLO Main Event and the first time Frank had made it to a final.

He achieved his victory in the style of a man who could grow accustomed to this.

Frank agreed an ICM chop with American PLO specialist Dylan Weisman when Frank was a big chip leader entering heads-up play. Weisman banked $1,666,090, with the rest of the 83-entry field having departed. They still had enormous stacks going into heads-up and opted to take the variance out of it a bit by agreeing the deal, leaving $70,000 to play for.

Dylan Weisman secured a career-best score with his second place

But Frank completed the job for which he had laid the foundation during a long first day, a tense pre-bubble period, and then a high octane final table. He was obviously and visibly delighted, racing to friends on the outer tables when they agreed the chop and he guaranteed himself that enormous score. And then as he talked to reporters at the end, he expressed that joy some more.

“I’m feeling very good, it’s a very nice feeling,” he said, adding that he was slightly numbed and was expecting things to sink in tomorrow. He said he came to Triton for the PLO because he thought: “People are worse at it, so I thought I’d have a shot.”

This field was stacked with some of the very best PLO players in the world, and Frank can count himself among them. As he wandered away from the table, he received congratulatory fist-bumps from Danny Tang and Phil Ivey, and a hug from Sami Sipila, yesterday’s PLO winner.

This is the company you keep when you’re a Triton champion.

“I really like these events. I really want to be back,” he said.

Chris Frank receives his Jacob & Co timepiece


Day 2 began with 25 left and Michael Duek leading the charge. The American was another drawn to the Triton Series for the very first time this week, specifically for the PLO portion of the schedule. After whiffing the $25K, he was perfectly placed to make the trip worthwhile in the Main Event.

The opening stages of the second day were as one might expect: plenty of players headed to the rail, with others building for the final. The Triton regs Jason Koon, Isaac Haxton and Phil Ivey couldn’t survive, and we pushed on to a very tense bubble period.

Dylan Weisman got to a queen-high flop with Zhou Quan. Then all the money went in, with Weisman the effective stack. Weisman’s aces had been outdrawn by Quan’s queens, which filled up on the turn. Staring at elimination, an ace fell on the river to give Weisman a bigger boat. Quan joined the short stacks.

Mads Amot lost a massive pot to Laszlo Bujtas to bust. Then Manuel Stojanovic followed him to the door. They were playing soft hand-for-hand, which allowed for plenty of downtime and plenty of chatter. Weisman, Jonas Kronwitter and Eelis Parssinen pondered aloud what the difference was betwen a regular Triton event and a Main Event.

“You get a bigger trophy,” they observed, before learning that they were also playing for the beautiful Jacob & Co watch. They headed over to the display plinth to check it out. “Chris, do you only get a ‘Champion’ hat from the Main Event?” they asked Mr Brewer. He told them hats came with every tournament win, just about the time that Samuli Sapila came into the room wearing the one he won in the $25K PLO yesterday.

The exclusive Jacob & Co watch is worth a second look

“I figure this is one of the only places I can get away with wearing it,” Sipila said.

Seth Davies and Masahi Oya played a huge pot on the feature table, with almost precisely equal stacks. Both players had a straight, but Davies had the bottom end and Oya had the higher. It left Davies with only 10,000 in chips, or one third of a big blind.

Seth Davies was reprieved on the bubble

With Davies now all but certain to be the bubble boy, everyone but the big stacks folded immediately. Martin Dam folded his hand without even picking it up, and Brewer said, “I’m only looking for the fun of it.”

But Davies then won the next pot he entered and emerged with 70,000 chips, having won the ante plus three other blinds. When he more than doubled his stack again on the next hand, he had seven big blinds and could adjust his expectations again.

He had a ringside seat for what actually transpired to be the bubble hand. And he didn’t have any chips over the line. Instead, Davies watched Tomas Ribeiro raise his small blind and Oya peel in the big.

The flop fell 3h3s6h. Oya checked. Ribeiro bet. Oya check-raised. Ribeirio jammed. Oya put his last chips over the line, knowing he had a three and two hearts in his hand. The problem was, Ribeiro also had a three, with a bigger kicker. And when the hearts missed, Oya was out.

The worst place to be for Oya Masashi

Having been so close to bursting the bubble from the winner’s side, Oya was now taking the walk himself as the last player without a cash. The rest of them had a minimum $152,000 coming their way.

The final table had seven seats, although Davies wasn’t able to stick around long enough to claim one. Neither was Brewer, Quan, Dam or even Duek, with the overnight leader busting in 10th. When Kronwitter and Sean Winter hit the rail in ninth and eighth, respectively, the last seven were sent to dinner.

They came back to the following stacks:

Laszlo Bujtas – 4,555,000 (91 BBs)
Chris Frank – 4,310,000 (86 BBs)
Dylan Weisman – 3,815,000 (76 BBs)
Danny Tang – 2,980,000 (60 BBs)
Eelis Parssinen – 2,930,000 (59 BBs)
Tomas Ribeiro – 1,665,000 (33 BBs)
Benjamin Tollerene – 495,000 (10 BBs)

Triton Montenegro Event 13 final table players (clockwise from back left): Ben Tollerene, Eelis Parssinen, Danny Tang, Chris Frank, Laszlo Bujtas, Tomas Ribeiro, Dylan Weisman.

Not many of Triton’s no limit hold’em specialists stayed in Montenegro to play PLO, but those that did made their presence felt in both four-card tournaments held so far. In this event, Ben Tollerene and Danny Tang had made it all the way to the final table, despite clearly preferring hold’em.

The PLO wizards didn’t let them get much further, however, with Tollerene busting to Tang early on, and then Tang losing a huge pot to Bujtas soon after. Ribeiro then finished Tang off.

With only 10 blinds after dinner, Tollerene knew he would be up against it. His last seven blinds went in with QdTdJh7h against Tang’s As9s9h3h. Tang raise pre-flop, Tollerene called and then Tang jammed the KsJs5d flop.

Tang hit another spade to end with a flush, while Tollerene ended with $391,000 for seventh.

Ben Tollerene taps the table before he heads away

Even making the money in this event had given Tang’s hopes of landing the coveted Ivan Leow Player of the Year award a huge boost, but he obviously had designs on a sixth Triton title too. The hand against Tollerene gave him hope, but a massive collision with Bujtas all but snuffed it out.

Tang flopped top two pair with his KcJdTs7c, but he was always behind Bujtas, whose AhKhKd9s flopped top set and ended with a flush.

They bet all the way, before Bujtas jammed the river. It left Tang on fumes. He perished with queens against aces, all-in pre-flop. He turned a straight draw, but missed. Tang took $495,000 for sixth and now just needs Phil Ivey and Jason Koon *not* to win either of the last two PLO tournaments to lock up the PoY. (There are various combinations, but that’s the gist of it.)

Danny Tang can still hope to win Player of the Year

Bujtas held the chip lead for long periods heading to the bubble, and though Chris Frank managed to nudge in front of him, the hand against Tang put him in command once more. But only until Frank got going again.

The German won two sizeable pots, back to back, knocking out Ribeiro first of all and then taking a big one from Bujtas. In Ribeiro’s last hand, Frank had KcTdQc6d to Ribeiro’s AsAhKdQh. Ribeiro limp/three-bet pre-flop and got the rest in on the 8h9d3c flop. But Frank managed to find the Jh on the river to fill a straight and crack the aces.

Tomas Ribeiro gets his chips in. They dd not come back

He then won nearly as much from Bujtas when he got involved in a pot with double suited pocket queens, and ended up with three fours after two came on flop and river. It was enough.

Frank quickly extended his lead: he had 159 blinds ahead of Bujtas’ 50, Weisman’s 37 and Parssinen’s 14. And very soon those chips of Parssinen landed in Frank’s stack too.

Parssinen flopped a set with 2dThTd6h on a flop of Qs8dTs. Frank had 3c3s6s7c but the 9c turn gave Frank the straight.

That gave Parssinen his third Triton PLO cash, worth $795,000 this time.

Eelis Parssinen does not like what he sees

This was now very lopsided. Frank was sitting with 16.25 million chips, or 130 big blinds. Bujtas had 2.95 million (24 BBs) and Weisman had 1.55 million (12 BBs). Frank therefore had nearly 80 percent of the chips in play. Even the exceptional PLO talents that are Weisman and Bujtas were staring at a precipitously uphill battle.

The only way Frank could likely come under pressure seemed to be if Weisman and Bujtas went at one another, doubling one of them up at the other’s expense. And that’s essentially what happened, with Weisman seizing the chance to first take some chips from Frank and then cannibalise the fellow short stack Bujtas.

Weisman got a double with AhAd3h2c against Frank’s 8hKh6c3c. Frank flopped a king for top pair, but Weisman’s aces were better.

That put Weisman ahead of Bujtas and meant that when Weisman’s Th8hKdJd flopped a straight and faded Bujtas’ flush draw, Bujtas was out. Bujtas, known as OMAHA4ROLLZ, won $982,000 for third place. He is hunting a second title, of course, but will need to come again another day for that.

Laszlo Bujtas bounced in third

With Bujtas out the way, Frank and Weisman quickly agreed to look at the numbers, and barely took any time to agree a deal, the first in any tournament during this trip to Montenegro.

Frank had a lead of 119 BBs to Weisman’s 47, but the ICM calculation locked up $1,938,910 for the former and $1,666,090 for the latter. There was $70,000 to play for, plus the trophy and the watch. It was already both players’ biggest live tournament score.

Deal negotiations

This was now a winner-takes-all heads-up battle for $70K and a very, very nice timepiece. And both parties gave it the respect it deserved.

Unfortunately for Weisman, Frank’s momentum continued. He steadily grew his lead even further, with Weisman then losing all but one big blind of his stack in a particularly gross cooler. Frank had KcKdJs6s. Weisman had JhTd7c2h and both players checked flop and turn as the dealer put the Qc4c9c4d out there.

The Kh river gave Frank a full house and filled Weisman’s straight. It almost all went in, and almost all went to Frank.

That solitary blind vanished on the next hand, with Frank filling a tournament-winning flush. It was over, with Chris Frank beginning life as a new Triton champion.

Christopher Frank: Focused on the win


Event 13 – $100,000 PLO MAIN EVENT
Dates: May 24-25, 2024
Entries: 83 (inc. 36 re-entries)
Prize pool: $8,300,000

1 – Chris Frank, Germany – $2,008,910*
2 – Dylan Weisman, USA – $1,666,090*
3 – Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary – $982,000
4 – Eelis Parssinen, Finland – $795,000
5 – Tomas Ribeiro, Portugal – $635,000
6 – Danny Tang, Hong Kong – $495,000
7 – Ben Tollerene, USA – $391,000

8 – Sean Winter, USA – $298,000
9 – Jonas Kronwitter, Germany – $221,000
10 – Michael Duek, USA – $176,000
11 – Martin Dam, Denmark – $176,000
12 – Zhou Quan, China – $152,000
13 – Chris Brewer, USA – $152,000
14 – Seth Davies, USA – $152,000

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive