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Sam Grafton Wins $5.5 Million Top Prize In Coin Rivet Invitational $200,000 Buy-In Poker Tournament

The British Poker Pro Overcame A Field of 115 Entries To Capture The Biggest Payday of His Career


The first-ever Coin Rivet Invitational $200,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event attracted a field of 115 total entries to the , building a massive prize pool of $23 million. The high-stakes tournament featured a unique format that required the recreational players in the field to each invite one professional to enter the event. Thehe pros were separated from the amateur players for the duration of day 1, with the two segregated halves of the field only combining for day 2.

In the end, it was British poker pro Sam Grafton who emerged victorious, earning the staggering first-place prize of $5,500,000 as the champion. This was by far the largest score of Grafton’s career, blowing away the $1,447,385 he earned as the runner-up finisher in the 2019 European Poker Tour Barcelona €100,000 buy-in high roller. This marquee win came just three days after Grafton had placed second in the $50,000 buy-in event at the 2022 Triton Mediterranean Poker Party high roller series, which hosted this invitational tournament. That deep run earned him another $994,500.

“It was so much fun,” Grafton told Triton Poker reporters after the win. “Playing against some of the most remarkable entrepreneurs and businesspeople in the world… It was played with a special spirit. On the day the two lanes merged, players were smiling like it was Christmas or their birthday. Everyone had a skip in their steps. Tournament poker is just amazing. Playing this format is very special.”

All told, Grafton’s recorded tournament earnings now exceed $11.9 million. As a result, he has climbed into fourth place on the UK’s all-time money list, trailing only Stephen Chidwick ($44.4 million), Sam Trickett ($21.8 million), and Ben Heath ($13.5 million).

As an invitation-only tournaments, this event did not award Card Player Player of the Year points. Grafton is among the top 100 in the 2022 POY race standings though, having made five POY-qualified final tables with one title won. He currently sits in a tie for 91st place on the leaderboard, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

Ebony KenneyThe eight-figure prize pool was paid out among the top 17 finishers in this event, with the $380,000 money bubble bursting on day 2. Current second-ranked POY contender Chris Brewer was knocked out on the bubble, losing allbut one big blind from his stack with A-J against the pocket kings of Ebony Kenney, who had secured her first high-roller cash earlier in the series with a fifth-place showing in the kickoff event.

Following Brewer’s elimination, several notable players were sent to the rail inside the money but short of the final table, including Leon Tsoukernik (15th), Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates (12th), and Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga (10th).

The final table began with French businessman Karl Chappe-Gatien in the lead and online high-stakes legend Linus ‘LLinusLLove’ Loeliger in second chip position. Tom Vogelsang was the first to fall. He three-bet from the button over the cutoff raise of Chappe-Gatien holding A-4 suited. Chappe-Gatien four-bet shoved with Q-10 of the same suit and Vogelsang called. Chappe-Gatien rivered a queen to make the winning hand, sending Vogelsang home with $620,000 for his ninth-place showing.

American poker pro Seth Davies’ run in this event came to an end when his K-Q was unable to outrun the 7-6 suited of Chappe-Gatien, who had opened from middle position. Davies three-bet shoved for eight big blinds from the small blind. Davies flopped top pair to extend his advantage in the hand, but Chappe-Gatien caught running straight cards to win the pot and narrow the field to seven. Davies earned $770,000 as the eighth-place finisher. The World Poker Tour winner now has more than $17.1 million in recorded tournament earnings to his name.

Finnish businessman Elias Talvitie was the next to go. Like those before him, he got all-in preflop leading against Chappe-Gatien. His pocket sixes were unable to hold up against his opponent’s A-2, though, and Talvitie was sent home with $1,050,000.

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Aleksejs Ponakovs was the first player knocked out at the final table who didn’t fall at the hands of Chappe-Gatien. Ponakovs got all-in for his last five big blinds with K-9 facing the A-J of fellow two-time bracelet winner Fedor Holz. The German made aces full of sevens by the river to secure the pot, sending Ponakovs packing in sixth place ($1,350,000).

As previously mentioned, Kenney was making her high-stakes tournament debut at this series. Her invitation to this event came from Phil Nagy, CEO of the Winning Poker Network. Prior to her trip to Cyprus, Kenney’s largest recorded score had been for $41,164. She blew that away with her deep run in the $25,000 buy-in opening event, earning $240,500 as the fifth-place finisher. Her run in this event ended in the same spot. Kenney got the last of her stack in with pocket jacks leading the pocket nines of Chappe-Gatien. The Frenchman spiked a nine on the turn to leave Kenney in need of a either a jack or ten on the river. None of her outs materialized and she was eliminated in fifth place, earning a career-high score of $1.7 million for her strong showing.

Had Kenney lasted one more spot, she would have set the record for the largest live tournament payout ever earned by a female player. That record now remains with Annette Obrestad, who took down the first ever WSOP Europe main event for $2,000,000 back in 2007.

Holz was the next player to be sent home by the Chappe-Gatien. He got all-in with AClub SuitJClub Suit leading the ADiamond Suit10Diamond Suit of the Frenchman. The board ran out KHeart SuitJDiamond Suit4Club Suit7Diamond Suit3Diamond Suit to give Chappe-Gatien a backdoor flush for the win. Holz settled for fourth place, earning $2,100,000 for his latest deep run in a nosebleed-stakes tournament. The 29-year-old German now has more than $37.9 million in lifetime cashes under his belt.

Despite serving as the grim reaper throughout most of the final table, Chappe-Gatien was the next player to be sent home. He doubled up both of his three-handed opponents to fall to the bottom of the leaderboard. He ultimately got the last of his stack with QSpade Suit2Spade Suit facing the ASpade SuitKDiamond Suit of Grafton. Neither player improved and Chappe-Gatien was eliminated in third place ($2,600,000).

With that, Grafton took more than a 4:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Loeliger. The Swiss pro found a quick double up to give himself more room to maneuver. He won a healthy pot with a set of sevens beating a pair of tens for Grafton to close the gap even further, but still faced a sizable deficit.

In the final hand Grafton limped in from the button with AClub Suit7Heart Suit and Loeliger moved all-in for just more than 17 big blinds with KDiamond Suit6Spade Suit. Grafton made the call and the board came down ADiamond Suit5Diamond Suit5Club Suit6Club Suit9Club Suit to secure the pot and the title for Grafton.

Loeliger was awarded a career-high payday of $3,900,000 as the runner-up finisher. He now has more than $7.2 million in recorded live earnings.

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

Place Player Earnings
1 Sam Grafton $5,500,000
2 Linus Loeliger $3,900,000
3 Karl Chappe-Gatien $2,600,000
4 Fedor Holz $2,100,000
5 Ebony Kenney $1,700,000
6 Aleksejs Ponakovs $1,350,000
7 Elias Talvitie $1,050,000
8 Seth Davies $770,000
9 Tom Vogelsang $620,000

Photo credits: Joe Giron / Triton Poker.