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Michael Watson Wins Fourth Career Triton Poker Title

Canadian Tops Field of 154 Entries In $30,000 Buy-In Event At Triton Montenegro To Earn $1,023,000


Michael Watson is now one of just seven players on the planet with four or more Triton Poker Super High Roller Series titles. The World Poker Tour champion and two-time European Poker Tour main event winner from Canada secured his fourth Triton title by topping a field of 154 entries in the $30,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em eight max event at the ongoing festival in Montenegro. Watson was awarded $1,023,000 for coming out on top, which increased the 40-year-old Toronto resident’s career earnings to more than $27 million.

Watson is now tied with Fedor Holz and Wai Kin Yong for third place on the Triton titles leaderboard. Only ten-time champion Jason Koon and five-time champions Mikita Badziakouski, Phil Ivey, and Danny Tang have secured more trophies on the tour.

“Every time you come to a Triton stop you want to come away with a trophy,” Watson told Triton reporters. “You want to get a win. It feels really good to get one in hold’em now, which I hadn’t done either. Just want to keep adding.”

This was indeed Watson’s first victory in a standard no-limit hold’em tournament on the tour. His first win came in a $50,000 short deck event at the 2023 stop in Vietnam. He then took down a $30,000 pot-limit Omaha event in North Cyprus later that spring. His third title came in a $25,000 short deck event at the Triton Jeju stop this March. He now has more than $10.4 million in Triton earnings across 30 in-the-money finishes.

This was Watson’s third overall title and ninth final-table finish of the year. This latest win earned him 1,008 Card Player Player of the Year points, bringing his total to 4,044. As a result, he surged up the rankings and landed in second place on the 2024 POY leaderboard presented by Global Poker.

The 154-entry turnout for this tournament built a prize pool of $4,620,000 that was split amongst Watson and 26 others who made the money. Among those that cashed were Mikita Badziakouski (24th), recent kickoff event winner Chris Moneymaker (23rd), Dylan Linde (22nd), Punnat Punsri (21st), Adrian Mateos (15th), Fedor Holz (14th), Patrik Antonius (11th), Hossein Ensan (10th), and Stephen Chidwick (9th).

The official final table began with Watson in the lead after sending Chidwick to the rail. Daniel Rezaei (8th – $125,000) was dispatched by Morten Klein early at the final table. Leon Sturm soon followed, with his K-7 suited running into the pocket queens of Kiat Lee. The German bracelet winner earned $173,000 as the seventh-place finisher.

Sirzat Hissou (6th – $238,000) was knocked out next, with his flopped trips running into a turned straight for David Yan. The New Zealander also scored the next knockout, winning a classic preflop race with pocket nines against A-K to end Klein’s run in fifth place ($309,000).

Despite forcing those two eliminations, Yan was ultimately the next to head to the rail. His A-K was unable to hold against the K-Q suited of Lee, who spiked a queen on the flop and held from there to narrow the field to three. Yan earned $387,400 for his fourth-place showing.

Lee soon won another key all-in despite trailing preflop, with his A-7 outrunning the pocket jacks of Biao Ding. An ace-high runout sent the chips to Lee, while Ding headed home in third place ($475,000). This was his seventh POY-qualified final table of the year. With 3,542 total points, he is now the seventh-ranked player in the 2024 standings.

Lee, who had 22 prior cashes in Triton events for over $7 million but had yet to win a title, entered heads-up play with roughly a 3:1 chip lead over Watson. The Canadian eventually scored a massive double-up, getting all-in with a nine-high straight against the top pair of Lee to double into a massive lead. On the very next hand, Lee got all-in for his last few blinds with Q-6 racing against pocket fives for Watson. Lee flopped an open-ended straight draw, but Watson improved to top set. The turn gave Lee a flush draw as well, but a brick on the end brought the tournament to a close. Lee walked away with $691,000 as the runner-up finisher.

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Michael Watson $1,023,000 1008
2 Kiat Lee $691,000 840
3 Biao Ding $475,000 672
4 David Yan $387,400 504
5 Morten Klein $309,000 420
6 Sirzat Hissou $238,000 336
7 Leon Sturm $173,000 252
8 Daniel Rezaei $125,000 168

Photo credits: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.