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Aaron Zang Wins Triton Poker Vietnam $100,000 Short Deck Main Event

The Champion of the Largest Buy-In Poker Tournament Ever Held Added Another Huge Title To His Resume After Topping A Field of 49 Entries


Aaron Zang wrote his name in the poker history books back in 2019 when he won the largest buy-in poker tournament ever held. Zang took down the £1,050,00 buy-in Triton Million charity invitational no-limit hold’em event, making a deal before heads-up play that saw him take home more than $16.8 million for the win. Incredibly, that was Zang’s very first live tournament win. This week, Zang secured his second career win in another Triton event. This time around, Zang outlasted a field of 49 entries in the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam $100,000 buy-in short deck main event, earning $1,544,000 for the win.

Zang now has nearly $21.9 million in recorded tournament earnings to his name, with more than $19.5 million of that coming on the Triton tour.

This most recent title run also saw Zang secure 600 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to move him within striking distance of the top 250 in the 2023 POY race presented by Global Poker.

This tournament played out over the course of two days at the Hoiana Resort & Golf in Quang Nam, Vietnam, with the 49-entry turnout narrowed to just 17 entries by the time day 1 concluded. With four late entries joining the field, day 2 began with 21 contenders.

Jason KoonBy the time the official final table of seven was set, Zang had established himself as the clear chip leader. Five-time Triton trophy winner Jason Koon (7th – $257,000) was the first to be sent to the rail at the final table, with his pocket jacks running into the pocket kings of Kiat Lee. This was Koon’s fourth final-table finish of the series and the year. With 1,043 points and more than $1.4 million in to-date POY earnings, Koon now sits inside the top 100 in the POY rankings. With $43,336,912 in career earnings, Koon now sits just in seventh place on poker’s all-time money list, just $533,296 behind sixth-ranked Erik Seidel.

Paul Phua’s run came to an end when his A-Q was unable to hold up against the Q-10 suited of Michael Zhang. The board brought two tens to give Zhang trips, which were good by the river. Phua took home $318,000 as the sixth-place finisher, surpassing $27 million in career earnings in the process.

Four-time Triton champion Mikita Badziakouski got all-in with pocket queens facing the A-7 suited of Zhang, which turned into a straight with the nut flush redraw on the flop. The turn and river kept Zhang ahead and Badziakouski was sent to the rail in fifth place ($416,000). With nearly $41.2 million in earnings, Badziakouski sits directly below Koon on the tournament earnings leaderboard in eighth place.

Zang scored the next knockout, with his 10-9 overcoming the pocket kings of Philip Chiu after the chips went in preflop. Zang made a queen-high straight on the river to eliminate Chiu in fourth place ($540,000). In the following hand, Lee got all-in with A-9 facing the K-10 of Zhang. The flop brought three sevens to keep Lee’s ace high ahead, but a ten on the turn gave Zhang a full house. The river improved him to an even better one, giving him sevens full of kings for the win. Lee earned $710,000 for his fourth final-table finish of the series. With 1,988 points and $1,934,932 in POY earnings, Lee has climbed to 20th place on the POY leaderboard.

With that, Zhang took 7,950,000 into heads-up play with Zang, who held 6,750,000. Zang won a big hand with a flopped straight against the two pair of Zhang to extend his lead moments before the final hand of the event was dealt. The chips all got in preflop with Zang holding ASpade SuitJSpade Suit facing the AHeart SuitKSpade Suit of Zhang. The JClub Suit10Heart Suit8Club Suit8Diamond Suit9Spade Suit runout gave Zang jacks and eights with an ace kicker to secure the pot and the title. Zhang earned $1,115,000 as the runner-up finisher, the largest live tournament score of his career.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Aaron Zang $1,544,000 600
2 Michael Zhang $1,115,000 500
3 Kiat Lee $710,000 400
4 Philip Chiu $540,000 300
5 Mikita Badziakouski $416,000 250
6 Paul Phua $318,000 200
7 Jason Koon $257,000 150

Photo credits: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.