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Michael Soyza Earns $1.7 Million As Triton Cyprus $75,000 Buy-In Champion

The Malaysian Player Overcame An 87-Entry Field To Secure His Second-Largest Career Score


It’s been quite the spring for Michael Soyza. The Malaysian poker player has recorded the two largest paydays of his tournament career in recent months, starting with a career-best $2.2 million payday for a runner-up showing in the Triton Vietnam $100,000 main event back in March. He followed that with the second-largest score on his resume, taking down the $75,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at the Triton Cyprus festival for $1,735,000. These two cashes alone account for nearly $4 million of his $14.5 million in lifetime earnings.

Soyza outlasted a field of 87 entries for his most recent victory, overcoming a stacked final table on his way to the title. The win conferred 816 Card Player Player of the Year points upon him, bringing his total to 2,439. With four final-table finishes, one title, and more than $4.2 million in to-date POY earnings, Soyza is now the 22nd-ranked player in this year’s POY race standings presented by Global Poker.

This tournament ran from May 16-17 inside the Merit Royal Diamond Hotel & Spa in North Cyprus. The strong turnout resulted in a prize pool of $6,525,000 that was split up amongst the top 13 finishers. Day 2 began with 49 contenders still remaining. It took nearly eight hours to set the unofficial final table of nine, with four-time Triton event winner Mikita Badziakouski in the lead and Soyza essentially tied for third chip position.

Soyza scored a double elimination to narrow the field to seven, with all of the chips getting in on a JClub Suit10Spade Suit6Spade Suit flop. Mikalai Vaskaboinikau held AClub SuitJSpade Suit for top pair with the top kicker, while Artur Martirosian had QSpade SuitQClub Suit for an overpair to the board. Soyza had ASpade SuitADiamond Suit for an even larger overpair, and also had both of his opponents converted. The 6Heart Suit turn and 7Spade Suit river saw
Vaskaboinikau (9th – $182,500) and Martirosian (8th – $241,500) eliminated, while Soyza surged up the chip counts.

This was Martirosian’s ninth final-table finish of the year, with one title won and more than $3.2 million in POY earnings accrued along the way. As a result, he climbed into fifth place on the POY leaderboard.

Bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion Dylan Linde soon followed to the rail when he got his last seven or so big blinds in with K-J facing the pocket queens of four-time bracelet winner Michael Addamo. Queens full of nines secured the pot for the Australian high-stakes superstar, ending Linde’s run in seventh place ($310,000).

Two-time Triton event winner Matthias Eibinger was the next to fall, with his A-K suited losing a preflop race to the pocket tens of Soyza. Eibinger took home $391,500 for his sixth-place showing.

Recent $50,000 buy-in seven-max event winner Viacheslav Buldygin also got all-in with overcards facing pocket tens yet again for Soyza. His A-J found no held on a king-high runout and he was eliminated in fifth place, securing $502,500 to bring his haul for the series to more than $1.9 million.

With that, Soyza took a sizable chip lead into four-handed play with three of the most successful no-limit hold’em tournament players in the game: Mikita Badziakouski ($43.3 million in prior earnings), Dan Smith ($41.7 million in prior earnings), and Michael Addamo ($25.5 million in prior earnings).

Dan SmithSmith added $623,000 to his tally when he was sent packing in fourth place. Smith got all-in for roughly nine big blinds with 10-8 suited trailing the pocket queens of Soyza. A queen on the flop gave Soyza a set and a massive lead in the hand, which he never relinquished. This was Smith’s sixth final-table showing of the year, with one victory and more than $2.3 million in POY earnings acquired so far in 2023. He now ranks 33rd in the POY standings after this latest deep run.

Addamo managed a couple of double-ups to give himself some wiggle room, but was soon all-in again with A-9 trailing the pocket jacks of Soyza. An ace in the window put Addamo ahead briefly, but a jack behind it gave Soyza a set and a stranglehold on the hand. A blank on the turn left Addamo officially drawing dead. He took home $796,000 as the third-place finisher.

Heads-up play began with Soyza holding more than a 5:1 chip lead over Badziakouski. Badziakouski managed to claw his way back into the match, and then picked up A-J against A-10 and held to nearly even the playing field. Shortly after that, the final hand of the event was dealt.

Badziakouksi limped in from the button with 7Club Suit6Diamond Suit and Soyza raised big from the big blind with 10Diamond Suit5Heart Suit. The flop came down JHeart Suit10Spade Suit8Heart Suit and Soyza checked his middle pair. Badziakouski made roughly a third-pot bet and Soyza called. The turn brought the 8Diamond Suit and Soyza checked again. Badziakouski unleashed another barrel, this time sizing up to roughly half the size of the pot. Soyza hung around and the river brought the 2Heart Suit. Badziakouski moved all-in for around 4.1 million and after some thought, Soyza made the call to win the pot and the title.

Badziakouski earned $1,200,000 as the runner-up finisher. This was his third seven-figure score of the month. He placed second in the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo €100,000 high roller for $1,080,543 on May 1. Five days later, he took down a €25,000 buy-in event at the same series for $1,003,705. He now has more than $3.8 million in to-date POY earnings, secured across five final-table finishes in 2023. As a result, he has moved into 18th place in the POY rankings.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Michael Soyza $1,735,000 816
2 Mikita Badziakouski $1,200,000 680
3 Michael Addamo $796,000 544
4 Dan Smith $623,000 408
5 Viacheslav Buldygin $502,500 340
6 Matthias Eibinger $391,500 272
7 Dylan Linde $310,000 204
8 Artur Martirosian $241,500 136

Photo credit: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.