The sudden passing of Ivan Leow last year affected the Triton family deeply. He was not only a tremendous player but a great friend to everyone involved in the tour.
In the months since Leow’s death, conversation turned to the subject of remembering him. The Triton family quickly decided to rename the Player of the Year race in his honour.
From this event in Vietnam onwards, Triton players now compete in the Ivan Leow Player of the Year Award. The format is the same, but it means that Leow’s memory lives large in everyone’s minds as they continue to do what everyone on the tour does best: play elite-level high stakes poker.
“This is a chance for us to recognise the immense contribution Ivan made to the poker community and to express our profound admiration for the way he has inspired us all,” said Andy Wong CEO of Triton Poker.
“Ivan was an inspiring poker player and a respected member of the Triton family. His legacy and impact on the poker world will live on forever. He was consistent and impressive at every game he played. His commitment to the growth and development of the poker community stands firm as we all strive to keep his legacy alive.”
A $200K FREEROLL
Triton players are already among the most motivated on the planet, but the Player of the Year race offers further incentives not only to play all the events, but to play them from the start.
Players accumulate POY points throughout the entire Triton season, with high-ranking tournament finishes accumulating the most points. The bigger the buy-in and the field, the more points there are on offer.
There are additional points available for being seated at the tournament’s start, as well as for subsequent re-entries. It rewards consistency and commitment — something the game’s elite pros display most brilliantly.
And it’s worth it. The official Player of the Year, after all the calculations are done, will get $200,000. That’s free money, no strings attached.
PRESTIGE AND REWARD
Winning a tournament on the Triton Series is not at all easy to do. But there are at least 10 events at most stops, so the roll call of winners necessarily grows at every destination. It can be difficult to keep track of who is winning what.
The Player of the Year, however, offers the chance to create a more lasting legacy.
“Tournaments are so short term, ephemeral, so to have this year-long thing with the tracking of results, to have this accumulation through the whole year of Triton Poker, it’s fun,” said Sam Greenwood, a challenger for the inaugural Ivan Leow trophy.
He continued: “I think it’s something nice to do. Tournaments just evaporate. If you ask someone who won this or that tournament, nobody will remember. But it good to build to something bigger.”
And the $200K bonus money is not to be sniffed at. Although we can grow immune to dizzying sums on the Triton Series, many players will have staking deals and arrangements that mean they are paying and winning less than the advertised figures.
However, depending on what has been arranged, a $200K bonus might sit apart from any existing financial agreement and become a welcome gross boost to the bottom line.
COMPETITION HOTTING UP
The first qualifying event for the Player of the Year award took place in Madrid last year, and players also accumulated points a couple of months later in Cyprus.
Stephen Chidwick was named player of the festival in Spain, with Greenwood taking that accolade at the following stop. The pair occupied the top two slots in the overall standings coming to Vietnam, but strong early showings at Hoiana from Seth Davies brought him into second place, separating Chidwick and Greenwood.
Davies made the final table in both Event 1 and 2 in Vietnam, pushing his overall points score to 1,696. That’s ahead of Greenwood’s 1,652 but still short of Chidwick’s 2,013.
They are putting some clear light between them and Jason Koon, who sits in fourth with 1,474.
None of the leading three cashed Event #3 in Vietnam, but they were all in the money in Event 5.
With plenty of this festival in Vietnam still to run, and Triton likely to announce new stops soon, the interest in the Player of the Year race will only grow.
Whoever takes down the Ivan Leow trophy for the first time will do the Malaysian great’s memory proud.
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive