The Triton Poker Series Main Event in Jeju, South Korea, has reached the final table, and Mikita Badziakouski is in with a shout of winning back-to-back Triton Main Event titles, and with it, more than $5m in prize money.
I’ve spent all week asking the world’s greatest poker players to describe the state of flow. With one exception, everyone I asked spoke of the physical sensations when associated with being in the zone, but nobody spoke of the effect the environment has on finding this state.
Does it matter?
I would say it does.
Take the HKD 2,000,000 (USD 255,000) Triton Poker Series Main Event at the Landing Casino in Jeju, South Korea. Three of the six finalists all won Triton events in Montenegro.
I don’t think that’s a fluke.
Jason Koon feels at home with Triton.
Mikita Badziakouski feels at home with Triton.
Richard Yong should feel at home with Triton because he created the bloody thing.
These three former champions prepare to face Sergio Aido, Sam Greenwood and Chan Wai Leong for the chance to win the most significant single payout outside of the One Drop and World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
55 entrants created a prize pool of HKD 110,000,000 (USD 14,014,077), and the winner takes home HKD 41,250,000 (USD 5,255,456).
Let’s see how 55 scaled down to 6.
Level 9 – 3k/6k/6k – Chen and Yu Are Out.
James Chen was the first person to lose all of his chips. Chen’s KsJh squared off against the AJss of John Juanda on a flop of Jc5c2d, and the dominated hand wilted to nothingness. Chen did re-enter though.
Then we lost Winfred Yu, and he didn’t resurface.
Ivan Leow raised to 13,000 on the button, Yu three-bet to 36,000 from the small blind; Leow called. The dealer delivered a wet looking Jh8c7h onto the board; Yu continued with a 55,000 bet; Leow called. The turn was the Jd, Yu checked, Leow bet 100,000, Yu moved all-in, and Leow called. Yu showed KJo for trips, but Leow was ahead with T9o for the straight. The river changed nothing. Yu was out. Leow took the chip lead.
Level 10 – 4k/8k/8k – Patgorski and Chen Bust
Cary Katz doubled through Sam Greenwood 55>AK. JC Alvarado did likewise through James Chen KK>QQ.
Mikita Badziakouski won a big hand off Bryn Kenney before taking out Gabe Patgorski. The Belarusian opened to 17,000 holding pocket nines, Patgorski three-bet to 56,000 with the J9o in position, and Badziakouski called.
Badziakouski, who was ahead with a pair of nines and a straight draw, decided to lead for 40,000, Patgorski moved all-in for 347,000, and Badziakouski said let’s go. The turn and river bricked for Patgorski, and he was out, never to return.
Other players to exit in this level included Xuan Tan, Richard Yong, and James Chen, the latter getting it in pre-flop with KTss<KJo of Stephen Chidwick.
Level 11 – 5k/10k/10k – Schulman and Yong Junior Out; Juanda & Koon Re-Enter
Nick Schulman was in fine fettle after winning the HKD 100,000 (USD 12,500) Short-Deck event, but he had to settle for a place in the wings of this one after moving all-in on the button with K7o, and getting eaten alive by Sam Greenwood ATo in the big blind.
Schulman wouldn’t re-enter, but John Juanda and Jason Koon did. Juanda lost all of his chips to Leow when his KK lost out to A7o, pre-flop, and Koon found himself in a dominated position AQ<AK in a pre-flop all-in collision with Steve O’Dwyer.
Then we lost Wai Kin Yong. The two-time Triton Champion went for it holding A9ss, and Badziakouski pushed him out of the door with pocket eights. And Phil Ivey doubled up twice, once with QQ>44 of Sam Greenwood, and another time with AQ>A7 of Badziakouski.
Then the registration ended.
1. HKD 41,250,000 (USD 5,255,456)
2. HKD 25,520,000 (USD 3,251,376)
3. HKD 16,720,000 (USD 2,130,212)
4. HKD 11,550,000 (USD 1,471,528)
5. HKD 8,470,000 (USD 1,079,120)
6. HKD 6,490,000 (USD 826,858)
32 unique entries, 23 re-entries, 55 entrants.
The first prize was a quarter of a million more than Justin Bonomo took for winning the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl.
Level 12 – 6k/12k/12k – Phua, Ivey & Nitsche Fall; Two Tables Remain.
Paul Phua got it in holding pocket sevens in a blind war with Bryn Kenney who was holding A8. Kenney, who was in for multiple bullets, hit an eight on the river to send Phua packing.
Sam Greenwood eliminated Phil Ivey when his pocket sevens won a flip against the AThh of the living legend. And then we lost Dominik Nitsche. The German flopped top pair with K8 on an 8c5h2h flop, and moved all-in over a Chan Wai Leong c-bet, only for Chan to reveal QQ for the stronger pair.
Two tables remained.
Here were the top three chip counts.
1. Mikita Badziakouski – 1,850,000
2. Chan Wei Long – 1,752,000
3. Sam Greenwood – 1,636,000
Level 13 – 8k/16k/16k – Robl Loses to a Greenwood.
Luc Greenwood eliminated Andrew Robl ATdd>A5ss.
Level 14 – 10k/20k/20k – Chidwick Busts to Koon
We lost the Global Poker Index #1.
The action got serious on the turn. The board showed Qs4h3c8s, with Koon holding Qc6s for top pair, and Chidwick chasing a flush draw and one overcard holding KJss.
Koon check-raised to 185,000; Chidwick called.
The 2c on the river secured Koon’s winning hand. The partypoker pro checked, Chidwick bet 440,000 (leaving 5k behind), and Koon called. Chidwick’s 5k went into the middle sometime later and never resurfaced.
Level 15 – 10k/25k/25k – Antonius, O’Dwyer, Kenney, Katz, Peters and a Greenwood Exit
Patrik Antonius moved all-in for 300,000 holding 43ss on the button; Sergio Aido looked him up with pocket queens in the blinds, and that’s all she wrote.
O’Dwyer was next to fall after losing a flip against Jason Koon. Peter Jetten sent Kenney to the rail after winning another flip, and Peters joined them after running deuces into Sergio Aido’s pocket tens.
And then the ultimate test of subconscious soft-play.
Sam Greenwood v Luc Greenwood.
Twin v twin.
Luc raised to 50,000 on the button holding QdTh, and Sam called in the big blind with 74cc.
Sam check-called a 75,000 Luc c-bet.
Sam checked, Luc moved all-in for 455,000 and Sam made the call.
Sam rivered an unnecessary flush, and Luc was out.
1. Mikita Badziakouski – 2,500,000
2. Sergio Aido – 2,435,000
3. Sam Greenwood – 2,235,000
4. Jason Koon – 1,955,000
5. Chan Wai Leong – 1,655,000
6. Ivan Leow – 990,000
7. Richard Yong – 900,000
8. Peter Jetten – 765,000
9. Cary Katz – 315,000
Nine became eight when Badziakouski flopped trip aces when all-in pre-flop against Cary Katz AQ>QQ.
Level 16 – 15k/30k/30k – Jetten and Leow Exit; Final Table Set
With eight players remaining you could feel the bubble tension. It’s not every day that these players compete on a USD 867,000 bubble, and it was Peter Jetten and Ivan Leow who would never forget it.
Jetten went first in a cooler versus Richard Yong. The Canadian got it in with AKss, only for Yong to show up with pocket aces. Jetten flopped a king, but there were no more surprises in the deck.
And then we lost the man who was in for a million bucks.
Koon raised to 75,000 holding AQss, and Leow called in position with A3dd. The flop rained down AsKh5s, Koon bet 150,000; Leow called. The 6c turned up on the fourth street, Koon bet 325,000, and Leow moved all-in for 455,000; Koon called. The Ks on the river changed nothing. Leow was out, and we had our final table.
Final Chip Counts
1. Mikita Badziakouski – 3,065,000
2. Sergio Aido – 3,000,000
3. Jason Koon – 2,500,000
4. Richard Yong – 2,415,000
5. Sam Greenwood – 1,715,000
6. Chan Wai Leong – 1,055,000
The final table recommences at 2 pm (local time) where we play down to a winner.