Champion Ole Schemion!

The world’s best tournament poker players tend to gravitate to the Triton Series. It has the biggest buy-ins, the most prestigious locations and is the undisputed market leader in high stakes events. But even now, as we start our third season, there are still a handful of players who you know would love it here, but who have strangely stayed away.

When Ole Schemion first walked into the tournament room at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House for the Triton London event this week, he finally became the Triton Super High Roller player everyone knew he could be. Schemion has been one of the world’s best for more than a decade, but he had never registered a Triton event before this week.

But now, in his fourth event, Schemion is a Triton champion. He led pillar to post in today’s final table of the $50,000 8-Handed NLH, earning $1.35 million and yet another trophy for his bulging cabinet.

After the insane volatility of the three previous final tables this week, this one was plain sailing. It helped that the big stack was with the fearless Schemion, and so were most of the best cards. He eventually saw off the obdurate Dao Minh Phu, a Triton champion from Vietnam earlier this year, heads-up.

Schemion became the second 30-year-old German player to win a title this week, following Fedor Holz.

“I was a bit lazy the last few years,” Schemion said, explaining his mysterious absence from Triton events to date. “I didn’t want to play so much. I was thinking of coming this year, to Cyprus and Vietnam, but I didn’t make it. But here I am.”

A famous win for Ole Schemion

He added that he enjoyed everything about the experience, and once suspects we’ll be seeing much more of him from hereon out.

“It was a fun final table,” Schemion told Ali Nejad. “I had a really good feeling from the start.” Of Triton itself, Schemion said: “Actually it’s a really nice experience. Nice tournaments. Nice fields. Lot of fun to play. Nice people.”

That trophy is pretty nice too.


Day two resumptions have not been kind to overnight leaders so far at the Triton Series’ visit to London. Seth Davies plummeted out before the money in Event 1, and the dame thing happened today to Ignacio Moron. The Spaniard led the 43 remaining players into the concluding day, but was knocked out before the money bubble.

The bubble itself was quick but far from painless. On the first deal of hand-for-hand play, two players were all in and called. One was Wai Kin Yong, who played a pot through all the streets against David Yan. Yan raised from early position and Yong defended his big blind with 8h8c.

It went check, bet, call after the 7d9h2s flop, then check, bet, call after the Ts turn. The Tc completed the board and Yan now moved in. Yong called it off.

Unfortunately for Yong, Yan’s AcTd had made trips, so that knocked Yong out. But he had one last chance to rescue something from the tournament: Sam Grafton was all-in on a neighbouring table, and if he busted Yong and Grafton would split the 20th-place money.

Wai Kin Yong salvaged half a buy-in thanks to the bubble split

Grafton was in great shape, though. He had pocket aces to Erik Seidel’s pocket kings and table chatter revealed that one king had been folded. Grafton got his phone out to film it, giving animated commentary about how Seidel had “lost his head” with pocket kings.

But even though Seidel was drawing to just one out, that case king duly arrived on the flop. That meant Grafton and Yong perished on the same hand and chopped up the $73,000 prize. Both were disappointed, but $36,500 is a lot better than nothing.

Sam Grafton films his own demise

From there, players quickly accelerated towards the final table, with Schemion, Jamil Wakil and Phu flying up the counts, while others such as Linus Loeliger, Ike Haxton and Mikita Badzikouski hit the rail (via the payouts desk).

After Event 1 winner Luc Greenwood was frozen out by Schemion in 10th, they assembled around the final table with stacks as follows:

Ole Schemion – 47 BBs
Jamil Wakil – 42 BBs
Dao Minh Phu – 37 BBs
Orpen Kisacikoglu – 33 BBs
Roberto Perez – 32 BBs
David Yan – 32 BBs
Leon Sturm – 24 BBs
Nacho Barbero – 22 BBs
Danny Tang – 10 BBs

Event #5 final table players (clockwise from top left): Jamil Wakil, Dao Minh Phu, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Leon Sturm, Nacho Barbero, Roberto Perez, Danny Tang, David Yan, Ole Schemion.

Tang didn’t last long. Pocket jacks was far too good a hand to be letting go with his stack, and it was just unfortunate for Tang that Schemion was sitting with queens. That was the first hand of the final. It was pretty brutal for David Yan that Schemion had aces a few hands later. Yan had AdKs and hit the rail.

Schemion had knocked out three players in fewer than 10 hands. Tang won $134,000 for ninth and Yan took $173,000 for eighth.

Danny Tang was first out from the final
David Yan was coolered out of it by Schemion

While big hands accounted for both Tang and Schemion, Nacho Barbero’s demise was death by a thousand small cuts. He lost pots to Leon Sturm and Dao Minh Phu, then had to fold his blinds a couple of times to aggression elsewhere. He took a stand with JhTc but Jamil Wakil had KcJs, which was decisively better.

Barbero has made a happy habit of reaching final tables on the Triton Series, but this one ended in a seventh-place finish. It earned the Argentinian $235,000.

Another final for Nacho Barbero

Sturm has become a familiar face on the tournament tables of Europe over the past couple of years, graduating from the online game to become one of the most respected young hotshots. He burnished his reputation by winning a first World Series bracelet this summer, and the logical next step is a debut appearance on the Triton Series.

Sturm whiffed his first three events, but got himself into the black thanks to a final table appearance in the $50K, but his good run came to its conclusion in sixth place. Like others before him, Sturm was knocked out holding a premium, but his opponent, Roberto Perez just had a better hand.

Sturm’s AhQd was down by Perez’s AdAc. Sturm won $313,000.

Leon Sturm continued his good form this summer

At this stage, the double Triton champion Orpen Kisacikoglu was the shortest stack, while Schemion was still sitting pretty at the top. Kisacikoglu managed one big double through another Triton title holder, Phu, and that left three players close to even staring up enviously at Schemion.

But the best hands kept going to the relentless German, and he was then able to turn his attention to Jamil Wakil. The Canadian is another Triton newcomer making a debut in London, and he too whiffed the first three events.

But even though his tournament ended in fifth, falling with a dominated queen to Schemion’s AcQs, he banked $400,000, which puts him in profit for the trip so far. Wakil is another player with a fine online reputation, who has enjoyed a great 2023 to date. It’s just getting better.

Jamil Wakil fell in fifth

Kisacikoglu was again the short stack, but two hands after Wakil’s departure, the London-based Turkish businessman looked down at AcKs in the big blind and saw Schemion open-shoving his button.

That was a snap-call, but Schemion was winning every race, including this one. Schemion had pocket deuces which held up and bounced Kisacikoglu. There was $497,000 waiting at the payouts desk on his way out.

Orpen Kisacikoglu remains a double champ after busting in fourth here

At this point, it seemed as if no one could lay a glove on Schemion. He had more than 70 big blinds while his two challengers had only half of that between them. But Phu proved in Vietnam that he had little respect for reputations and he managed to find the first chink in Schemion’s armour.

It came thanks to AcQc in his hand, which beat Schemion’s Kc6c. Schemion flopped top pair, but the same board gave Phu a straight and prompted his trademark jubilant celebration.

Hands aloft for Dao Minh Phu

The Spanish player Roberto Perez was not quite so fortunate. Perez was yet another Triton debutant here in London, but he cashed the only two events he had played so far, landing 20th in the $40K Mystery Bounty and 19th in the $25K GGMillion$.

He had made it three from three when he got through the bubble again in this one, and here he was now sitting in the last three. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t translate the position into a win. He three-bet shoved with KdQc after yet another Schemion open. Schemion again was packing, though. His AdKs hit nothing but didn’t need to.

Perez was toast in third, earning $604,000.

Three from three for Roberto Perez

When they started heads-up play, Schemion had an enormous advantage. He was sitting with 17 million to Phu’s 4.5 million. However, Phu has demonstrated before some remarkable staying power in the late stages of tournaments, and once again he showed he was up for the battle.

Phu scored a major double up when he managed to find a miracle deuce to win with Jd2d to beat Schemion’s KcJc. That gave Phu a decent stack and the chance to try to take down the German boss.

However, Schemion soon dished out a dose of the same medicine on Phu. They got it in again pre-flop, with Phu holding AdKd against Schemion’s Ac9d.

Schemion flopped a straight draw and then spiked the 9c on the turn. Phu offered his hand to Schemion, but the German jokingly waved it away, knowing Phu still had seven outs on the river. This time he missed, however, and was condemned to a second-place finish and “only” $915,000. He now has a first second and a third on this series. Schemion of course now did shake his hand and gave him a hug.

Not yet with the handshake
Ole Schemion and Dao Minh Phu embrace at the end

And as for Schemion? He has now made his indelible mark on the Triton Series, just like he has everywhere else in the world.


Event #5 – NLH – 8-Handed
Dates: July 30-31, 2023
Entries: 112 (inc 73 re-entries)
Prize pool: $5,600,000

1 – Ole Schemion, Germany – $1,350,000
2 – Dao Minh Phu, Vietnam – $915,000
3 – Roberto Perez, Spain – $604,000
4 – Orpen Kisacikoglu, Turkey – $497,000
5 – Jamil Wakil, Canada – $400,000
6 – Leon Sturm, Germany – $313,000
7 – Nacho Barbero, Argentina – $235,000
8 – David Yan, New Zealand – $173,000
9 – Danny Tang, Hong Kong – $134,000

10 – Luc Greenwood, Canada – $112,000
11 – Erik Seidel, USA – $112,000
12 – Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus – $98,000
13 – Matthias Eibinger, Austria – $98,000
14 – Isaac Haxton, USA – $89,000
15 – Johannes Straver, Netherlands – $89,000
16 – Linus Loeliger, Switzerland – $81,000
17 – Sean Perry, USA – $81,000
18 – Biao Ding, Vietnam – $73,000
19 – Pedro Garagnani, Brazil – $73,000
=20 – Sam Grafton, UK – $36,500*
=20 – Wai Kin Yong, Malaysia – $36,500*

*eliminated on same hand from different tables; chop 20th place money

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive