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Final Table Takedown: Mark Rubbathan Earns Way To High Roller Win

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Jul 12, 2023

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Coming into 2023, Mark Rubbathan’s largest live tournament score was a $14,280 cash for a final-table showing in a 2019 GUKPT Manchester £1,100 buy-in event. The 32-year-old online tournament grinder from the UK smashed that number thanks to an incredible run at a high-stakes live tournament festival in March.

Rubbathan won his way to the Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam via a promotion on online poker site Americas Cardroom, with $100,000 in buy-ins that he could utilize during the series. Rubbathan, who streams his online play as part of the ‘ACRStormers ELITE Stream Team,’ easily surpassed his top finish with a 10th-place showing in event no. 2, earning a new career-best cash of $50,300 for his deep run in that $15,000 buy-in event.

It didn’t take long for that new personal record to be surpassed, though, as he managed to outright win event no. 3, the $20,000 buy-in mystery bounty event. During his time in Vietnam, Rubbathan earned a huge $636,000.

“It’s indescribable,” Rubbathan said after the win. “The whole experience was insane enough from the get-go. I won a package so I freerolled my way here. I wasn’t bothered, in a way, about cashing. I just wanted the experience. This is obviously beyond any expectation. It’s wild, absolutely wild.”

Rubbathan started playing poker when he was 17 with friends. He’s always had an affinity for strategy games, but is a gambler at heart, so it was easy for him to fall in love with poker. He turned pro in 2016, focusing primarily on live cash games and low- to mid-stakes tournaments, but after building up a following on his Twitch channel (Weazel_1991), he began to focus all his time on online play.

But despite his online success, he always dreamed of winning a huge live event. Now, after his success at the Triton series in Vietnam, he plans to mix in more live tournaments with his online streaming.

Card Player caught up with Rubbathan to talk about his big win and break down some key hands from his run.

Craig Tapscott: You used to play more tournaments before streaming cash games on Twitch, correct?

Mark Rubbathan: I transitioned to online cash games for the sake of the stream. After completing a $1,000 to $10,000 bankroll challenge on Twitch (by playing both MTTs and cash games), I realized I was getting much higher viewership numbers when playing cash games, as there were very few cash game streamers on Twitch back then.

I still played MTTs on the side, more for fun than anything else. I had given up on the dream of winning a satellite into a huge event, but then it happened.

CT: What have you learned about yourself and the game while sharing your streaming journey?

MR: The best part about streaming for me is the community aspect of it. I am fully myself on stream and have connected with so many people who are very similar to myself, not just in terms of loving poker but with a similar sense of humor and view of life. It’s genuinely helped me become more confident in myself and my ability at the tables.

It also helps to keep me accountable. When I play a hand, not only do I have to talk out loud about the hand, but I know I have people watching. This means I want to ensure that I am entirely sure about every decision.

CT: What kind of studying do you do to improve your tournament game?

MR: I’ve always had a deep passion for the game of no-limit, so talking with friends or peers about hands was how I improved early on throughout my career. Whenever I played a hand in cash games or MTTs that I wasn’t sure about, I would always ask someone else what they would do in that situation.

As poker progressed and more tools became available (such as solvers), I would save the hand history or take a screenshot and plug them into GTO Wizard afterward. I wanted to know what the solver would do, but more importantly, I wanted to try and develop an understanding as to why the solver would take such a line.

CT: What is the most critical thing to focus on as you get deeper into the game?

MR: The most important thing to do is drop your ego altogether. This is true both in-game (for example, not trying to win against a player solely because he bluffed you) and when studying. You can’t assume you played a hand perfectly and were unlucky, or waive off a more established player’s opinion, just because you disagree at that moment. You have to be open-minded at all times.

CT: Before jumping into this hand, what did you learn from some of the top high-stakes crushers you sat across at these events?

MR: I’ve always had faith in my ability at the poker table, so I was never intimidated by any Triton players. The only exception was when I was seated next to Patrik Antonius. I grew up watching High Stakes Poker, and Antonius was always a massive inspiration. So when I was playing on a feature table directly next to him, it was nerve racking.

The main thing I realized when playing and speaking to these guys is that their attitude toward the game is on another level to mine, both on and off the table. They have an elite mentality. It’s not just a case of having excellent poker ability, but also the constant drive to improve, the desire to win, and the desire to play the highest stakes. Not to mention keeping their mental game in check when dealing with variance. They take care of themselves physically and mentally away from the table to stay focused and play the best they can at every opportunity. I play a good poker game and hold my own at the table. But the difference in mentality is insane. I have nothing but respect for everyone I played with at Triton.

Event: Triton Mystery Bounty
Buy-In: $20,000
Entrants: 179
Prize Pool: $1,790,000
First Place Prize: $396,000
  
Stacks: Mark Rubbathan – 1,100,000 (11 BB) Dan Smith – 275,000 (2.75 BB)
Roland Rokita – 1,050,000 (10.5 BB) 
Blinds: 50,000-100,000 with a 100,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 16 
Players: 8

CT: Please set this hand up for us, Mark.

MR: This was a straightforward situation and the biggest spot I had had throughout the series. I had bubbled the final table in the previous event ($15,000 buy-in) and was looking to get a little deeper this time and not come up short again. We were down to the final two tables and already in the money.

Smith moved all in from early position. Rokita shoved all in over the top from the cutoff.  

MR: I knew my exact stack was 1,100,000 when this hand occurred. I had Roland covered by just half a big blind (50,000). While Gytis Lazauninkas considered his action in the small blind, I was already trying to figure out how light I would call, given that I had a chance for two bounties should Gytis fold.

Gytis did eventually fold. I had possibly the easiest decision I’ve had all day, and I looked down at…

Rubbathan called from the big blind holding ASpade Suit QDiamond Suit. Rokita revealed AHeart Suit 8Diamond Suit. Smith turned over JDiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit.

Flop: KHeart Suit 7Heart Suit 4Spade Suit

CT: A good flop for you. It had to be a tough sweat, however.

MR: It was a relatively safe flop, although I didn’t love that Rokita had backdoor hearts. 

Turn: QSpade Suit

MR: The turn let me sigh with relief, although Smith now picked up an open-ended straight draw. That meant that Rokita was drawing dead, so I was guaranteed at least my first bounty and chip profit in the hand.

River: 8Heart Suit

MR: I scooped the pot and two mystery bounties, a minimum of $20,000 each. This gave me a good-sized chip stack and a very playable 26-big blind stack with only 13 players remaining.

Stacks: Mark Rubbathan – 13,000,000 (26 BB) Daniel Dvoress – 8,500,000 (17 BB)
Blinds: 250,000-500,000 with a 500,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 4 

MR: I had the chip lead with just shy of 13 million chips. I looked down at two black Queens, a ridiculously strong hand four-handed. 

Rubbathan raised to 1,000,000 from under the gun with QSpade Suit QClub Suit. Dvoress three-bet shoved from the button, and Rubbathan called. Dvoress revealed 8Spade Suit 8Club Suit.

Flop: ADiamond Suit 10Spade Suit 4Club Suit

MR: I was safe for the moment. Throughout this tournament, I kept an incredible focus which I am most proud of. I didn’t let my mind wander and think about first-place money or the chance of winning the trophy. I made good decisions every step of the way. And when I had been all in, I focused on what cards I needed to fade or hit to win the pot.

But I realized how insanely huge this pot was during the pause before the turn card was dealt. For the first time throughout the series, I realized that if I held here, I could actually win a Triton event.

Turn: 4Spade Suit
River: ASpade Suit

MR: I knocked out (in my opinion) the best player left in the field and won my seventh bounty, and took a commanding chip lead.

CT: How did the rest of the final table play out?

MR: I experienced a few coolers but still won the event. I cashed for a total of $636,000 after winning a whopping 10 mystery bounties.

CT: What are your plans for the future? Will you travel and play more events?

MR: I am still deciding exactly what I will do in the future. I’ve upgraded my stream equipment with some of the winnings, so streaming will still be at the forefront of what I do. I’ll probably play the WSOP main event for the first time this year. And who knows? If that trip goes well, maybe, I’ll try to join those elite players and become a regular at the high-stakes events.

Find Rubbathan on Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube @Weazel_1991. ♠

*Photos courtesy of Triton Poker.