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Jason Koon And Phil Ivey Both Win Twice At Triton London High Roller Series

Bryn Kenney Retakes The Lead On The All-Time Money List

by Erik Fast |  Published: Sep 20, 2023

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The 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series London festival was a smashing success, with more than $108 million dollars in prize money paid out across the 15-event schedule. The series took place at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London from July 27 through August 10.

There were plenty of massive results across the series, with the nosebleed stakes resulting in several noteworthy shifts on poker’s all-time money list, including Bryn Kenney regaining the top spot thanks to a gigantic win.

There was also a ton of movement at the top of the Triton Poker titles leaderboard, headlined by Jason Koon winning two events to extend his record to nine victories. Phil Ivey also moved into sole possession of second place thanks to two titles of his own, while Wai Kin Yong and Danny Tang joined Mikita Badziakouski in a three-way tie for third with their wins.

Big Names Shine In Early Events

Lucas Greenwood was the first champion crowned at the series. Lucas and his brothers Sam and Max have all cashed for millions of dollars on the tournament circuit. Among the three Greenwood brothers, Sam has had the most success, with more than $34 million in career cashes, a WSOP bracelet, and many high-stakes titles to his name, including a Triton Poker victory he earned earlier this year. Now, Lucas has joined Sam (his twin) as a Triton champion.

Lucas outlasted a field of 162 total entries in the $25,000 GG Million$ Live event, earning $897,000. This was the largest score yet for the Canadian poker player, topping the $779,268 he banked for winning a $25,000 high roller at the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas. He now has more than $5.8 million in career earnings to his name.

The second event on the schedule saw Fedor Holz lock up his third Triton title, topping a field of 120 entries in the $25,000 no-limit hold’em seven-max event to earn $609,853.

The 30-year-old German player has now cashed for over $10.9 million across 12 Triton scores, or roughly a quarter of his total career tournament earnings of more than $41 million. This was his fourth final-table finish of the year, including two deep runs in sizable $100,000 buy-in fields.

2022 WSOP main event champion Espen Jorstad was the last player standing in the $40,000 mystery bounty event. The 35-year-old poker pro from Norway earned $639,000 and his third recorded live tournament title for the win.

Jorstad overcame a stacked final table on his way to this victory, with a particularly tough final three that included the likes of two-time Card Player POY award winner Stephen Chidwick (3rd – $287,000) and Phil Ivey (2nd – $434,900).

This was Jorstad’s first tournament victory since he took down the WSOP main event just over a year earlier. That win saw him top the third-largest field in the history of the tournament (8,663 entries) to earn his second bracelet and $10 million in prize money. Jorstad went on to make two more final tables this series, including a third-place showing in the $200,000 buy-in event for the second-largest score of his career worth $2,766,191. He now has nearly $15.6 million in lifetime earnings.

Ole Schemion came into this series as a two-time World Poker Tour champion with a WSOP bracelet and eight figures in prior tournament earnings. What Schemion’s résumé lacked was a cash in a Triton event. As it turns out, this was his first time attending one of the tour’s stops. While he bricked out in the first three events, it didn’t take long for Schemion to battle his way to the winner’s circle. Schemion outlasted a field of 112 entries to emerge victorious in the $50,000 no-limit hold’em event, securing the top prize of $1,350,000.

This was the fifth seven-figure score of Schemion’s career and his third-largest payday. It increased his total earnings to more than $19 million, good for sixth place on the German all-time money list.

Jason Koon Picks Up No. 8

Jason Koon already held the record for the most Triton titles, but he extended his lead over the field even further when he came out on top of the $60,000 no-limit hold’em seven-max event for $1,570,000. This was his 35th cash on the tour (another record), and his eighth victory. Of course, Koon was far from done running up the score at this series. Much more on him shortly.

It took 14 hours of day 2 action, but finally, David Yan emerged victorious in the $200,000 no-limit hold’em event. The New Zealander earned $3,052,002 and his first Triton title.

This was Yan’s second seven-figure score of the year, having also finished third in the $250,000 buy-in at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for nearly $1.5 million. He also took down a $50,000 buy-in event at that series. Yan now sits 56th in the POY rankings with two titles, six final tables, and more than $5.7 million in current POY earnings.

After Jorstad bowed out in third, Yan squared off against POY contender Nacho Barbero. The Argentinian was ultimately knocked out in second place, but earned the highest payout of $3,445,807 thanks to a deal struck among the final three that was agreed upon while he had the chip lead. The final three had set aside $100,000 and the title to play for after redistributing the remaining prize money based on ICM numbers.

Pedro Garagnani won the race to the finish line in the $30,000 turbo bounty event, defeating a 96-entry field for $459,000. With this victory, Garagnani became the first Brazilian player ever to secure a trophy on the tour. This accomplishment would have occurred regardless of who came out on top in the heads-up battle for the title, however, as Garagnani was joined by countryman Bruno Volkmann (2nd – $375,300) in the final two.

Startup founder Seth Gottlieb came into this series with a limited background in pot-limit Omaha. Despite being relatively new to four-card poker, the New Jersey resident overcame a tough field of 77 entries in the $25,000 PLO event, banking $511,000.

Gottlieb now has more than $1.3 million in recorded tournament earnings across 13 cashes. Five of those have now come in Triton events, including a tenth-place finish in the $200,000 high roller event earlier this series for $348,000.

Bryn Kenney Regains Top Spot On Money List

Bryn Kenney took down the $250,000 Luxon Invitational event to reclaim the top spot on poker’s all-time money list. The 36-year-old poker pro from New York earned $6,860,000 as the champion of this super-high-stakes affair, which attracted 118 entries.

With this win, his career tournament earnings swelled to more than $65 million, giving him a $1,083,956 lead over second-ranked Justin Bonomo on that vaunted leaderboard.
“It’s so surreal,” Kenney told reporters. “It’s crazy. I don’t know where I am really, but I’m in a good place, standing here at the end of the tournament.”

Incredibly, this was not the largest payday of Kenney’s career. Back in 2019, Kenney struck a heads-up deal in another Triton invitational event held in London. That £1,050,000 buy-in affair was ultimately won by Aaron Zang, but Kenney nabbed the largest payday as a part of the deal, taking home a record-setting score of $20,606,421.

“I didn’t get to hold up the trophy then, but now I can hold up the trophy. I’m so blessed and thankful for this and everything,” he said.

Kenney is now a three-time Triton champion thanks to this latest victory. He also extended his lead as the tour’s earnings leader, with his $37.6 million giving him nearly a $13.5 million advantage over second-ranked Jason Koon.

While Kenney’s results on the felt are undeniable, he has been a controversial figure in the poker community in recent years. Kenney denied allegations of multi-accounting, ghosting, and other online poker cheating methods by Martin Zamani, one of his former horses. Despite criticism, he has continued to play the occasional live tournament series, and even finished runner-up this summer in the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship at the WSOP to fall just short of his second bracelet.

2003 WSOP main event champion and Poker Hall of Fame member Chris Moneymaker was within one spot of topping the $2,500,000 he earned for taking down the big dance two decades ago, but ultimately fell just short of that new personal record.

Moneymaker got all-in with pocket jacks racing against the KHeart Suit QDiamond Suit of Punnat Punsri, but a king on the flop sent him to the rail in fifth place. The $2,030,000 he earned for this deep run increased the 47-year-old ACR Poker ambassador’s tournament earnings to just shy of $6 million.

Two-time bracelet winner Aleksejs Ponakovs’ run came to an end in fourth place, earning a career-best payday of $2,540,000. The Latvian now has more than $14.5 million in lifetime cashes.

Punsri added to his advantage on Thailand’s all-time money list in a major way thanks to this event, with the $3,107,000 he secured for his third-place finish bringing his career total to more than $11.2 million.

Talal Shakerchi cashed for $4,650,000 as the runner-up. This was his second multi-million-dollar tournament payout of the year, having earned $3,250,000 for taking down the Triton Vietnam $100,000 main event back in March. The British hedge fund manager and poker aficionado now has nearly $18.5 million in lifetime tournament earnings, with millions won online as well.

Timothy Adams Banks $4.2 Million In Main Event

Canadian poker pro Timothy Adams hit a new personal high score when he took down the $125,000 main event for a staggering $4,185,000 payday and his second Triton main event trophy.

This huge win surpassed Adam’s previous top cash of $3,608,865 that he earned as the champion of the 2019 Triton Jeju main event, which sported a $254,000 buy-in when rendered in USD. That payout was only slightly larger than the $3.6 million he secured for winning the 2020 Super High Roller Bowl Russia. The Burlington, Ontario native now has more than $38 million in lifetime tournament earnings, with over $13 million of that coming from his 11 cashes in Triton events.

“I’m just lost for words because it was insane that I won this one,” Adams said.

Adams topped a stacked final table that included the likes of Doug Polk (9th – $422,500), James Chen (7th – $705,000), Juan Pardo (6th – $970,000) Stephen Chidwick (5th – $1,260,000), Isaac Haxton (4th – $1,582,000), Dan Cates (3rd – $1,940,000), and Jean-Noel Thorel (2nd – $2,830,000).

One of the wildest preflop clashes of the series took place during the final day of this event. The hand began when Juan Pardo opened for a min-raise from under the gun with KDiamond Suit KClub Suit, only to have Thorel three-bet to five big blinds from the hijack holding AHeart Suit AClub Suit. Chidwick woke up with ASpade Suit KSpade Suit and put in a cold four-bet to 11.5 big blinds. Cates quickly folded JHeart Suit JClub Suit from the big blind and it was back around to Pardo. As he considered his options, Thorel announced that he was all-in out of turn. Pardo got away from his two kings and Thorel’s action stood. Chidwick called, having Thorel covered, and a 9Spade Suit 6Club Suit 4Club Suit 5Diamond Suit 8Diamond Suit runout saw the Frenchman take a massive lead.

Chidwick moved into third place on the all-time money list with his score, but he was not yet done adding to his totals at this festival.

Ivey, Tang, and Yong Join Badziakouski In Four-Way Tie For Second On Titles Leaderboard
Phil Ivey took down the $60,000 turbo event to become just the third player in the tour’s history to have won four or more titles. He entered into a tie with Mikita Badziakouski for the second-most Triton trophies with four titles.

It didn’t take very long for Ivey and Badziakouski to get more company in the four-time winner’s club. Danny Tang soon joined the party, despite coming into 2023 with zero Triton titles to his name. The bracelet winner from Hong Kong had come close a couple of times, including a runner-up finish in 2019 and another second-place showing in 2022. He finally broke through and secured his first win in March, taking down a $25,000 short deck event at the Triton Vietnam stop. It seems that win opened the floodgates, as Tang has gone on to earn three more Triton titles since.

His fourth win came in the $60,000 no-limit hold’em event. He defeated a field of 106 entries to lock up the hardware and $1,600,000. He has now cashed for nearly $10.2 million on the tour, accounting for the majority of his $18,869,596 million in overall tournament earnings.

The tie for second on the Triton titles leaderboard expanded to include four players when, just one day after Tang’s victory, Wai Kin Yong came out on top in the $30,000 short deck event. He outlasted a 37-entry field to earn $350,000. Nearly all of his $11.5 million in recorded tournament earnings have come from his 16 in-the-money finishes in Triton events.

Koon Expands On Titles Lead With Record Ninth Win

Jason Koon has been unstoppable in Triton Poker events in 2023. He entered this year in a tie for the most titles on the tour with Mikita Badziakouski, with each having four to their name at that point. Since then, Koon has emerged victorious five times, bringing his title total to nine and claiming sole possession of the record.

This latest win saw Koon defeat a field of 46 entries in the $60,000 short deck main event. The 37-year-old poker pro earned $828,000 after coming out on top, increasing his lifetime tournament earnings to nearly $50.8 million. He became just the fifth player in history to surpass the $50-million mark, leapfrogging Daniel Negreanu ($50,296,291) to claim the fourth-place spot on poker’s all-time money list.

Over half of Koon’s total winnings have come in Triton events. He has accumulated $25,483,985 across 38 in-the-money finishes on the tour, and only Bryn Kenney ($37.8 million) has cashed for more.

This win also saw Koon earn 510 POY points. This was his fifth title and 12th final-table finish of the year. With more than $8.3 million in to-date POY earnings, he has now moved into seventh place in the overall standings.

This latest win was Koon’s fourth short deck win on the tour, a testament to his prowess in the relatively new game.

“There was a three or four-year span when I was off the grid playing the biggest short deck games in the world,” Koon explained. “I don’t think that it’s just pure luck I’ve won four short deck titles.”

Chris Brewer’s run came to an end in fifth place, earning $226,300 for his 19th final-table finish of the year. With five titles (including two bracelet wins) and more than $10.8 million in POY earnings, he is now the fourth-ranked player in the POY standings.

Ivey Captures Fifth Career Triton Trophy In Final Event

The four-way tie for second place on the Triton titles leaderboard lasted all of one day. 46-year-old Poker Hall of Famer Phil Ivey took down the final event of the series, besting a field of 33 entries in the $25,000 short deck turbo event to earn $280,500.

“I love the game of poker, I always have,” Ivey said. “I love to play. Hopefully, I’ll get a few more.”

Ivey now has nearly $40.2 million in career tournament earnings. The ten-time bracelet winner became just the 12th player in poker history to surpass $40 million in total scores thanks to this win, and now sits in 12th place on the all-time money list.

Ivey also got his hands on 336 POY points. This was his second title and sixth final-table finish of the year. With 3,064 points and nearly $2.5 million in to-date POY earnings, Ivey now sits in 47th place on the POY leaderboard.

Stephen Chidwick picked up $123,800 and 224 POY points for what was his sixth cash and fourth final-table finish of the festival. With four titles, 17 final tables, and more than $6 million in POY earnings in 2023, the two-time POY award winner now sits in fifth place as he looks to claim the honors for a third time.

Chidwick now has $51,984,718 in total tournament earnings, strengthening his hold on the third-place spot and giving him more than a $1.2 million lead on fourth-ranked Jason Koon on the all-time money list.

Danny Tang was knocked out in second place ($193,800), falling just short of his fifth Triton title of the year. He moved to 16th place in the POY standings after this, his 12th qualified score of 2023. ♠