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.

NameCountryChipsSeat
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/www.pokerphotoarchive.com

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