Brazilian players have become the dominant force at the online poker tables over the past few years, and today a swarm of them took the Triton Series by storm as well. The final stages of the $30,000 buy-in NLH Turbo at Triton London ended with two of Brazil’s leading lights Pedro Garagnani and Bruno Volkmann heads up, with a packed rail of other Brazilians just waiting to celebrate as one.
Garagnani took the chip lead into that all-Brazilian affair, and he translated it into his first Triton victory too, worth $459,000 after he had agreed a deal with Volkmann. Volkmann secured himself $375,300 and burnished his reputation as someone to watch in the high stakes world as well.
“I’m super happy,” Garagnani said. “It was my first Triton title and the first Triton title for a player from Brazil and I’m very honoured.”
He added that it was extra special to play heads up against his buddy.
“It’s amazing,” Garagnani said. “Both of us wanted to win. I respect him a lot as a player and a friend. I love him. I’m sure he will soon have a title.”
Those two were the most experienced and calmest players at a final table fuelled by a love of turbo action and booze. They navigated their way past some of Asia’s most tricky stars, as well as a hometown first-timer who was enjoying the added extras of the Triton Series (namely, free drinks).
It was all spectacularly good natured, and ended at around 2am local time with a very worthy champion. The poker world has known for quite a while that the Brazilian invasion shows now sign of ending, and in Garagnani the country has a very worthy first champion on this series.
“The tournament was super fun,” Garagnani said. “It was really cool,” he added, saying that the unpredictable players at the final just made it even more enjoyable.
The nature of turbo tournaments is that blind levels fly up quickly, and action comes thick and fast. But there was still a $32,600 money bubble, so the period just before the cash kicked in was necessarily fraught.
Kane Hope went into this period as a dominant chip leader, but he lost a number of big pots against Bruno Volkmann, Oya Masashi and, in particular, Choon Tong Siow. The latter two were clashing with each other as well, despite having huge stacks relative to plenty of players with less than five big blinds.
Taago Tamm actually had only one big blind at one point, but trebled up twice in successive hands. He was still seated when the Israeli player Roman Samoylov became the stone bubble boy, losing with pocket fours to Webster Lim’s . Samoylov made a quiet exit, which was in stark contrast to the fireworks over on the other table where Hope was providing a well-lubricated commentary on every hand.
The long bubble left numerous players in deep peril, and all of Eric Wasserson, Stephen Chidwick, Jonathan Jaffe and Tamm eventually succumbed. When Yuri Dzivielevski and Matthew Wood followed them, we were at a nine-handed final.
Anson Ewe made it with one big blind, but it’s worth noting the achievement of Julie Klein too, who made the final in her first ever Triton event. She is the daughter of Triton stalwart Morten Klein, and the pair became the first father/daughter combo to play on the tour. Morten was eliminated early, but was a doting father on the rail as Julie got there to the final.
Here’s how they stood when they lined up at the last table:
Oya Masashi – 33 BBs
Pedro Garagnani – 29 BBs
Kane Hope – 27 BBs
Choon Tong Siow – 22 BBs
Jack Germaine – 12 BBs
Bruno Volkmann – 12 BBs
Webster Lim – 11 BBs
Julie Klein – 6 BBs
Anson Ewe – 1 BB
Despite Ewe’s tiny amount of chips, he managed to duck out of the way for the first couple of hands. That was enough time for Pedro Garagnani to win a pot from Hope, and then to knock out Klein.
It was a pretty unfortunate way for Klein to end what was surely an overwhelmingly positive experience. She got her chips in with against Garagnani’s . Even though Klein flopped a king, Garagnani flopped a seven and hit another on the river.
Klein took her medicine and earned $49,900 for ninth place.
Ewe’s survival skills paid off once again when Garagnani won another big pot to eliminate Webster Lim. This was always going in even in tournaments with deeper stacks — Garagnani had to Lim’s pocket queens. A king on the flop ended Lim’s tournament in eighth, worth $68,100. He also had six bounties, worth $15K apiece.
Ewe seemed like he was on the comeback trail, but when he finally got a premium hand — — it cost him his tournament life. He was all in against two players, Garagnani and Masashi, but both of them had a pair. Garagnani’s hit a three while Masashi’s hit a queen.
It meant that Masashi doubled through Garagnani and Ewe hit the rail in seventh for $89,200.
Six rapidly became five, with Triton first-timer Jack Germaine smashing into Volkmann’s aces. Germaine played the GG Million$ at the start of this festival and cashed in 24th place. He spun that up in this event, banking $113,500 for sixth. His record now reads Played 2, Cashed 2. His final hand was , but he couldn’t catch up with the aces.
The table was now revolving around Kane Hope and his wishes for a top up to his drink. He’d been cut off by the tournament staff, but wasn’t giving up in his crusade. His opponents could only sit and watch and attempt to knock him out.
But he just wouldn’t go. Hope was involved in the next major pot, which ended in the elimination of Choon and a triple up for the Brit.
Volkmann opened with a min-raise, Hope called and Choon then moved in for 1.125 million (blinds were 100K-200K). Volkmann called and Hope said that he was now priced in and made the call as well. The dealer put the flop on the table.
Volkmann checked and Hope moved all in, for another 2.225 million. Volkmann called.
The cards went on their backs and Volkmann was ahead with . Hope had a smaller pair with his , while Choon had over cards with his .
The that then appeared on the turn catapulted Hope into the lead, and there was no jack on the river to change anything. Hope apologised for the “dirty” hand. But he stacked up the chips nonetheless as Choon hit the rail taking $145,000.
Players took an unscheduled break, at Hope’s behest. The others weren’t keen, but he offered them $500 per person to give him 10 minutes away from the table. They quickly agreed. When they came back, Garagnani scored a huge double up through the erstwhile chip leader when he flopped a flush with and got Hope to put his chips in with a flush draw that couldn’t win even if it hit.
Garagnani assumed the lead, and only consolidated it in another enormous pot against Masashi and Hope, with the latter finally running out of road.
After Masashi opened, Hope and Garagnani called and the three of them got to a flop of . They all checked it. The came on the turn and Hope led the betting, with both opponents calling again.
The river was the and Hope blasted all-in. A measured Garagnani announced a call, while Masashi quietly folded.
“I’m bluffing,” Hope said.
Garagnani turned over . Hope’s was no good and he was now out. It was a fine and improbable run, which he clearly enjoyed immensely. He took $180,500 for fourth.
Masashi was now the short stack and although he managed one double up through Garagnani, the chips were returned to the Brazilian pretty quickly thereafter. Masashi’s final hand was an all-in push with , which slammed into Garagnani’s . There was a queen on the turn and that was that.
Masashi took $222,700 for third.
The two Brazilians, who are good friends, quickly agreed to look at the numbers and agreed a deal. Garagnani’s bigger stack would guarantee him $444,000, while Volkmann would lock up $375,300. There was $15,000 on the table to play for.
With 70 blinds in front of them, there was still play to be had, but the friendly atmosphere at the table had the feel of a home-game rather than a high stakes top ranking tournament.
When they got it all in for the first time, Garagnani’s pocket sixes stayed best against Volkmann’s and the Brazilian supporters flooded the stage for photographs and cheers and hugs.
We’ve seen this before across multiple tours. And now here it is on the Triton Series.
Event #8 – $30,000 NLH 8-Handed Turbo Bounty
Dates: August 2, 2023
Entries: 96 (inc. 17 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,920,000
1 – Pedro Garagnani, Brazil – $459,000*
2 – Bruno Volkmann, Brazil – $375,300*
3 – Oya Masashi, Japan – $222,700
4 – Kane Hope, UK – $180,500
5 – Choon Tong Siow, Malaysia – $145,000
6 – Jack Germaine, UK – $113,500
7 – Anson Ewe, Malaysia – $89,200
8 – Webster Lim, Malaysia – $68,100
9 – Julie Klein, Norway – $49,900
10 – Matthew Ward – $40,300
11 – Yuri Dzivielski, Brazil – $40,300
12 – Taago Tamm, Finland – $35,500
13 – Jonathan Jaffe, USA – $35,500
14 – Stephen Chidwick, UK – $32,600
15 – Eric Wasserson, USA – $32,600
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive