Ben Tollerene, champion on only his second Triton Series outing!

Another intriguing tournament on the Triton Super High Roller Series concluded in Northern Cyprus tonight with a heads-up battle between two Triton newcomers and another masterclass in short-stack play.

The trend during recent tournaments on this series is for huge-field events to become very shallow-stacked during the closing stages, with an assortment of GTO masters demonstrating a computer-like grasp of ICM considerations too.

This latest example came in the $30,000 buy-in Event #2, where the final three players from a 123-entry field were Stephen Chidwick, Yuri Dzivelevski and Ben Tollerene. The former of those is a Triton veteran, but he perished in third, leaving Tollerene and Dzivelevski heads-up to decide who took a maiden title in what was only a second Triton tournament for both of them.

They chopped it heads up, based on chip stacks at the time, securing Tollerene at least $777,927 and Dzivelevski at least $749,073. But with $30,000 left on the side to play for, the winner would also take the most money, alongside the Shamballa Jewels bracelet, the trophy and the bragging rights.

Luca Vivaldi oversees the deal between Yuri Dzivelevski and Ben Tollerene

After a short battle, and a couple of pendulum swings, it was Tollerene who ended up taking all of that swag, notching his first Triton title and keeping Brazil waiting for its first. Tollerene, a good friend of the Triton Ambassador Jason Koon, was happy that his buddy had finally persuaded him to come along.

“I’m very tired,” Tollerene said in his winner’s interview. “I was sort of stressed because I haven’t played poker in a while and I was struggling to remember everything.”

But he certain got back into the swing pretty easily, and his $807,000 score is a nice way to start your Triton career.


After a prolonged bubble period last night, 17 players returned today safely in the money, but with a long way still to go until the six-handed final table. Some of those at the top of the overnight counts couldn’t make it through, but others went in the opposite direction. Both Tollerene and Dzivelevski, for instance, had been in the bottom half of the counts overnight, but took their place at the final less than 14 hours later.

The overnight leader was Viktor Kudinov, who prospered especially on the bubble by making a huge call for his tournament life against Tollerene. But it was Kudinov’s departure in seventh, losing a race with AcKc to Dzivelevski’s JhJd that turned the unofficial to the official final.

Event 2 final seven (l-r): Yuri Dzivelevski, Viktor Kudinov, Alex Keating, Ben Tollerene, Fedor Holz, Stephen Chidwick, Ignacio Moron Chavero

Here’s how they lined up with six left, all peering up at Dzivelevski, but with not much between them.

Yuri Dzivelevski – 5.4 million
Fedor Holz – 4.825 million
Ignacio Moron Chavero – 4.625 million
Ben Tollerene – 3.725 million
Stephen Chidwick – 3.425 million
Alex Keating – 2.6 million

This then turned into one of those final tables that could have been over in the blink of an eye but somehow transpired to take far longer. It was because of a number of double-ups with six players still involved.

All of Alex Keating, Chidwick and Ignacio Moron Chavero managed to get their chips in good and stick around, even as the stacks went through their familiar shallowing. We were even looking like getting to a stage of play where there would be 60 big blinds between six players, but then the dam broke.

Chavero, another player making his Triton debut in Cyprus, picked up his first cash in this, his second event, but ultimately he wasn’t able to spin it up into a win. He became the first elimination from the final losing with Kh9c to Dzivelevski’s QsTc. A ten fell on the river, and Chavero earned $215,000 for sixth place.

Ignacio Moron Chavero: First cash for newcomer from Spain

As ever, viewers on the Triton live stream had been enjoying watching these elite talents do battle with one another, but one personal battle had been getting them especially excited. Holz was sitting to the right of Chidwick, and two of the modern game’s great starers had been giving each other eyes from close quarters. It helped, of course, that they were also playing perfect poker, three-betting when they had to, and folding losers when that was required.

Unfortunately even great talents like this couldn’t do much with stacks so short, and this particular sub-plot ended when Holz busted to Tollerene. Holz raised from his stack of abut six big blinds with KhJd. Tollerene defended his big blind with KdQs and flopped top-pair queens.

Holz jammed with a backdoor flush draw and one overcard, but the board bricked out and Tollerene’s hand held. Holz looked amazed to be out, but he’ll take $272,300 and almost certainly reinvest it in the next tournament on the schedule.

An eyeball-popping elimination for Fedor Holz

That left four players, three of whom had not been to any previous Triton events. But all of them were making the right moves at the right time, including Keating, who just happened to be the next man out. Keating’s stack kept dipping then doubling, dipping then doubling, but then he lost what turned out to a decisive pot against Tollerene when Keating shoved the button and ran into a hand.

Keating had Kc2c and Tollerene had AsTd. They both flopped a pair, but aces are always bigger than deuces. Keating finally perished two hands later with Kh6d to Dzivelevski’s Ah6h, but he only had one big blind. Keating won $337,500.

A battling Alex Keating says goodbye

The next man out was Chidwick, the current leader of the Triton Player of the Year race, who had had such an incredible run in Madrid earlier this summer. Chidwick’s push to this final table proved again that he has lost none of his appetite, and he took another $408,000 for his third place here.

Chidwick had tormented everyone when he had a big stack, but was forced to pick his spots with care, like everyone else, once those stacks grew shorter. He actually found what looked like a perfect moment to force through a bluff — he had Jh8s looking at a flop of Qd9h4h — but Dzivelevski made a good read to pick him off with ace-high.

Stephen Chidwick dazzling with his Jacob & Co watch

Chidwick still has his Main Event winner’s watch glinting under the studio lights, even though he’s not going to win them all.

With just two of them left, they quickly decided to do a chip-chop. Tollerene had the slightly bigger stack and took the bigger share, and there was every indication immediately that the two of them were prepared to embrace the volatility of this heads-up battle.

Dzivelevski scored a massive double up with QsJs beating Tollerene’s Qd5c. But then Tollerene managed to battle back into it, and secured a double up of his own with KhQd beating Ah7s.

Yuri Dzivielevski settles for second

The final hand was a cracker, playing through all the streets, with Tollerene limping from the small blind, setting a trap with AsQc. Dzivelevski checked his option with Qh8h. The flop was 6sQd2h, giving both top pair. Tollerene bet, Dzivelevski raised and Tollerene called.

Then the turn was what Dzivelevski must have considered the gin card. It was the 8d. It went bet, raise, call again, with the Brazilian hoping for a double up. However the Ac river gave Tollerene a better two pair, and that’s where the rest of the chips went in. Tollerene was the champion.

Koon gave him a huge hug and Tollerene looked a little shell-shocked that his return to poker after his extended break could be so successful so quickly. And the series is barely started yet…

Jason Koon persuaded his friend Tollerene to come to the Triton Series

Event 2: $30,000 NLH – 6 – Handed
Dates: September 6-7, 2022
Entries: 123 (inc. 46 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,698,100

1 – Ben Tollerene, USA – $807,927*
2 – Yuri Dzivelevski, Brazil – $749,073*
3 – Stephen Chidwick, UK – $408,000
4 – Alex Keating, USA – $337,500
5 – Fedor Holz, Germany – $272,300
6 – Ignacio Moron Chavero, Spain – $215,000

7 – Viktor Kudinov, Russia – $164,000
8 – Wai Kin Yong, Malaysia – $123,500
9 – Sam Greenwood, Canada – $92,100
10 – Kannapong Thanarattrakul, Thailand – $75,000
11 – Razavi Melika, Iran – $75,000
12 – Jason Koon, USA – $66,400
13 – Artur Martirosyan, Russia – $66,400
14 – Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon – $60,900
15 – Espen Jorstad, Norway – $60,900
16 – Pedro Garagnani, Brazil – $58,000
17 – Paul Phua, Malaysia – $58,000

*denotes heads-up deal

Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive