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Aaron Zang Has Won The Largest Buy-In Poker Tournament Ever

Bryn Kenney Earned $20.6 Million As The Runner Up To Climb Into First Place On Poker's All-Time Money List

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A champion has been decided in the highest buy-in poker tournament in history. Aaron Zang emerged victorious from a field of 54 total entries in the £1,050,00 buy-in Triton Million charity invitational no-limit hold’em event, earning £13,779,491, or $16,810,979 US dollars (USD), after striking a deal at the start of heads-up play. Zang was one of 27 recreational players who entered the event, each of whom invited a single poker pro guest to participate in the record-setting event, which also raised £2.7 million for charity.

Zang outlasted a stacked final table on his way to capturing the title. He outlasted several of the top tournament players in the game and defeated Bryn Kenney heads-up for the win. Kenney earned the equivalent of $20,606,421 USD as the runner-up, the largest single payday ever awarded in a poker tournament. The record-breaking score increased his career live tournament earnings to $55,748,855. As a result, Kenney surpassed Justin Bonomo ($45 million) to take the top spot on poker’s all-time money list.

Kenney had made his desire to sit atop the career earnings leaderboard public, telling Card Player as much in June of 2019. “The end goal is number one all time,” said Kenney after joining the top five. Less than two months after stating his goal, he has achieved it.

The final day began with Vivek Rajmukar as the chip leader with eight players remaining. Rajkumar extended his advantage by knocking out World Series of Poker bracelet winner Tim Adams in eighth place ($1,708,000 USD). Current Card Player Player of the Year race leader Stephen Chidwick started the final table in second chip position, and did his best to stay within striking distance of the lead by eliminating Alfred Decarolis in seventh place ($2,098,400 USD).

The complexion of the table shifted dramatically as a result of a huge confrontation between Rajkumar and Dan Smith. The two got all the chips in on a flop of 10Club Suit9Spade Suit4Heart Suit with Rajumkar’s 10Heart Suit9Heart Suit having outflopped the JHeart SuitJClub Suit of Smith. The 3Diamond Suit on the turn kept Rajkumar in the lead, but the JSpade Suit on the end gave Smith a winning set to see him double into the chip lead. Rajkumar fell to fifth place in the chip counts after the hand.

The shortest stack at the table belonged to Bill Perkins. He ended up getting his last chips in with KHeart Suit10Diamond Suit, only to run into the ASpade SuitADiamond Suit of Bryn Kenney. Perkins was drawing dead on the turn, with Kenney having made aces full of twos before the board was even completed. The 10Spade Suit on the river sealed the deal and send Perkins to the rail in sixth place ($2,684,000 USD).

Rajkumar also ran into a pair of aces in the hands of Kenney. His ASpade Suit8Spade Suit was in rough shape, and the 10Club Suit7Heart Suit2Spade Suit3Diamond Suit8Club Suit runout failed to improve his hand enough to overcome the AHeart SuitAClub Suit of Kenney. Rajkumar earned $3,660,000 USD for his fifth-place showing, while Kenney overtook the lead.

Kenney was able to extend his advantage even further during four-handed play by applying plenty of pressure on the shorter stacks. Stephen Chidwick was second in chips when the next major showdown arose. Chidwick picked up 7Spade Suit7Diamond Suit under the gun and raised to 1,100,000. Kenney looked down at KHeart SuitJClub Suit in the big blind and moved all-in. Chidwick went deep into the tank, but eventually made the call with his pocket pair. The board came down ADiamond SuitKClub Suit9Heart Suit4Diamond Suit10Heart Suit and Kenney paired his king to earn the pot, knocking Chidwick out in fourth place. The British poker pro earned $5,380,200 USD for his latest deep run, bringing his lifetime live earnings to more than $30.6 million. As a result, he climbed into eighth place on the all-time money list.

With that Kenney took a massive lead into three-handed play, sitting with 39.5 million of the 54 million in play. Just a few orbits after Chidwick’s elimination, Kenney open-shoved with QHeart Suit10Heart Suit from the button. Smith called with the ADiamond Suit10Club Suit and was in good shape to double up, until the flop came down QDiamond SuitJHeart Suit8Heart Suit to give Kenney top pair and a flush draw. The QSpade Suit on the turn left Smith in need of a king on the river for the double up or a nine to chop. The 2Spade Suit on the river was no help to Smith and he was sent home in third place with $8,784,000 USD. Smith increased his career earnings to $36,780,126 with this strong showing, enough to see move into the fourth-place spot on the all-time earnings leaderboard.

Bryn Kenney is now the highest earning tournament poker player in historyKenney held roughly a 4.5-to-1 chip lead over Aaron Zang when heads-up play began. At that time, the two struck a deal that secured $20,606,421 USD for Kenney and $16,810,979 USD for Zang. On the 12th hand of their final showdown Zang got all-in with 6Heart Suit6Club Suit up against the KSpade SuitQDiamond Suit of Kenney. Zang won the race to cut his chip deficit to roughly 2-to-1. Just two hands later Zan flopped trips and won a sizable pot off of Kenney’s turned flush draw to surge into the chip lead.

The very next hand saw Zang raise to 1,000,000 from the button holding 8Diamond Suit5Diamond Suit. Kenney called from the big blind with ASpade Suit6Spade Suit. The flop came down 8Spade Suit4Spade Suit3Club Suit and Kenney checked with his flopped nu flush draw. Zang bet 2,000,000 and Kenney check-raised to 5,775,000. Zang moved all-in and Kenney called for his tournament life. The 9Club Suit on the turn left Kenney in need of an ace or a spade on the river. The KDiamond Suit on the end changed nothing and Zang’s pair of eights was enough to secure him the pot and the title. As previously mentioned, Kenny took home $20,606,421 USD as the second-place finisher, enough to see him claim the top spot on the all-time money list.

Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:

Place Player Payout
1 Aaron Zang $16,810,979
2 Bryn Kenney $20,606,421
3 Dan Smith $8,784,000
4 Stephen Chidwick $5,380,200
5 Vivek Rajkumar $3,660,000
6 Bill Perkins $2,684,000
7 Alfred Decarolis $2,098,400
8 Tim Adams $1,708,000

Winner photo credit: Joe Giron / partypokerLIVE.