Champion Quan Zhou!

The final Saturday of the Triton Super High Roller Series festival in Jeju, South Korea, started with the search for Quan Zhou. It ended with the Chinese player in the most prominent place of all: holding aloft his first Triton winner’s trophy.

Zhou was the overnight chip leader of the $25K Pot Limit Omaha event here at the Jeju Shinhwa World Landing Resort, but was late to arrive to the tournament room for the 1pm restart of the event. It meant Zhou was missing from the customary pre-final table line-up photo.

But no matter. Zhou set about his task today with customary focus and ensured that he was present for the most important photos of the day. Those were the ones featuring Zhou alone, alongside his winner’s cap, winning hand, winning chips and that trophy. The $530,000 first prize is also now into his Triton account.

This 39-year-old has come close to a Triton victory before, most notably when he was beaten heads-up in a PLO event in Monte Carlo last year. But this time he was not to be denied and blazed through the final day in a little more than four hours.

He despatched his final challenger, Canada’s Matthew Wood, on the first hand of head-up play. It ensured his first cash in Jeju came with a “1st place” notice beside it. He has staked a real claim as the man to beat in these PLO events, and confirmed that he’s here to stay.

“I’m very happy with the win,” Zhou said, through an interpreter, as he began his celebrations. “I have been looking forward to this title because there are a lot of strong competitors on the Triton Series.”

He added: “I played a lot of the no limit events and didn’t cash, so there was a bit of pressure on me. But fortunately I have a lot of support from friends that keeps me going. Some of my friends came here to support me. Winning this title has helped me to relieve the pressure. It’s a confidence boost.”

Quan Zhou, with Triton CEO Andy Wong and Carla Florendo, Triton Group Director, Events & VIP


When this tournament returned for its second day, the bubble was burst and only seven players remained. From 80 entries, the top 13 earned a payday, but Kosei Ichinose’s elimination in 15th came one spot too soon for him.

It was a steady decline for the Japanese pro, dwindling gradually to the bubble rather than collapsing dramatically in a heap. Ichinose had only about four big blinds at the end and got his chips in with 7sAcKh5h. It was not good enough to beat Matthew Wood’s As4c9cQh, which made a straight.

The tournament played on long enough for six more players to bust, including Fedor Holz, who was knocked out in eighth. It left us with a final table of seven on the last day, which lined up as follows:

Quan Zhou – 2,995,000 (60 BBs)
Joao Vieira – 2,855,000 (57 BBs)
Matthew Wood – 2,805,000 (56 BBs)
Laszlo Bujtas – 2,780,000 (56 BBs)
Nacho Barbero – 2,580,000 (52 BBs)
Klemens Roiter – 1,220,000 (24 BBs)
Ole Schemion – 770,000 (15 BBs)

Triton Jeju Event 12 final table (l-r): Matthew Wood, Ole Schemion, Klemens Roiter, Nacho Barbero, Laszlo Bujtas, Joao Vieira. (Quan Zhou absent.)
Seven-handed action gets started in the PLO, Zhou now present

Resplendent in the chip lead, Zhou was late to the start and resultantly missed the group shot. But he quickly settled down to his game as the action kicked off.

As can often be the case with PLO, there were no immediate, life-changing skirmishes. Chips shifted positions for a couple of hours before any player was forced out the door. When the time did eventually come for the cashier’s desk to snap into action, they were looking for $95,000 to hand to Ole Schemion.

The German star — as accomplished in mixed games as he is in hold’em — couldn’t spin up his short stack on the last day. His war of attrition ended essentially in two hands: one in which he defended his big blind to Zhou’s open, before having to fold after the flop. And then Matthew Wood managed to make a straight with 7h6d5s8h to beat Schemion’s JdJcKhAc.

Ole Schemion couldn’t move up the ranks with an overnight short stack

At that point, Wood had also been a short stack but he essentially doubled up in eliminating Schemion and he doubled again soon after through Joao Vieira. That left Nacho Barbero and Laszlo Bujtas in most danger, and it was Bujtas who next took the walk.

Although his lone Triton title came in hold’em, Bujtas forged his reputation as the online beast “omaha4rollz”, and the four-card game is his true speciality. This tournament, however, ended in sixth.

In a pot against Zhou, Bujtas shoved the flop of 8cKcAh, after Zhou’s bet. Bujtas had As9h8h7h, but Zhou’s Td9c6d4c ended with a flush after the 3d turn and 3c river.

Bujtas won $120,000.

Omaha specialist Laszlo Bujtas again in the money

Zhou was back in the ascendancy and Barbero was next in his sights. By the Argentinian’s previous standards at the Triton Poker Series, this trip to Jeju has been fallow. But here he was again at another final table, the eighth of his career–even if the run would come to a halt in fifth place.

Barbero three-bet jammed for about five big blinds with AsJsJh6h. Zhou called with AdKs9c7c and once again made a flush when the board ran 3cTcAc5c.

Barbero’s first cash in Jeju earned him $154,000.

Nacho Barbero got his Jeju trip moving in the right direction

With only four players left, the average stack was 20 big blinds and the chip leader had only 28. That was Zhou, but nobody was more than a single double up away from being in the top two.

It was in the search of one of those double ups that Klemens Roiter ended on the rail. The Austrian was very well equipped to vault into the lead when he put in a pre-flop three-bet holding AcAsJc9s. Zhou called.

Zhou called. The flop came TsTd3d and Roiter shoved it in. However, Zhou had KsTh7dQs and filled up by the time the Jd turn and 7c river was on the table.

Roiter has cashed the last two events he has played on his first trip to the Triton Series. This fourth place came with a $191,000 prize.

Klemens Roiter slammed into unbeatable Zhou

Zhou now had a comfortable lead over his remaining two opponents, and it was simply a case of which of Vieira or Wood who could peg him back. Wood was the shorter stack but ended up doubling it through Vieira, which left Portugal’s finest on the ropes.

Zhou was of course waiting in the wings to apply the finishing touch. Vieira opened, Zhou three-bet, Vieira four-bet jammed and Zhou called, with Vieira tabling AsQsJd6d. Zhou had QcQd9d4h and it ended up being his raggy low cards that most connected with the 9sJs4c7c4d board.

That was a boat for Zhou and Vieira was eliminated, taking $244,000 for third.

Joao Vieira is in a fine run of form

Wood now faced an extraordinary uphill task. Zhou had a seven-to-one chip lead, with 35 big blinds playing 5. The tournament officials went through the motions of resetting the table in preparation for the duel, even though the chances of a one-hand wonder were high.

And that’s what we got. Wood got his chips in with JhJc7h8d and Zhou called with AcTd9c3d. As usual, Zhou flopped very well — 8cAsQc — and the Kc left Wood drawing dead.

Matthew Wood has cashed all three Triton events he has played

Wood has only played three events on the Triton Series and has cashed all of them. This was his best yet, worth $370,000. But even he could do nothing to halt this typhoon. It was Zhou’s day.

Celebrations begin for Quan Zhou

Event #12 – $25K POT LIMIT OMAHA
Dates: March 15-16, 2024
Entries: 89 (inc. 34 re-entries)
Prize pool: $2,000,000

1 – Quan Zhou, China – $530,000
2 – Matthew Wood, Canada – $370,000
3 – Joao Vieira, Portugal – $244,000
4 – Klemens Roiter, Austria – $191,000
5 – Nacho Barbero, Argentina – $154,000
6 – Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary – $120,000
7 – Ole Schemion, Germany – $95,000
8 – Fedor Holz, Germany – $74,000
9 – Sergio Martinez, Spain – $56,000
10 – Henrik Hecklen, Denmark – $43,000
11 – Jared Bleznick, USA – $43,000
12 – Isaac Haxton, USA – $40,000
13 – Joao Estanislau, Portugal – $40,000

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive