Top 5 Triton Poker Moments of 2019

If 2019 was the year of anything, it was the year of the protester. A million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the proposed Fugitive Offenders amendment bill. Algeria’s ‘Revolution of Smiles’ protests continued until President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, resigned from office on April 2, and the poker community threatened to take up chess if the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series didn’t put on more dazzling events. 

Three Triton events captivated the poker community throughout 2019. 

2-9 March – Jeju, South Korea.

5-17 May – Budva, Montenegro.

31 Jul – 8 Aug – London, England.

The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in Jeju had 8-events. The Montenegrin series extended that to 13, before the inaugural visit to London capped things off with an 8-event series, including the record-busting £1m buy-in, Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity, and it’s at that event that we begin our round-up of Top 5 Best Triton Moments of 2019. 

1. Aaron Zang Wins Triton Million

After countless nights of grinding teeth, yanking hair, and itching armpits, Triton managed to do something unique in the poker world – host, a £1m buy-in No-Limit, Hold’em (NLHE) event with 54-entrants. 

The event, held in the Hilton on Park Lane in London, broke several records, notably: largest prize pool outside of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event (£54m), the most significant buy-in (£1m), and the biggest single payout (Bryn Kenney, £16.9m).

The uniqueness of the event saw the pros and non-pros separated for the first six-levels. A non-pro had never won a 7-figure buy-in event that included pros, and that’s one of the things that makes Aaron Zang’s win standout.

Zang began life as a Magic The Gathering champion, and he defeated another former Magic champion, Bryn Kenney, heads-up, to win the title after the pair agreed upon a deal that saw Zang pocket £13,779,491, and Kenney £16,890,509. 

When the field was down to five players, Zang, a cash game player, faced the combined might of three of the best NLHE tournament players in the world (Stephen Chidwick, Dan Smith, and Bryn Kenney).  

“I don’t know what I am doing!” Said Zang during a break in play. “I just hope for a miracle.”

He’s too kind.

Zang overturned a 3:1 chip deficit, and a vast gap in tournament experience to become the first winner of the Triton Million. 

2. Bryn Kenney Tops The All-Time Money List

The Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity was such a huge event; seven players could have replaced Justin Bonomo at the top of The Hendon Mob (THM) All-Time Money List if results went their way. It was a fact not lost on Bryn Kenney, who began the series in fourth place, needing an $11m score to hit the top spot. 

Kenney was the only person singing from the swanky London rooftops that he would win the tournament, and take his rightful place at the top of the All-Time Money List. As the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity tournament progressed, this race became a story within a story. 

With four players left, three of them would still hit the top with a win, until Kenney eliminated two of them (Stephen Chidwick and Dan Smith), before eventually falling to Aaron Zang, heads-up. 

The reason you see Kenney smiling so much after the event is he and Zang cut a deal that saw Kenney bank £16,890,509, the largest single prize dished out, ever, and a win that saw him reach $55,505,630 – good for the top spot.

3. Paul Phua All Time In The Money Finishes

Coming into 2019, Paul Phua sat second in the Malaysian All-Time Money List on THB with $5,116,041 in live tournament earnings, trailing his Triton partner, Richard Yong, by $6,232,651. 

How long would it take Phua to overtake Yong?

Less than a year. 

Despite starting to play poker in his mid-40s, Phua put in a tremendous run of consistency to feature in the money (ITM) 11 times, 16 lifetime, two more than his nearest rival, Jason Koon.

A typically humble Phua said his success boils down to his desire to compete in every single event. When you’re competing against the best in the world, you need more in your arsenal than merely showing up. 

Ten of those 11 ITM finishes were final table appearances, finishing in the Top 3 spots on five occasions, with the only blot on his copybook a big fat zero in the registered wins column – a stat that won’t last long. 

4. Jason Koon’s Incredible Jeju Performance

The most celebrated sportsmen in the world need a platform to anchor them so the whole world can see how great they truly are. For Jason Koon, that platform has been the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. 

Koon burst on the Triton scene when he conquered all in the 2018 event in Montenegro, winning the HKD 1m Short-Deck Main Event for $3.5m, as well as appearing in two of the largest-ever televised cash game pots in history. 

Koon would later join Triton as their first brand ambassador, and in 2019, in Jeju, he blew everyone away like dandelion seeds on the end of the big bad wolf’s huff and puff, making four final tables, and winning two while gathering $4.6m in the process. 

To date, Koon has won three titles (an honour he shares with Mikita Badziakouski and Wai Kin Yong), has finished ITM 14 times (only Paul Phua beats him with 16), and earned $12,334,232 in prize money.

5. Bryn Kenney Incredible Montenegro Performance

Bryn Kenney appears for the second time thanks to his outstanding display in Triton’s event in Montenegro. It was a smash and grab performance by Kenney, who flew in to compete in a few games, before moving on to pastures new. 

Kenney, who had complained that the buy-ins weren’t high enough for him, won the HKD 500,000 NLHE 6-Handed event, beating 79-entrants to capture the $1,431,376 first prize, before going on to outlast 75-entrants in the HKD 1m NLHE Main Event for $2,713,859. 

The two wins came two months after the heartbreak of losing to Timothy Adams in the heads-up stage of the HKD 2m NLHE Main Event in Jeju, where he picked up another $3m. Kenney also finished 4/81 in the HKD 500,000 NLHE 6-Handed event for $500,000.

Nobody has earned more money on the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series than Kenney, with $30,373,405 in prize money accrued over 7 ITM finishes.

Does Kenney deserve the accolades?

You won’t find any protestors in the street. 

Jungleman Cates swings in to claim last-gasp Triton Montengro victory

True to form on the Triton Super High Roller Series, the completion of the pre-scheduled slate of tournaments did not mean the end of this festival in Montenegro. Where there are players, there is a game, and a last-minute turbo was added on the final day giving players one more chance to mix it up at the Maestral Resort, Budva.

This was a HKD 300,000 buy-in event, combining the players’ two greatest loves: short deck and full deck hold’em, alternating every six hands, with 25-minute levels. There were 27 entries including 10 re-entries and that produced a prize pool of HKD 7.86 million — as near as dammit to $1 million. There aren’t many places in the world where a last-minute event can build a seven-figure prize pool, but the Triton Series is one.

There also aren’t that many places in the world — the real world, at least — where you’ll find three titans of poker named Dan Cates, Jason Koon and Rui Cao engaged in a three-way scrap for heaps. Cates is best known as “Jungleman”, the online cash-game sensation (and sometime soft porn actor), while Cao sometimes goes by “PepperoniF” as he clashes with the best for the biggest online pots. Koon is a Triton Ambassador and three-time champion on this series, and the fact that it was those three left at the end gave an indication of how tough and prestigious these events are.

In a matter of about eight hours, it was all done and dusted and Cates posed for the winner’s picture this time. The week began for him writhing on a poker table with a harem of women in various states of undress. It ended with him sitting with As6d in one hand, a trophy in the other, and another title, plus HKD 3.93 million ($501,000) to his name.

Heads Up Dan Cates

“Pretty good,” he said, when asked how it felt to become the latest Triton champion, earning his second title. But he was’t yet sure what the future held for him. “I didn’t think of that,” he said when asked how he was going to celebrate. “There’s a party. I guess I’ll go to that and see what happens next.”

With Jungleman, that could mean absolutely anything.

Cates beat Koon heads-up, although it only lasted one hand. Koon’s AhKh was outdrawn, ending this festival in some-way appropriate manner. “What a heads-up battle that was,” Koon chirped after watching his hopes of a fourth title vanish. “Good game, buddy,” he added. Koon took HKD 2.367 million ($302,000) for second.

Triton Ambassador Jason Koon has to settle for second

With only three places to be paid from this small field, the usual pre-bubble tension only really descended after Paul Phua had departed in fifth. Phua should look back on the week in Montenegro with fondness, having cashed a remarkable six times. But it was bittersweet for him as he still doesn’t have a title, and he could’t get one at the last opportunity either. He clung on with a short stack, but eventually he lost it.

Mike Watson, who became the actual bubble boy not long after, probably won’t remember this trip with any real enthusiasm. He’s been on the receiving end of more than his fair share of beats, and today went out on the bubble with QdJs to Dan Cates’s 9hTd. It was a short deck hand and equities were close, but it’s another sickener for Watson. They got it in on the flop of Ts 6sAs, when Watson had tons of outs. But he shook his head resignedly as he missed, finishing a series in which he cashed only once, for HKD 850,000 ($108,306).

Another sickener for bubble boy Mike Watson

With the last three now assured a minimum of HKD 1.56 million ($199,000), the pressure eased. Cao was the first to bust in the money, losing a massive pot with AdKc to Cates’s aces. He couldn’t fully recover and eventually succumbed to Koon in a full-deck hand. We know it was full deck because Cao got his last shrapnel in with 8d2d and lost to Koon’s AsQh.

Rui Cao: Out in third

The blinds were big and the stacks were shallow, so a titanic heads-up duel was always unlikely. But they got it all-in on the first hand, the dealer delivered the outdraw, and that was that for the festival.

We had close to 1,000 entries, a combined prize pool of more than $42 million, and 11 champions from 12 events. Steve O’Dwyer was the first, Cates was the last and Bryn Kenney won two.

All the reports are on the news page of the Triton website. We’ll see you in London in a couple of months.

Triton Montenegro Event #13 – Short Deck/NLHE Mix
Dates: May 17, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 300,000 ($38,000)
Entries: 27 (inc. 10 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 7,857,000 ($1,000,000)

1st: Dan Cates, USA — HKD 3,930,000 ($501,000)
2nd: Jason Koon, USA — HKD 2,367,000 ($302,000)
3rd: Rui Cao, France — HKD 1,560,000 ($199,000)

Photography by Joe Giron/


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Lamb prepares for WSOP tilt with maiden Triton title

Through the past decade, Ben Lamb has become one of the United States’ most successful tournament poker players, making the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event twice within six years. More recently, Lamb has decamped to Asia, where he has become a regular in the biggest cash games on the planet. But this week, as the Triton Super High Roller series visited Montenegro, Lamb has been mixing it up in both — and tonight he made a winning return to the tournament tables taking first place in the HKD 500,000 short deck event.

Thirty-four-year-old Lamb beat Romain Arnaud heads-up to top a 42-entry field, banking HKD 7.65 million ($994,500), his largest tournament cash outside of his two WSOP finals. He came second in the pot limit Omaha tournament only a few days ago here at the Maestral Resort & Casino, Budva, but now has his hands on a first trophy.

Ben Lamb: Biggest win outside of WSOP finals

The tournament played out in only one day and wrapped at 3.30am on Friday morning, with Lamb’s KsJh staying good against Arnaud’s KcTc. “Staying good” is far from a foregone conclusion in short deck hold’em, and the tournament saw countless outdraws and huge chip swings.

Heads up between Romain Arnaud and Ben Lamb

But Lamb retained his composure to leave Arnaud still seeking his first Triton title — and then said he’s heading back to Las Vegas tomorrow for a golf trip, before preparing again for the WSOP.

“It feels good,” Lamb said.

After the announcement that the start would be delayed and the levels shortened, a rush of players arrived to the poker room and quickly built a prize pool of HKD 20.8 million ($2.56 million). That came from 42 entries, including 13 re-entries.

Most of the usual suspects were in attendance, but many of them quickly departed too. When seven gathered around the final table, Romain Arnaud led, from Ben Lamb, with Tan Xuan, Timofey Kuznetsov and Robert Flink comfortable, and Isaac Haxton and Ivan Leow in the danger zone.

Last seven in Event #9 (l-r): Romain Arnaud, Timofey Kuznetsov, Isaac Haxton, Ivan Leow, Xuan Tan, Ben Lamb, Robert Flink

Leow found the quickest way out of that wretched zone, by winning a tournament-ending pot from Haxton. Haxton’s KdTh was undone by Leow’s AdQd and, though stacks were close, Leow had the most. He all but doubled just ahead of the bubble, whereas Haxton was free to make other plans.

Isaac Haxton’s face tells the story

That put them on the stone bubble, the difference between zilch and nearly a quarter of a million dollars. We sometimes grow immune to the sizes of the prizes, especially on the Triton Series, but a bubble that size is never something to be taken lightly. Certainly Flink, who fell on the wrong side of it, didn’t look especially pleased.

His last hand involved a couple of limps and then shove from him with AhTd. Unfortunately one of the player behind him was Arnaud, with both big stack and a big hand, AcKh. There was a king on the flop and Flink was drawing dead on the turn.

Robert Flink ups and leaves on the bubble

The bubble was not long burst before Kuznetsov — aka “Trueteller” — was next to depart in a hand that took a long time to play out, but which would have ended exactly the same way whatever had happened. Lamb opened with a raise to 320,000 and Kuznetsov, with a stack of around 2 million, used a time bank chip and then called. Tan Xuan used two time banks before he opted to fold, and that meant just two of the world’s best cash game players went to a 8cJc6h flop. Lamb moved all in pretty much instantly, and Kuznetsov’s chips beat Lamb’s into the pot.

However Kuznetsov’s KdKs was behind Lamb’s AdAc and stayed there through turn and river. Kuznetsov won HKD 2.35 million ($305,500).

Timofey Kuznetsov: Out in fifth

The next big moment also featured a kings vs. aces showdown, but it had a third hand involved as well for good measure. Leow found AdAc, Tan had KhKc, but Arnaud’s Th9h was menacing, especially when he had the covering stack.

The 8cTc8s flop made the threat of a double knockout very real, then the 7d turn increased the likelihood. But the 8d river was a blank, giving Leow more than a double up and sending Tan, with the smallest stack, out in fourth. He won HKD 2.35 million ($305,500) from his second final table of the day. (He previously finished sixth in Event #10 for HKD 2.7 million.)

Xuan Tan: Out after a three-way

The last three players — Lamb, Arnaud and Leow — were all pretty even and the blinds hadn’t yet really caught up with their stacks. They had the time and the chips to pass a few between them, and the game slowed for a while. Arnaud ended up short when he had to fold to a big river shove from Lamb, but doubled up a couple of hands later with pocket nines, which flopped a set and Leow’s flush draw missed. He then moved into the lead.

After an hour or so, everything did shallow out, and Leow found himself on the slide. He got his last 2 million in with AhKs but he got properly short-decked by Arnaud’s KcQc. The board ran 9cTh9d6cJh. Leow has had a tough time of it in Montenegro, but at least he got on the board at the end. He won HKD 3.25 million ($422,500).

Ivan Leow: Belatedly on the board in Montenegro

Both Lamb and Arnaud were in the money for the fourth time on the Triton Series, but neither yet had a title. This was obviously their big chance, and it could have gone either way. Arnaud had a lead of 98 antes to 60 when they went heads up, but Lamb chipped away until he had more than a two-to-one lead.

Romain Arnaud: Second place

That soon evened itself out again, however, when Arnaud got it all in with Qh8h and turned a flush to beat Lamb’s KcJc.

But back Lamb came and Arnaud could not get the chips to stick. Eventually, Arnaud made a weary push and Lamb made the call with his dominating hand. And then belatedly that was the end of that.

Triton Montenegro Event #9 – Short Deck
Dates: May 16, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 500,000 ($64,000)
Entries: 42 (inc. 13 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 20,080,000 ($2,560,000)

1st: Ben Lamb, USA — HKD 7,650,000 ($994,500)
2nd: Romain Arnaud, France — HKD 4,920,000 ($639,600)
3rd: Ivan Leow, Malysia — HKD 3,250,000 ($422,500)
​4th: Tan Xuan, China — HKD 2,350,000 ($305,500)
5th: Timofey Kuznetsov, Russia — HKD 1,910,000 ($248,300)

Photography by Joe Giron/


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Brilliant Badziakouski claims third title, rises to top of Triton rankings

Late last night, as the poker room at the Maestral Resort & Casino, in Budva, Montenegro, emptied, only a handful of reporters, a security guard and one player remained. The tournament — the HKD 750,000 ($96,000) short deck — was long over for the night but that player, the Belarusian superstar Mikita Badziakouski, sat hunched over his phone, alone. He was watching the Triton Series live stream, on a 30-minute delay, and was desperate to know what had happened on the last two hands he played.

The truth was he had lost them both. He was out-flopped and maybe outplayed by Tan Xuan on the first, and on the second attempted to run a bluff against the same opponent and got raised off his hand. He will have learnt that Xuan had the nuts — Badziakouski was correct to fold — and then he went back to his room for some sleep to return at noon today to play on.

Worth the wait for Badziakouski

Flash forward another few hours, and Badziakouski is again the last player remaining in the room. But this time it’s because he is the champion, booking his third outright win on the Triton Series and adding another HKD 13.3 million ($1.73 million) to his name. Badziakouski may have struggled in the late stages last night but he was unstoppable today, racing up the counts and sitting at the top for hours, then knocking out four of his last five opponents to seal the deal.

He now leapfrogs Jason Koon at the top of the Triton Series all-time rankings and pushes his winnings on the series beyond $10 million.

The final hurdle today, from a field of 52 entries (including 23 re-entries) was the Canadian pro Sam Greenwood, who had also been heavily involved in the action at the end of Day 1. Greenwood scored an enormous double up with one of the last hands of the day, and that allowed him similar big-stack comforts today. But when only two were left, Badziakouski’s heads-up lead was too much and Greenwood had to settle for second, worth HKD 8.6 million ($1.118 million).

Sam Greenwood, left, and Mikita Badziakouski

It’s the penultimate tournament of this 11-event festival, and the third to name two millionaires. There are few more deserving than Badziakouski and Greenwood.

“This was the first time I went deep in a short deck tournament. I was losing for a long time in short deck. I’m happy to finally win,” Badziakouski said. “It feels great, obviously.”

The early going today was brisk and brutal — starting up again when it left off last night. There were 17 players who came back, but ten went within the first two levels. Goodbye Isaac Haxton, Richard Yong, Jesus Cortes, Timofey Kuznetsov, Ivan Leow, Sergey Lebedev, Michael Soyza, Wai Leong Chan, Winfred Yu and Daniel Dvoress. Every one of those players has had a story to tell from this year’s Triton Montenegro, but it was only as a bit part in this particular tournament.

Last seven (l-r): Sam Greenwood, Devan Tang, Mikita Badziakouski, Tan Xuan, Qiang Wang, Paul Phua, Andrew Robl.

It was also a bit part only for Devan Tang, but his elimination in sixth afforded him special bubble-boy status. Tang won a short deck event in Jeju in March, but he was eliminated when his pocket jacks lost to Andrew Robl’s pocket aces. They both flopped a set, but Tang couldn’t his another one-outer to survive. Robl, playing his first tournament of the week, and who had also been all in and survived on the bubble, was delighted.

Andrew Robl doubles on the bubble
Devan Tang couldn’t survive

Tang’s knockout was great news in particular for Paul Phua, the overnight short stack, who had again managed to cling on and cash again — his fifth of this festival and 12th overall, more than anybody. “Oh my god, Paul again?” said John Juanda as he dropped by the poker room to check on the latest.

Phua was potentially going to be the first man out in the money as he got his stack in with AcKc in a three-way coup. He was covered by Robl’s stack, but Robl’s AsJs was drawing thin. The other player, overnight leader Tan Xuan, had JcTd, and he was in even more trouble.

The board bricked out, which meant Phua all but tripled, but Xuan was knocked out. Even his big stack from yesterday wasn’t insurance against the short-stack buffeting, but Phua’s resurgence showed the possibilities on the other side of the coin. Xuan won HKD 2.7 million.

Xuan Tan prepares to leave

Although Robl survived that confrontation, he suffered what proved to be more than just a flesh wound. He had only 22 antes left and KhQh was plenty good enough to speculate it all against Mikita Badziakouski’s pocket nines. By the time they got the full stacks in, Robl had a pair of queens on the Td8sQc flop but Badziakouski then turned a nine and Robl was toast. His HKD 3,422,500 ($444,925) payout it probably not much more than a big blind in the cash games he’s been playing, but it was fun while it lasted.

“It feels good,” Robl said after he was knocked out. “It’s always disappointing to go out of tournament, but I never had any chips. Once the bubble went down that was a relief. In a tournament, especially a short deck tournament, you have to win your all-ins to make a final table. It’s always fun to win them.”

Not this time for Robl, out in fifth

“Always fun” might be Phua’s motto at the poker tables too, and no one has played more this week than him. However, his trophy cabinet still remains empty as his tournament this time ended in fourth place. Phua got his stack of 2.125 million all in with pocket queens, but Badziakouski’s As8s turned an ace to win. Phua added another…ah, he doesn’t care about that, it’s all about the trophy!

Paul Phua, in customary final table pose

Badizakouski was on a tear and Wang Qiang, aka Shanghai Wang, must have feared the worst when he got his chips all in with AhQs to be faced by Badziakouski’s QdJh. Although Wang was a decent favourite, Badziakouski couldn’t miss today. And sure enough, the Jc turn won another one. Wang played exceptionally solid poker, but had to make do with HKD 5.7 million ($741,000).

Qiang Wang: Outdrawn to bust

Badziakouski had a near four-to-one chip lead when they got heads up — 316 antes to 81 — and it seemed a foregone conclusion. That was especially true when Badziakouski limped his button, Greenwood pushed for about 1.5 million, and Badziakouski called, quickly tabling AcAh to Greenwood’s QsKd. Greenwood, however, wriggled out of this trap thanks to a couple of queens on the board.

Sam Greenwood settles for second

The remarkable comeback faltered again, however, and Badziakouski closed it out just after 6pm local time. This time his AdJc held against Greenwood’s KcJs and that was the end of that.

Triton Montenegro Event #10 – Short Deck
Dates: May 15-16, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 750,000 ($96,000)
Entries: 52 (inc. 23 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 38,122,500 ($4,860,000)

1st — Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus – HKD 13,300,000 ($1,729,000)
2nd — Sam Greenwood, Canada – HKD 8,600,000 ($1,118,000)
3rd — Wang Qiang, China – HKD 5,700,000 ($741,000)
4th — Paul Phua, Malaysia – HKD 4,400,000 ($572,000)
5th — Andrew Robl, USA – HKD 3,422,500 ($444,925)
6th — Xuan Tan, China – HKD 2,700,000 ($351,000)

Mikita Badziakouski and girlfriend Melika Razavi

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Tan Xuan lands on top in $95K short deck musical chairs

Another day, another massive short deck event on the Triton Super High Roller Series, this time demanding an enormous HKD 750,000 ($96,000) buy-in and quickly building a prize pool of more than HKD 38 million ($4.86 million). That means that this time tomorrow, two more millionaires will be named, with the first prize weighing in at HKD 13.3 million (nearly $1.7 million).

All that money came from 29 unique players and 24 re-entries, only 17 of whom survived 11 levels of play. With six places paid, it’s going to be a tense few hours to kick off Thursday’s action, which will be the penultimate day on this two-week festival.

The chip lead changed hands four times within the last level, with Isaac Haxton being overhauled first by China’s Wang Qiang and then by Sam Greenwood. Then Qiang’s neighbour Tan Yuan, pictured top, leapfrogged them all with two big hands against Mikita Badziakouski, not long after he knocked out Danny Tang.

Sam Greenwood: Great last level

Greenwood’s big double up was the most dramatic moment: he made a call for his tournament life three hands from the close of play. Haxton shoved for his 2 million stack, covering everyone at his table. It was a classic big-stack bully move and Greenwood wasn’t buying it. He called with his QdQc and caught Haxton with TsJs. Haxton missed and so Greenwood flew to 1.95 million.

By that point, Qiang had also edged towards the top of the counts, finishing with 1.881 million, but all eyes should really have been on Tan, who bagged 2.186 million.

Qiang Wang: Top three stack

Tan finished second to Jason Koon in the short deck main event here in Montenegro last year for the biggest cash of his career — HKD 18.121 million ($2.3 million), and Randy Lew described him as “one of the most experienced short deck players there is”. He showed all those skills late on, when he ironed out Badziakouski, twice.

Tan called a three-bet with AhJh, flopped an ace, and let Badziakouski barrel into him with KcQh. Tan rivered two pair and put out a big bet, eventually forcing Badziakouski to fold.

On the next hand, Badziakouski tried to represent a flush on a board of AhAc6hTd8h, but Tan was the man who actually had it. His Kh7h was the nuts.

Badziakouski was intrigued enough by the hands to sit behind at the end of play to watch it through on the stream, on a 30-minute delay. “This last hour of poker has been amazing,” Lew added in the commentary box.

The hand between Haxton and Greenwood took place on the same table as Triton cashing machine Paul Phua, who is eyeing his 13th in-the-money finish on the series he co-founded. Phua’s quest received a late boost when he knocked out Triton Ambassador Jason Koon, but there’s still a healthy contingent of the Triton family involved, with Richard Yong also going deep and making it into the second day.

Although it was mostly very familiar faces in the field today, there was one newcomer to action this week: Andrew Robl sat down to play a tournament after mostly focusing on cash since arriving in Montenegro. He needed to survive a late scare when he got his chips all in with QhQd and was dominated by Jesus Cortes’s AhAd. But the board made Robl a straight to double him up and give him 756,000 in the overnight counts.

Andrew Robl: Tournament time

Here’s how they line up for tomorrow’s noon re-start. The day two seat draw is alongside.

Xuan TanChina2,186,0003-3
Samuel GreenwoodCanada1,950,0002-7
Qiang WangChina1,881,0003-7
Sergey LebedevRussia1,585,0001-6
Ivan LeowMalaysia1,217,0001-5
Isaac HaxtonUnited States1,024,0001-3
Daniel DvoressCanada896,0003-2
Devan TangHong Kong894,0001-1
Michael SoyzaMalaysia866,0003-6
Andrew RoblUnited States756,0002-3
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus648,0001-7
Winfred YuHong Kong490,0001-2
Timofey KuznetsovRussia354,0002-6
Wai Leong ChanMalaysia300,0002-2
Jesus CortesSpain256,0002-1
Richard YongMalaysia208,0002-5
Paul PhuaMalaysia193,0003-5

Triton Montenegro Event #10 – Short Deck
Dates: May 15-16, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 750,000 ($96,000)
Entries: 52 (inc. 23 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 38,122,500 ($4,860,000)

1st — HKD 13,300,000 ($1,694,000)
2nd — HKD 8,600,000 ($1,096,000)
3rd — HKD 5,700,000
4th — HKD 4,400,000
5th — HKD 3,422,494
6th — HKD 2,700,000

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Juanda survives short deck turbulence to claim second Triton title

John Juanda today folded quad sixes at a final table of the Triton High Roller Series. It was a huge fold, even in short deck hold em, and it was wrong. His opponent, Sergey Lebedev, was on a bluff. Juanda was also drawing dead in a hand against Wai Kin Yong a little later, but rivered a chop to survive. About two hours after the quad sixes incident, Juanda was still at the table with Lebedev and Yong long gone, and there was a Triton trophy in Juanda’s hands. That’s short deck.

The 47-year-old Juanda, five times a WSOP bracelet winner, tonight sealed his second victory on the Triton Series, winning the HKD 250,000 ($32,000) buy-in short deck tournament at the Maestral Resort, Budvar, Montenegro, securing a HKD 4.72 million ($613,600) payday. He previously won the main event in Macau, but this tournament was every bit as tough.

John Juanda: Latest Triton winner

In winning today he not only showed his extraordinary grittiness and obduracy, he also yet again denied Daniel Dvoress a Triton title, despite the Canadian having carried an enormous chip lead into the second and final day. Dvoress had more than half the chips in play six handed, but still couldn’t get over the line. Dvoress is having an exceptional trip to Montenegro, and has made five final tables. But his long hunt for outright victory persists as he added his second runner-up spot of the festival.

Dvoress got exceptionally unlucky in crucial spots, doubling up opponents who got it in with inferior hands. But short deck hold’em is a volatile game and this time it was Juanda who found the right path to the title.

“It feels great,” Juanda said. “Every time you win a tournament like this, it’s an amazing feeling.” He added that he has only been playing short deck for nine months. He’s a quick learner.

Chips, Cards & Branding

They came back today with 12 players, the survivors of an opening day in which 65 entries (including 29 re-entries) swelled the prize pool to HKD 15.275 million ($1.95 million). Dvoress had absolutely heaps while all the others had to risk all and hope to ladder up. (Juanda was actually Dvoress’s closest challenger, but had less than half of the leader’s chips.)

Jesus Cortes was first out, losing a flip with JsTs to Michael Soyza’s overcards. Then Isaac Haxton followed him out the door in 11th when his AcJs was behind Dan Cates’s AdKd. The same hand — AhJs accounted for Winfred Yu in 10th — and that brought us to the HKD 616,000 bubble. Next out would go home with nothing, while everyone else would be guaranteed around $80,000.

It’s been a bit of a breakout series this week for Danny Tang, who won his first $1 million-plus prize in the full deck main event. And here he went on to taste the pain of his first super high roller bubble. Tang shipped his short stack with KhQh and Sergei Lebedev called with AsJd. Tang didn’t hit and Lebedev, who rode his luck in the early stages of the day, chipped up beyond 2.5 million as Tang headed away. “Good game,” he said.

Danny Tang goes out on the bubble

Tang’s departure meant yet another in-the-money finish for Paul Phua. It was his 12th, a record on the series, and now two more than anybody else. Phua had other commitments this afternoon, including welcoming a local mayor and hospital director to the tournament room to receive Triton’s latest gift, so in some ways it was for the greater good that he was knocked out in eighth.

It was fairly straightforward: jacks into queens, with Dvoress holding the bigger hand. For once there was nothing too exciting about the board and Dvoress’s queens held.

Last seven in latest short deck event (l-r): Peter Jetten, Michael Soyza, John Juanda, Wai Kin Yong, Daniel Dvoress, Sergey Lebedev, Daniel Cates

Michael Soyza then hit the rail in seventh, before Cates’s elimination in sixth was grim for him — a one-two punch that maybe owed a large part to his extreme tiredness having played tournaments all day and cash games all night for a week. He went multi-way to a flop holding As6c and then opted to check the AhQd6s flop. That turned out to be disastrous as the free card Th came on the turn, which hit Peter Jetten’s TdTs. The 6h river deepened the mire for Jungleman and he lost about two thirds of his stack.

An exhausted Dan “Jungleman” Cates

Not long after, Cates had AdAs, got his chips in and got a call from Wai Kin Yong’s JcJh. Yong rivered a straight to bust Cates and send him home with HKD 980,000 ($127,400).

With the usual hell-raisers now departed, Russia’s Lebedev again took on the mantle. He hit a chop on the river to keep hold of his big stack just before the bubble, and when the field was six-handed, he spotted a terrific opportunity for a bluff against Juanda. The board was out all the way, showing AhAd6dAc6c and Lebedev made a bet of 200,000 into a pot about four times the size. Lebedev only had JdKd so was playing the board, but Juanda wasn’t. He had 6h6s in the hole, otherwise known as quads.

Sergey Lebedev: Tormentor

Juanda believed Lebedev, however, and let them go, obviously putting Lebedev on the case ace. It was a huge fold — I don’t think we’ve seen quads folded this week on the Triton Series — and Juanda will have been kicking himself when he watched it on the stream.

Despite all that, Lebedev still couldn’t build a huge stack and Juanda watched on as Peter Jetten sent Lebedev out. Lebedev shipped with QsJs, Jetten called with AdQd and there was nothing for Lebedev to get excited about. Lebedev’s first cash of this trip was worth HKD 1.25 million ($162,500).

Peter Jetten: Yet another final

It turns out that Lebedev’s chips were only really on temporary loan to Jetten, and they would eventually end up with Juanda. Jetten got his stack in as a 64 percent favourite with QhTh against Juanda’s AsKh on a board of 9d6s8sTs. But the Kc river was gin for Juanda and Jetten finished fourth for HKD 1.62 million ($210,600). That was his fourth final table of the week and ninth on the Triton Series.

The three-handed battled pitted two former champions, Yong and Juanda, against the week’s form player Dvoress. In a crazy hour or so of play, all three of them held the chip lead and all three of them was the short stack, before Yong became the next man out. The deck turned against him in a number of crucial spots and eventually he lost with KdQd against a resurgent Juanda’s KhKs.

Wai Kin Yong: Might have won, came third

“I think I’m pretty unlucky, I lost a few key hands and chopped once with Juanda when he was drawing dead,” Yong said when asked about the topsy-turvy three-handed battle. “But it’s fine. That’s why short-deck is fun.”

The heads-up players had about 80 antes apiece when they first got their chips in, chopping a pot with ace-queen each. But the final hand was a doozy, and demonstrated again how hard it is ever to win a hand, let alone a tournament, in this variant.

Daniel Dvoress burns through the time banks before calling

Dvoress was dealt AdAc and raised. Juanda had QdJd and called. They then saw the KdTd8d flop. Juanda had a flush and Dvoress had the nut-flush draw, plus an over-pair, and they gradually got the chips in.

Juanda checked, Dvoress bet 500,000 and Juanda called, bringing the Kc turn. Both checked, and the 8c came on the river. Juanda checked again, and Dvoress then bet 1.5 million — most likely a value bet with his two-pair. But Juanda sprung the trap and moved in for 9.2 million, a massive overbet into a 4 million chip pot. Dvoress spent three time-bank chips but then called, and saw the bad news.

Dvoress wins HKD 3.16 million ($410,800), while Juanda claimed HKD 4.72 million ($613,600).

Triton Montenegro Event #6 – Short Deck
Dates: May 14-15, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 250,000 ($32,000)
Entries: 65 (inc. 29 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 15.275 million ($1.95 million)

1st – John Juanda, Indonesia – HKD 4,720,000 ($613,600)
2nd – Daniel Dvoress, Canada – HKD 3,160,000 ($410,800)
3rd – Wai Kin Yong, Malaysia – HKD 2,150,000 ($279,500)
4th – Peter Jetten, Canada – HKD 1,620,000 ($210,600)
5th – Sergey Lebedev, Russia – HKD 1,250,000 ($162,500)
6th – Daniel Cates, USA – HKD 980,000 ($127,400)
7th – Michael Soyza, Malaysia – HKD 780,000 ($101,400)
8th – Paul Phua, Malaysia – HKD 615,000 ($79,950)

Photography by Joe Giron/

12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Triton gives back: Company donates €30,000 ultrasound machine to Montenegro hospital

A lot of money changes hands on the Triton High Roller Series, but its co-founders Paul Phua and Richard Yong were clear of one thing from the start: the company is not interested in any profit. Any revenue generated away from the tables should be donated to various charitable causes.

This commitment was again underlined this afternoon at the Maestral Resort & Casino, Montenegro, when Phua greeted two special guests to the poker room and made Triton’s latest life-saving donation. In the presence of Petar Smolovic, the mayor of Bijelo Polje municipality, Phua handed a donation of €31,030 to Biserka Bulatović, the director of Bijelo Polje’s General Hospital.

That is the precise cost of a Hitachi Alokfa F37 ultrasound machine, a key piece of equipment for hospital that will help diagnose patients without the need for invasive procedures. The hospital has waited for 10 years for this particular piece of equipment, with Triton responding to a personal request from Mayor Smolovic.

“This donation is very important for us,” Mayor Smolovic said. “This donation will raise the level of medical services in my town. I would like to say thank you to Triton Poker, and especially Mr Phua.”

Dr Biserka Bulatovic, left, of Bijelo Polje General Hospital with Richard Yong and Paul Phua, Triton co-founders, Mayor Petar Smolovic, and Triton Ambassador Jason Koon

Bijelo Polje is a town in northeastern Montenegro, on the Lim river and close to the border with Serbia. Its 15,400-strong population will all benefit from the donation, which will be delivered immediately to the hospital.

“We have been waiting for this donation for 10 years,” Dr Bulatović said. “This amount of waiting tells you what it means to us. It will help a lot, especially patients with heart diseases. We are very happy.”

Dr Bulatović revealed that she had found out only yesterday that the donation was being made to the hospital. “It’s a very nice surprise,” she said. “I am happy today to be here. It means a lot to patients, but also it means a lot to doctors who will use this ultrasound machine.”

She continued: “Thank you in the name of the hospital, the citizens of Bijelo Polje and in my personal name. We wish you luck and prosperity in your future work.”

Phua received a gift of an official shield representing the municipality of Bijelo Polje and vowed that this would be the first of many donations made from Triton to the region.

“We hope that every year as we come back to host tournaments we can do something for your town,” Phua said. “We hope to do more in the future. I think it’s important that the money we make from poker, part of it is given back to the community, especially at the stops that we go to.”

Phua added: “The mayor has a special relationship with our company, and he requested that the hospital needed this badly. They’ve been waiting for 10 years to buy it. So why not let Triton sponsor it?”

Jason Koon and Paul Phua greet the dignitaries to the Triton High Roller Series. “I’ve played everywhere in the world, and this is the most beautiful place I’ve played,” Koon said.

In previous years, profits from the Triton Series have gone towards charitable causes in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau. Phua said that he wants to expand the reach of the charity into every community the tour now visits.


2016 – Single event in partnership with Project Pink Philippines
Tournament: HKD $100,000 Triton Charity Event
Organisation: Project Pink Philippines
Mission: A support group for breast cancer patience and their family members, raising fund and building awareness.
Triton donation: PHP 1,150,000 (approx. HKD 100,000 / USD $24,000)

2017 – Portion of the proceeds from all Triton events of 2017 awarded to charities during the Triton SHR Series Macau 2017

Lar De Nossa Senhora da Pehna – Caritas de Macau
Triton donation: HKD 1 Million

Healthy HK (Founded by Eric Tsang, Actor & Film Director; Represented by Michelle Yim, Actress)
Mission: Care for the elderly and healthcare
Triton Donation: HKD 1 million

Caring for Children Foundation
Mission: Care for children
Triton Donation: HKD 500,000

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Quek takes turbo on Triton debut, Phua and Jetten still looking

The short deck turbo at the Triton Series Montenegro lived up to its billing tonight as a field of 64 entries gathered in double-quick time and the HKD 12.032 million ($1.53 million) prize pool was all cashed out before anyone went to bed.

It also meant a first Triton title for 28-year-old Quek Sechariah Sheng, in his first tournament on the series, denying the multiple-cashing Paul Phua and Peter Jetten their first title. It must have been particularly galling for those two. They have 21 cashes between them on the Triton Series, with Phua recording his record-breaking 11th. But then in walks Quek and wins at the first time of asking, leaving the Jetten and Phua mantlepieces empty. They finished second and third, respectively.

“I’m still a little bit shaky,” Quek said after wrapping up the title in his preferred short deck variant. “That’s why this game is so good for beginners. Everybody has a chance.”

Quek Sechariah Sheng: “Everyone has a chance”

He went on to describe his job as a poker agent, arranging poker games in Bangkok, Thailand, his adopted home. He has watched short deck grow in popularity in the games he has arranged, and said that stood him in good stead. “When you watch your players every day, you learn things,” Quek said. “Some of them gave me tips.”

Phua actually probably won’t be that upset. He knows that he might have been knocked out on the bubble, but instead scored a bubble-up, and led for a long period when the tournament moved into its money stages and then when it was short-handed.

Paul Phua doubles on the bubble

By that point all of Sam and Luc Greenwood, Mike Watson, Ike Haxton, Jason Koon, Mikita Badziakouski and Tom Dwan, among others, were all already laid to waste, many of them having re-entered more than once. David “Raptor” Benefield also found his name on the list of the fallen having had his aces cracked by Daniel Dvoress to burst the bubble.

David Benefield has his eyes on the door

In fairness to Dvoress, he already had two pair with his Kc7d on a flop of 6dKh7h when the money went in and Benefield’s black aces couldn’t hit any of his six outs.

No double for Rui Cao

Last night’s champion Rui Cao went out in eighth, pocketing HKD 480,000 ($61,151), but unable to add to his trophy haul. That brought them down to the last seven and a final table, with some familiar faces around it.

Dvoress, Kenneth Kee, Wai Leong Chan, Peter Jetten and, of course, Phua have all been to at least one final table at this festival in Montenegro. Only Quek, of Singapore, was a newcomer to the deep stages of a Triton tournament, and this was his first event.

Final table players: Gabe Patgorski, Paul Phua, Peter Jetten, Daniel Dvoress, Wai Leong Chan, Sheng Sechariah Quek and Kenneth Kee

The minute the final table began, Phua found the ignition switch on his steam-roller. Dvoress, who lost a big pot to double up Jetten when JhTc beat AdQd, came out on the wrong side of his latest battle with Phua.

Dvoress hit a huge draw with 9s8s and a 9d7sTs flop. Patgorski had top and bottom pair with his Tc7h and Phua had QhJh. Dvoress got his money in then and both players called, and even though Dvoress then made his straight on the Jc turn, the 8d river made Phua his higher straight. (Patgorski folded on the turn.)

One last glance at a sick run-out for Daniel Dvoress

“The final table part feels great,” Dvoress said in his bust-out interview, but his tone revealed the truth that all the near misses continue to sting.

Although Patgorski was able to survive the hand that knocked out Dvoress, he bought himself only a temporary stay of execution. Not long later, Phua finished the job when he flopped top and bottom pair with Kc9c and Patgorski’s flush draw missed. (In fact, Phua turned a boat.)

Gabe Patgorski: Sixth this time

Phua then sent Wai Leong Chan home in fifth. This time they got it all in on a flop of 9h8c6c. “I’m ahead,” Phua said, and showed his ThQc to Chan’s JcTs (Phua had correctly called Chan’s hand). The Kc turn was blank and the Th river sealed it for Phua.

Wai Leong Chan: Fifth

Having knocked out three opponent without encountering so much as a tiny bump in the road, Quek then did what no one else could and doubled through the dominant chip leader. Quek didn’t keep hold of all the chips for long, because he then doubled up Kenneth Kee’s short stack. And then Kee doubled up through Phua. Jetten then joined the party and doubled up through Quek.

Tough times for Kenneth Kee

Though the doubling looked like it might go on forever, the short-deck gods decided to play a cruel trick on Kee. He got his last chips in, under-calling Quek’s shove, with AhQh. Quek had KdJc and Kee was looking good after the Ad6c7c flop. But then the Qc turn teased an outdraw, which the 8c river delivered. Kee took HKD $1.292 million ($167,960).

By this point, the poker room had filled with some of the world’s pre-eminent cash game stars — Tom Dwan, Timofey Kuznetzov and Dan Cates were on the sidelines, waiting to restart their high-stakes battle with Phua and friends. But the boss was still hunting a maiden Triton trophy, and those luminaries had to wait.

That wait was actually longer than everyone expected. Three-handed play was one of those passages that sometimes come around in a poker tournament where nobody seems to bust. Phua lost an enormous one to double up Jetten — Phua’s Ac7c losing to Jetten’s QhQd, for nearly 5 million chips — but then Phua doubled up twice to find a workable stack once more.

Another near miss for Paul Phua

He then flopped the nut flush with AhKh and doubled up back into the chip lead, but he gave it up again when Quek’s Qh7c hit the 7s6s7d flop and beat Phua’s tens. There was time for one more double up of ever-shortening stacks — Phua’s KcQd beating Jetten’s Ah9c — but then Quek said “I got a good feeling about this” when he had Phua under threat once again with Kc9c to Phua’s AcKs and this time the run-out favoured the big stack.

“I’ll try again,” Phua said. He wins HKD 1.7 million ($221,000) for this one.

Phua had barely departed the stage when all of the chips went in again. And the shortest heads-up battle possible — one hand — was complete when Quek’s As9c held against Jetten’s QsTs.

Peter Jetten: One-hand heads-up

Jetten said he had been looking forward to playing heads up, but with the clock ticking past 4am, he will probably settle for HKD 2.5 million ($325,000) and a chance to sleep while it’s still dark.

One suspects Quek will be up for quite some time — and will be joining those games he arranges a bit more regularly now.

A towelling down for a triumphant Sechariah Sheng

Event #7 Short Deck
Date: May 14, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 200,000 ($25,000)
Entries: 64 (inc. 28 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 12.032 million ($1.533 million)

1st: Quek Sechariah Sheng – HKD 3,700,000 ($481,000)
2nd: Petter Jetten, Canada – HKD 2,500,000 ($325,000)
3rd: Paul Phua, Malaysia – HKD 1,700,000 ($221,000)
4th: Kenneth Kee, Singapore – HKD 1,292,000 ($167,960)
​5th: Chan Wai Leong, Malaysia – HKD 980,000 ($127,400)
6th: Gabe Patgorski, USA – HKD 770,000 ($100,100)
7th: Daniel Dvoress, Canada – HKD 610,000 ($79,300)
8th: Rui Cao, France – HKD 480,000 ($62,400)

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Chow makes chops of Lamb, wins PLO’s Triton debut

The Triton High Roller Series introduced pot-limit Omaha to its roster of games here in Montenegro this week, and the event’s 22 players produced the kind of tournament that will have cheerleaders of the four-card game singing its praises while detractors will still yearn for much shorter decks.

It was gritty, it was tactical and it dragged on in places. But it also featured some spectacular pots and crowned a very fitting champion: Malaysia’s Hing Yaung Chow, who applied himself to his task with extraordinary patience and daring. He rose from the middle of the pack overnight to beat two-time WSOP November Niner and all-games wizard Ben Lamb heads up and claim his first Triton title, worth HKD 2,640,000 ($343,200).

Lamb had seemed set for this one right from the off, when he dominated proceedings on the opening day and bagged the overnight lead. But Chow set to his task and overcame multiple setbacks when opponents doubled through him today. He simply then re-focused and ground away again until finally, at the end of an eight-and-a-half hour final, he had all the chips. It was his first outright tournament win from his third Triton final table.

Hing Yaung Chow: Winner!

The final hand played out between two super short-stacked heads-up opponents, the result of levels escalating as everyone clung on to life. In the end, Lamb’s 3cQdQh6h couldn’t hold against Chow’s Ts9s4dKd when they got their last 20 or so blinds in on the 8dJh2d flop.

Champion Hing Yaung Chow

Chow rivered a straight and all the Malaysians in the room, who had poured over to watch his winning moment, erupted in jubilation. They then hung around for Chow’s winner’s photo too.

“I’m very happy,” Chow said, adding that it meant a lot to his countrymen here in Montenegro. “First trophy of all the Malaysian players.”

Final table players (standing l-r): Wai Leong Chan, Henrik Hecklen, Mike Watson, Isaac Haxton; (sitting l-r): Ben Lamb, Robert Flink, Viacheslav Osipov, Hing Yaung Chow, Gabe Patgorski

Nine players made it through the opening day, but the bubble was still some way off when they came back this afternoon. The final featured some of the game’s very best alongside those for whom PLO is far from their preferred game. The viewers on the live stream were also intrigued by the four-card variant; hold’em tends to rule supreme.

Mike Watson’s elimination in ninth offered the kind of evidence a few short-deck regulars might need to be convinced of the merits of PLO. On a flop of Ac6cKd, Watson’s AhKcKs6d had middle set and a couple more pairs for good measure, but he was still only a 60 percent favourite over Henrik Hecklen’s JcTcXh6s. Hecklen’s flush draw seemed the most likely method for him to win the pot, but he ended up doing it an even harder way, hitting the Qh on the river for a straight. Goodbye SirWatts.

Mike Watson: First out today

Short-deck specialist Gabe Patgorski was next to leave, still short of the money, but his elimination will make sense even to hold’em-only fans. Patgorski four-bet pushed with AhKhKs4c into Ben Lamb’s AcAs9s5s. That was kings into aces, Omaha style, and the aces held.

Gabe Patgorski: Kings < Aces

Chow’s charge now began in earnest, when he sent Swedish online cash-game beast Robert Flink out in seventh. This one played tricky through the pre-flop and flop betting rounds, but by the time there were four cards on the board — Qd7sTs2d — Flink had two pair and a couple of big draws with AsTc3s2s, while Chow had similar, with AcQs4s2c, but did not want the draws to hit. The 8c river was the blank Chow was looking for and Flink was mincemeat.

Robert Flink: Flicked

With six left and five due to be paid, the action was necessarily circumspect. But the period of tension ended with another pair of aces being cracked, this time Chow flopping a set of eights with his AdTd8d8c and getting it in on a flop of 3c4h8s, with Haxton admitting “That’s not what I wanted to see.” Haxton needed to hit running cards or one out with his AcAs7c4d. He missed. Haxton took the edge off busting the wrong side of a HKD 660,000 ($85,800) bubble by hopping immediately into the HKD 200,000 short deck.

Isaac Haxton: Aces cracked Pt I

Five became four when Wai Leong Chan became the second player in succession to bust with aces, and his were the most emphatically cracked. Although he only had 830,000 chips, he was a two-to-one pre-flop favourite to double with AcAhQd4h against Lamb’s KcKh9d7d. However the dealer put the KdKsJd flop out there, and Lamb’s kings slaughtered Chan.

Wai Leong Chan: Aces no good Pt II

Within half an hour, we were another man down as Hecklen’s tournament came to its conclusion. Hecklen picked up his first Triton cash on this stop in Montenegro, and made it nothing less than a first-place finish in the hastily arranged Event #12. His second in-the-money finish was worth “only” HKD 820,000 ($106,600), however, and he had his own tale of a big hand cracked.

Hecklen had KcKd9s7c when he was all in for his last seven blinds. Chow’s QsQdTc5c was a significant dog, and didn’t improve much on flop or turn. But a third queen fell on the river consolidating his chip lead and eliminating Hecklen.

Henrik Hecklen’s second title bid ends

Chow had a significant chip lead when three-handed play started. His 64 big blinds were more than double what Osipov (15 BBs) and Lamb (13 BBs) had combined. Lamb, however, doubled up to move back into contention, and he then knocked out Osipov in third.

Osipov got his chips in good, sitting with AdJh9d8h and the flop of Ah4sQh on the table. But Lamb had loads of outs with his 7h5c4d3d and the 2s turn was one of them. Lamb’s straight held as Osipov whiffed his river outs. Osipov had only one previous cash on his Hendon Mob page, from a €1,000 buy-in event more than 10 years ago. But this third place was worth HKD 1.13 million ($146,900).

Viacheslav Osipov’s game is up in third

There was only around 50 blinds between them when Lamb and Chow went heads up. Lamb had the lead, but Chow’s relentless aggression put him into a two-to-one lead when the first opportunity to end it came along. Chow flopped a set with 8d8cJd9h, but Lamb flopped a bigger one with QsKsKdTd. That put Lamb back ahead.

Heads up between Ben Lamb and Hing Yaung Chow

But once again, Chow chipped back up and re-took the lead. Lamb has played PLO across the world, in some of the biggest games, but rarely will he have come up against such a force. True to form, the last hand involved a big pair cracked — that’s Omaha — but few will deny Chow this title. Lamb had to make do with HKD 1.706 million ($221,780).

Ben Lamb done in second

Event #8: Pot Limit Omaha
Dates: May 11-12, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 200,000 ($25,500)
Entries: 37 (inc. 15 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 6,956,000 ($886,347)

1st – Hing Yaung Chow, Malaysia, HKD 2,640,000 ($343,200)
2nd – Ben Lamb, USA, HKD 1,706,000 ($221,780)
3rd – Viacheslav Osipov, Russia – HKD 1,130,000 ($146,900)
4th – Henrik Hecklen, Denmark – HKD 820,000 ($106,600)
5th – Wai Leong Chan, Malaysia – HKD 660,000 ($85,800)

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.

Lamb leads slaughter in Triton’s PLO debut

The first Pot Limit Omaha tournament ever to be played on the Triton Super High Roller Series kicked off in Montenegro today, with 22 players finding the HKD $200,000 ($25,500) buy-in, and those players adding 15 re-entries too.

That meant a total prize pool of HKD 6.956 million ($886,347), with HKD 2.64 million ($343,200) for the winner. Five places will be paid.

When Day 1 came to a conclusion after 11 levels, the the two-time WSOP final table player Ben Lamb was leading the way with a stack of 1.727 million. Lamb rocketed into the lead during the earliest exchanges of the day, becoming the first man through 1 million and the first man through 2 million too. He was never under much threat, even though Gabe Patgorski’s late double up nibbled a few hundred thousand from him.

Meanwhile Hing Yaung Chow, Wai Leong Chan and late entrant Viacheslav Osipov enjoyed late surges up the leader board. All finished within a few blinds of Lamb.

Wai Leong Chan: Second of nine

Osipov knocked out Michael Soyza, and also took a huge pot from Luc Greenwood in the penultimate level of the day. Meanwhile Chan took care of the other Greenwood, Sam, and Chow finished the job on Luc to end the night. Chan has 1.597 million, Chow has 1.575 million and Osipov has 1.528 million.

Newcomer Viacheslav Osipov

The day ended with nine players, but they’re still all very deep stacked. The average will be 62 big blinds when they return for Day 2 at noon tomorrow, and no one is guaranteed a place in the money. We will have the thrill of an $85,000 bubble to kick us off.

Here are the full chip counts for the remaining players, in order of their seating assignments for tomorrow. The payout schedule follows.

Seat 1: Wai Leong Chan, Malaysia – 1,597,000
Seat 2: Henrik Hecklen, Denmank – 1,040,000
Seat 3: Ben Lamb, USA – 1,727,000
Seat 5: Robert Flink, Sweden – 965,000
Seat 6: Viacheslav Osipov, Russia – 1,528,000
Seat 7: Hing Yaung Chow, Malaysia – 1,575,000
Seat 8: Gabe Patgorski, USA – 1,024,000
Seat 9: Isaac Haxton, USA – 938,000
Seat 10: Mike Watson, Canada – 706,000

Event #8: Pot Limit Omaha
Dates: May 11-12, 2019
Buy-in: HKD 200,000 ($25,500)
Entries: 37 (inc. 15 re-entries)
Prize pool: HKD 6,956,000 ($886,347)

1st – HKD 2,640,000 ($343,200)
2nd – HKD 1,706,000 ($221,780)
3rd – HKD 1,130,000 ($146,900)
4th – HKD 820,000 ($106,600)
5th – HKD 660,000 ($85,800)

Photography by Joe Giron/


12BET is an online betting company specializing in sports betting and casino products. 12Bet became operational in 2007, quickly becoming one of the most popular online betting options throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world’s largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.