A round-up of the action on Day 2 of the Triton Poker Series at the Maestral Casino in Montenegro including Phil Ivey beating Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates, heads-up, to win the first Short-Deck Ante-Only live tournament.
It’s quiet out on the balcony, first thing in the morning. It’s me and the woman in red blood lipstick, white rag in hand, wiping windows so hard she will soon become one with the sheen. An orange truck passes in the distance, the clouds claw at the mountains, and the white rush of the waves crash against stone as a Winged Victory For The Sullen plays a violin in my ear.
And yet, at 6 am, if I were to walk upstairs, and open THE door, the riffle of chips would deafen me.
I arrived in Montenegro for the Triton Poker Series on Friday 11 May. I will clammer onto my jet plane on Monday 21. Only then will the action end. There will always be a dealer; always chips. There has to be a deck of cards minus the 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s.
There are always players.
You don’t get to see Tom Dwan often. I understand why. The man, the myth, the legend, splits his time between sleep and poker. A little birdie tells me that while most of us are trying to sneak in six or seven hours a night, Dwan is out like a light for 20+ hours. Cheap dreams invade the grey, and then it’s up for another 30+ session.
The man is a machine.
I hope there is some purpose in sight.
Otherwise, what’s the point.
Who is keeping score?
How do you win in this never-ending game?
Two men who have spent more than enough time sitting next to Dwan in the biggest cash games in the world are Phil Ivey and Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates. Not, today. Today, the pair locked horns in the heads-up phase of the HKD 250,000 (USD 32,000) No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck Ante-Only.
Cates held a 4:1 chip lead against the man.
Ivey still won as you would expect Ivey to win.
He won his first live poker tournament 20-years ago, and here he is in the middle of nowhere doing it all again. The logo of Virtue Poker emblazoned on his black t-shirt signifying the potential of a new beginning.
You don’t hear much chatter between this pair when they play. Not even a shake of hands at the end. I think that has more to do with the annoyance Cates felt surging through his veins after misplaying his final hand.
A crew member asked me how these players reconciled the emotional baggage that comes with losing significant sums of money. I explained how most lay in bed, next to the sound of the dripping sink, punching the ceiling with anger because they had made a mistake, and not because they had lost money.
During dinner, Cates joined my family and I. I couldn’t get two words out of him as he punched digits into his phone to ascertain how miserable his mistake was in a final hand that went a little something like this:
Ivey raised to 700,000 holding Qjcc, and Cates called holding A7dd. The flop came down KdJsTd and both players checked. The turn brought the 9s sneaking out of the deck. Cates checked Ivey bet 1m, and Cates moved all-in for 6.35m. Ivey called. The 6c hit Cates like a brick in the face.
“It was a mistake,” said Cates, a stray cat curled up in his lap giving him some much-needed love.
The event attracted 61-entrants.
Final Table Results
1. Phil Ivey – $604,977
2. Dan Cates – $407,505
3. Gabe Patgorski – $246,745
4. Jason Koon – $169,932
5. Furkat Rakhimov – $116,939
6. Ivan Leow – $87,768
7. Alan Sass – $71,336
8. Wai Kin Yong – $62,164
9. Mikhail Smirnov – $60,523
Christian Christner Leads The Six-Max
To give you a glimpse of how popular the cash games are in Montenegro, consider that Event #2: HKD 250,000 (USD 32,000) No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max contained fewer players than were seated in the cash game area.
28 entrants by the close of play.
Christian Christner leads.
Here are the top five chip counts.
1. Christian Christner – 193,900
2. Chan Wei Long – 189,300
3. Isaac Haxton – 171,600
4. Beh Kok Weng – 147,900
5. Stephen Chidwick – 106,800
So that’s it for another brief round-up from the Triton Poker Series live from the Maestral Casino in Montenegro. As the clouds reach the sea, and artificial light springs out from above. A little kid dressed in red, a dummy stuck in his gob, walks up to the woman, still wiping the windows. He offers a smile, before spreading his Nutella stained hands all over her work.
I hope the red blood remains on her lips.