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Punnat Punsri Wins $2.6 Million As Triton Mediterranean Poker Party Main Event Champion

The Thai Player Bested A Field of 99 Entries To Secure The Largest Win of His Career


Thailand’s Punnat Punsri came into 2022 with just over $300,000 in recorded live poker tournament earnings to his name. So far this year, he has cashed for nearly $3.9 million, announcing himself as a new force to be reckoned with on the international high-roller scene. Punsri’s latest breakthrough saw him outlast a field of 99 entries to emerge victorious in the 2022 Triton Mediterranean Poker Party $100,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event.

For the win, Punsri earned a career-best $2,600,000 payday and his first Triton trophy. This score is now his largest by just more than $2 million, topping his previous best cash of $593,481 that he secured as the third-place finisher in the $50,000 buy-in eight-max event at this year’s World Series of Poker.

This latest victory was Punsri’s third title and fifth final-table finish of the year. The 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points he earned as the champion in this event were enough to see him catapulted into 30th place on the 2022 POY leaderboard, which is presented by Global Poker. He also secured 550 PokerGO Tour points for the win. He currently sits in 26th place in that points race thanks to his huge win in this event.

This Triton main event was held at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel. The sizable turnout resulted in a $9,900,000 prize pool, which was ultimately split up amongst the top 13 finishers. Stephen Chidwick was knocked out on the money bubble in this event, guaranteeing the remaining players at least $198,000 for their efforts. Several big names cashed but fell short of the final table, including Super High Roller Bowl V winner Isaac Haxton (13th), Triton Madrid €50,000 buy-in champion Laszlo Bujtas (12th), Triton Madrid €30,000 seven-max champion Paul Phua (11th), and World Poker Tour champion Seth Davies (10th).

The official final table began with Wiktor Malinowski in the lead and Henrick Hecklen in second chip position. Artem Vezhenkov (8th – $366,000) was the first to fall, with his pocket nines being cracked by the pocket eights of Hecklen. 2021 Super High Roller Bowl Europe and 2021 European Poker Tour Sochi champion Artur Martirosian was the next to hit the rail, with his K-8 suited unable to beat out the A-5 suited of a surging Hecklen.

Gregoire Auzoux’s run came to a close when his AHeart Suit4Heart Suit ran into the ADiamond SuitQDiamond Suit of Malinowksi. Auzoux flopped aces and fours to take the lead, but the 2021 SHRB Europe winner turned a queen to turn the tables yet again. Auzoux did not find another four on the river and was sent home with $595,000.

Jason Koon shakes the hand of eventual champion Punnat PunsriPunsri’s next key pot saw him secure a crucial double-up through Hecklen thanks to a preflop cooler. Punsri got all-in with pocket kings dominating the pocket queens of Hecklen and the larger pair held up to send Punsri flying up the chip counts. He continued to climb thanks to winning a big preflop race with ASpade SuitQSpade Suit facing the 4Spade Suit4Diamond Suit of four-time Triton winner Jason Koon. Punsri spiked an ace on the turn and held from there to send Koon packing in fifth place ($762,000). The score saw Koon increase his career earnings to $40.3 million, making him just the eighth player in poker history to have surpassed $40 million in total cashes. Koon also scored 450 POY points for his 11th final table of the year. He now sits in 28th place in the POY race.

Hecklen was the next to fall. The Triton Madrid main event winner got his last 11 big blinds in with AClub SuitQHeart Suit leading the ADiamond Suit10Heart Suit of Punsri, but a ten-high flop left him in rough shape with two cards to come. The turn and river changed nothing and Hecklen was eliminated in fourth place ($946,000).

Three-handed play began with Punsri and Malinowski well out in front of short-stack Wayne Heung. That didn’t stop the two chip leaders from clashing in a massive pot that more or less decided the winner. Punsri min-raised from the button with 10Heart Suit10Club Suit and Malinowski three-bet to 1,125,000 holding ASpade SuitKHeart Suit in the small blind. Heung bowed out and Punsri four-bet shoved for 10,300,000. Malinowski called having Punsri barely covered. The board ran out JHeart SuitJDiamond Suit8Heart Suit6Heart Suit8Club Suit and Punsri held to take a commanding lead.

Malinowski was eliminated in third place a few minutes later, earning $1,210,000 for his deep run. Punsri held a massive lead to start heads-up play. It didn’t take him long to convert that advantage into the title. All of the chips got into the middle with Heung holding AHeart Suit9Club Suit against the AClub Suit8Diamond Suit of Punsri. The 8Diamond Suit3Spade Suit3Heart SuitKSpade Suit7Club Suit runout gave Punsri eights and threes for the win. Heung took home $1,825,000 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Punnat Punsri $2,600,000 1,080 550
2 Wayne Heung $1,825,000 900 450
3 Wiktor Malinowski $1,210,000 720 400
4 Henrik Hecklen $946,000 540 284
5 Jason Koon $762,000 450 229
6 Gregoire Auzoux $595,000 360 179
7 Artur Martirosian $470,000 270 141
8 Artem Vezhenkov $366,000 180 110

Photo credits: Joe Giron/Triton Poker.