Champion Samuli Sipila!

Samuli Sipila is one of the best pot limit Omaha players in the world, and it follows that the 31-year-old Finn would take the trip to Triton Montenegro where four high-stakes PLO events round out this spectacular festival.

Sipila took his seat in the first of those events. And when the tournament got done after five hours of play on its second day, Sipila was the only man still sitting.

His Triton record now reads: Played 1, Won 1 after he put on a PLO clinic to win $535,000.

“I’m feeling amazing, obviously,” Sipila said, admitting that he was on a real heater. He has won three of the last five tournaments he has entered, and sets a new career mark with this enormous cash.

“It’s a pretty run good year, Sipila said, explaining his decision to take a shot on the Triton Series for the first time. “It’s pretty unreal. When you’re running this hot, why not come?”

This was a really brilliant display. Sipila came to Montenegro among a huge cohort of Nordic PLO specialists drawn to Montenegro by the four-card focus at this stop. They helped swell the field of this $25K buy-in event to 82 entries, and were then instrumental as the first day of play slimmed it all the way down to the last four.

Sipila had the most PLO pedigree in the final quartet, but he was faced heads up with a man in great form, Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, who opted to hang around in Montenegro and play some more poker after winning the hold’em Main Event just yesterday. Vaskaboinikau prefers hold’em but he had an enormous lead in the heads-up match against Sipila, which required the Tallinn-based Finn to dig especially deep.

In the end, Sipila managed to land the punches at precisely the right moments, chipping away at Vaskaboinikau’s lead, before knocking him out after about three hours of one-on-one play. Vaskaboinikau wore his “Champion” cap throughout the whole tournament, but now Sipila will get one of his own.

Mikalai Vaskaboinikau narrowly missed out on back-to-back wins

“I really enjoy the challenge,” Sipila said. “These are the toughest fields in the world.” He gave a shout out to all his Finnish friends, battling away in the $100K, before adding, “I think you’re going to see more of me!”


The original tournament plan had been for Day 1 to play to a final table only, but the PLO lovers persuaded tournament officials to let them play to a final quartet. They did it quickly, leaving some big stack and some big names still involved at the close of play.

When they came back for the conclusion, they stacked up as follows:

Samuli Sipila – 7,150,000 (143 BBs)
Mikalai Vaskaboinikau – 6,370,000 (127 BBs)
Anson Ewe – 2,015,000 (40 BBs)
Klemens Roiter – 830,000 (17 BBs)

Triton Montenegro Event 11 final four (l-r): Samuli Sipila, Klemens Roiter, Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, Anson Ewe.

Although only four players remained, the average stack was an enormous 81 big blinds. However, only two players had more than that, considerably more, and the other two were already up against it. The absolute shortest was Austria’s Klemens Roiter, and he couldn’t get anything going on the last day.

Roiter’s graph was a steady decline until a final hand in which Samuli Sipila’s 5d6dQh4h made two pair against Roiter’s Ad8cJd6h.

Roiter banked $195,000 for his fourth place.

Without question, most neutrals were supporting Anson Ewe at this final, mainly because of the way he had ended up even playing the event. Ewe had run deep in the $200K hold’em tournament, sitting among the last 21 players.

He originally had a flight booked home for today, but decided to make the commitment to stay longer and redouble his efforts in that event, aiming for the final table. He cancelled his existing flight and extended his hotel stay, as he was still sitting at the table.

And then, one hand after pressing “Confirm” on his new bookings, he bust. Bryn Kenney knocked him out, and Ewe was now at a loose end.

What does a poker player do when he has an unexpected extra day? He plays more poker, that’s what, even if PLO is far from his favoured game. Undeterred, Ewe bought in and suddenly found the four-card game to his liking. He built a huge stack and landed in the last four.

With Roiter now departed, Ewe was the shortest and he also really struggled to get a foothold on the last day. His stack dwindled slowly but surely, and he ended up forced all-in with As6sKdTh. Both Vaskaboinikau and Sipila went to the flop with him, but Sipila’s 9c6c3hAh managed to turn a straight.

Ewe couldn’t catch up and was out in third. He took $242,000 — hopefully enough to cover the flight change fee and hotel.

Anson Ewe: A profitable rescheduling

It was, therefore, the final two we would have predicted at the beginning of the day, but certainly not at the start of the tournament itself. PLO specialist Sipila versus newly-crowned Triton hold’em champ Vaskaboinikau. The stacks were all but even:

Vaskaboinikau: 8,475,000 – 106 BBs
Sipila: 7,900,000 – 99 BBs

Sipila would have definitely backed himself in this spot, but he hadn’t reckoned on Vaskaboinikau’s new-found swagger at any poker table. The first significant pot put the Belarusian ahead by a wide margin. In it, Sipila opened to 300K and Vaskaboinikau called for a flop of Tc5h7c.

Vaskaboinikau check-raised and Sipila called, taking in the 5d turn. Vaskaboinikau now continued with a bet of 1 million, which was 10 big blind. Sipila called and the 3h came on the river.

Vaskaboinikau bombed it. All in. And Sipila folded to stay in the tournament. With no live stream, we’ll never know what they had.

There then followed a Vaskaboinikau steamroll. While Sipila had the PLO experience, his opponent was managing to find the hands to keep him pegged back — and Vaskaboinikau is never shy to inflate the pot and win the maximum.

“Straight.” “Flush,” he said. Sipila sigh-folded down to about 20 big blinds.

Sipila might still have fancied his chances of mounting a comeback, such are his PLO abilities. But whenever he landed a big blow, Vaskaboinikau hit back. On the last hand of Level 22, Vaskaboinikau bombed 1 million at a board of 3s3c8cJc and Sipila called. They both checked the 7d river and Vaskaboinikau’s Jd8d were the pertinent cards to give him another win.

The small stack was now only 13 blinds, but Sipila more than doubled it without even getting to a river card. Three times in a row he raised Vaskaboinikau off hands post-flop, with Vaskaboinikau seemingly still keen to bet anything, but Sipila asking him to play for more. When Sipila check-raise-jammed a flop of Ad3d4h, with Vaskaboinikau folding to surrender his 1.4 million flop bet, Sipila actually moved into the lead for the first time in the tournament.

This was the start of a very impressive comeback.

It was difficult to imagine Sipila putting a foot wrong during this phase of play. Whenever there was a showdown in a sizeable pot, he had Vaskaboinikau beat. And one can only assume when he was folding, he was losing the minimum.

The trophy appears between the heads up players

A case in point came when Vaskaboinikau raised preflop, then fired at the flop of 5cAd7s, getting a check-call. They both checked the 9s turn, and then Sipila checked the 4c river. Vaskaboinikau fired, Sipila called and Sipila showed Qd9d6h4h. His two pair now gave him a lead.

As the momentum continued, they entered Level 25 with Sipila holding a chip lead of 28 blinds to 13. And then Sipila turned the screw some more. Vaskaboinikau said he flopped a straight when the 5s3s6h hit the table, but by the time the Ks turn and 8h river was down, it was no longer close to the nuts.

Sipila bet big on both those cards, with Vaskaboinikau needing to call all in on the river to see what his opponent had. He didn’t. He folded. “Bluff? Or I bust on this hand?” Vaskaboinikau asked. He got no reply.

With 12 big blinds he was still in the event, but there wasn’t much left in this one. Vaskaboinikau opened a pot with a raise to 1.2 million. Sipila called and they saw a flop of 2d4s7c. All the money was quickly in the middle.

Vaskaboinikau tabled Ks8c7s2c. Sipila had Ts7d5h5d.

The turn was the Td, which was very good for Sipila. The Qs river ended the job.

With that, the Nordic invasion claims its first Triton scalp. It will not be its last.

The power of the Nordics, with Samuli Sipila


Event 12 – $25,000 PLO 6-HANDED
Dates: May 23-24, 2024
Entries: 82 (inc. 36 re-entries)
Prize pool: $2,050,000

1 – Samuli Sipila, Finland – $535,000
2 – Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, Belarus – $371,000
3 – Anson Ewe, Malaysia – $242,000
4 – Klemens Roiter, Austria – $195,000
5 – Maher Nouira, Tunisia – $156,000
6 – Ronald Keijzer, Netherlands – $122,000
7 – Chris Parker, UK – $97,000
8 – Martin Dam, Denmark – $75,000
9 – Zhou Quan, China – $55,000
10 – Nacho Barbero, Argentina – $44,000
11 – Masashi Oya, Japan – $44,000
12 – Gergo Nagy, Hungary – $38,000
13 – Isaac Haxton, USA – $38,000
14 – Aku Joentausta, Finland – $38,000

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive and Spenser Sembrat