A round-up of the first day of action at the Triton Poker Series Jeju warm-up event, the HKD 100,000 Short-Deck, Ante Only that saw only four people remain at the end of Day 1A.
I once boarded a flight to Scotland when I was heading to Wales.
I nearly missed a flight when I lost track of time, working in a coffee shop in the airport lounge in Barcelona.
And, now, standing in front of an elevator that never seems to stop at my level, or when it does, it’s full of people who don’t want to leave, I have to consider a previously unthought of way of missing my flight.
I am in Gimpo International Airport trying to get to Jeju for the Triton Poker Series, and I am about to lose my shit.
I don’t know what it is about Koreans and elevators.
We’re not even talking about politeness; it’s plain common sense.
When the doors open, and you can’t squeeze a munchkin in the space that remains, you don’t try to walk in until someone walks out. And there is an unspoken code of conduct that I thought was global, in that the first person in the queue gets to enter first.
I’m standing here with two suitcases, a two-year-old strapped to my back, and a downturned set of lips strapped to my front, and people barge past me as if they’re running away from a poltergeist.
And the lifts keep coming.
I feel like Clark Griswald unable to get off the London roundabout.
“Kids, Big Ben, Parliament.”
When I do finally arrive at the Landing Casino in Jeju, things are very different. I am greeted by men and women who bow and remove all the concerns I have in the world.
“Where are the restrooms?”
I little man scurries ahead to show me the way.
And it’s for these reasons that Triton bring their superstars to these places.
Moments of Truth.
The little things matter the most.
First impressions last.
You get my point.
There is a vastness to this place only equalled by the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas; only this one is more on the rich side. I leave the suitcases, the baby and the miserable mush in the room. I find a Starbucks and begin working. I’m in love. They may look at me like I’m spouting the reality of Scientology when I ask for a decaffeinated cafe latte with soy milk (do not live in Korea if you are vegan or lactose intolerant), but it’s the only coffee shop on the planet with the perfectly poised ergonomically sound table and chair set-up.
I see Lex Veldhuis, striding down the hallway with his girlfriend. Veldhuis is co-commentating with Randy Lew. Let’s hope the Dutchman’s stay is as fruitful as Lew’s co-commentator at the Triton Series Montenegro when Kane Kalas found time to compete in the million dollar buy-in cash game and won a two million dollar pot.
The casino is beautiful.
I find it quite comical that Korean nationals aren’t allowed to gamble, considering the amount of sugar the air hostesses were trying to ram down my daughter’s throat on the plane. Another classic example of societal rule hypocrisy you see all over the world.
Diabetes = tick.
Gambling = the devil’s spunk.
The poker room is a palatial cavern. I feel like I am in the era of Julius Caesar, with drapes that reach the stars, and the words Triton Poker Where High Stakes Dreams Are Dealt written in bold around the room, above the heads of Titans like Phil Ivey, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates and John Juanda.
I see Patrik Antonius’s assistant.
I don’t see Patrik.
“He’s in Vegas, but he will be here,” his assistant tells me before showing me another Instagram photo of the Jungleman sleeping at the table to the Puff The Magic Dragon soundtrack.
I take my seat, underneath the full blow of the air con, and get to work.
Day 1A: Triton Poker Series, Jeju
In Montenegro, Antonius asked me what the buy-in was for the Short-Deck event. By this time, the only game remaining was the HKD 1m event.
“I know, it’s a little steep,” I told him.
“Is there a lower buy-in than HKD 1m?” He replied.
Not everyone thinks as Antonius thinks. The organisers added an HKD 100,000 (USD 12,500) buy-in event to the roster, hoping to entice the Western No-Limit Hold’em regs who refused to venture into deeper waters during our last visit to the Adriatic Coast.
Only one player obliged.
The Global Poker Index (GPI) #1, Stephen Chidwick, arrived in Level 3 and promptly took a bullet from the revolver of the Triton Series Montenegro Main Event winner, Mikita Badziakouski, when his AKs beat JTs all-in, pre-flop.
“I’ve been getting lucky,” Chidwick later told me in the break, after taking the chip lead during a hand that saw his KK beat the AK of Ben Lamb and the 87s of Wai Kin Yong.
It’s a chip lead that didn’t last long.
They rarely do in these types of games.
Ben Lamb had a particularly frustrating day. The former World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year (POY) was one of two players to show up on time (Badziakouski, the other), and then promptly sat around for a full level waiting for a third player to arrive so the game could begin.
Lamb then lost repeated all-in, pre-flop situations (AQ>KQ, AQ>KK, and JJ>AQ a sample size), firing multiple bullets before eventually calling it quits, vowing to return for another shot on Day 1B.
The two-time Triton champ, Wai Kin Yong, took the chip lead for a short while after his AA beat the 97o and 98s of Gabe Patgorski and Wai Long Chan, but the star of the show would turn out to be Chow Hing Yaung who hoovered up chips like the best Dyson in the business.
With time running out, and Chow looking sluggish with a belly full of chips, Alan Sass took over to clean house with the clock running dry. The high stakes cash game ace, took out Lamb QJs>KQo, Chidwick AK>AQ, and Badziakouski AJ>KJ leaving only four of nineteen left at the end of a typical typhoon like Short-Deck, Ante-Only session.
1. Chow Hing Yaung – 1,953,000
2. Alan Sass – 1,879,000
3. Gabe Patgorski – 962,000
4. Kenneth Kee – 904,000
The action continues at Day 1B, 4 pm, assuming the players can get out of the elevators.