Aaron Zang Wins Poker’s Richest Tournament, the Triton Million

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Aaron Zang wins Triton Million
Aaron Zang captured the richest title in tournament poker history by winning the Triton Million (photo: Triton Poker/Joe Giron)

Aaron Zang has done it! On Saturday, he captured the title in poker’s richest-ever tournament, winning the £1,050,000 buy-in Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity for £13,779,791 in prize money.

Zang topped a mixed field of 54 businessmen, recreational players, and the game’s top professionals to capture the title. Entering the Triton Million, Zang, who is known as a high-stakes cash game player, had less than $900,000 in live tournament earnings.

Originally set to pay the winner £19,000,000, a heads-up deal was struck between Zang and his final opponent, Bryn Kenney, that saw Zang take £13,779,791 and Kenney take £16,890,509. With a conversion rate that puts Kenney’s prize north of $20,400,000, Kenney is now the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. That is rather fitting as Kenney now sits atop poker’s all-time money list, as recorded by Hendon Mob, as a result of the finish.

Triton Million Results

1st: Aaron Zang – £13,779,791*
2nd: Bryn Kenney – £16,890,509*
3rd: Dan Smith – £7,200,000
4th: Stephen Chidwick – £4,410,000
5th: Vivek Rajkumar – £3,000,000
6th: Bill Perkins – £2,200,000
7th: Alfred DeCarolis – £1,720,000
8th: Timothy Adams – £1,400,000
9th: Wai Leong Chan – £1,200,000
10th: Chin Wei Lim – £1,100,000
11th: Winfred Yu – £1,100,000

*First and second prizes as a result of a heads-up deal.

Zang began the third and final day of the tournament in sixth place on the leaderboard with eight players remaining, but the early story of the final table was the demise of Vivek Rajkumar, who entered with a big chip lead over the rest of the field.

First, Bill Perkins scored a double through Rajkumar when his pocket nines held up against Rajkumar’s pocket fours on Hand #9. Perkins then doubled again through Rajkumar on Hand #30 when his pocket sevens held up against Rajkumar’s AcKh. Despite the two hits to his stack, Rajkumar maintained his lead.

Not too long after Perkins scored his second double up of the day, Zang took his turn doubling through Rajkumar. Both players had the same hand, ace-jack, but it was Zang’s AdJh that made a flush against Rajkumar’s AcJd after the board ran out Ts8h4h3hTh. That brought Rajkumar back to the pack and his closest competitor was Kenney, who had rather quietly worked his way up to an eight-figure chip stack.

Rajkumar was able to get things moving in the right direction when, on Hand #49, he knocked out Timothy Adams in eighth place. Right after that, on Hand #50, Stephen Chidwick scored a double up through Rajkumar, forcing Rajkumar to give a good chunk of the chips he had just won to someone else. Chidwick used those newly acquired chips to then knock out Alfred DeCarolis on Hand #51, closing out quite the exciting three-hand run of action.

Things only got worse for Rajkumar on Hand #56. On the Tc9s4h flop, Dan Smith held the JhJc to Rajkumar’s Th9h. All the money went in and it was Smith’s overpair up against Rajkumar’s top two pair. It was a good spot for Rajkumar, but the turn was the 3d and the river the Js to give Smith the huge double into the chip lead. Rajkumar was knocked down to the second shortest stack with six players remaining.

Perkins grabbed another double up through Rajkumar on Hand #66, which knocked Rajkumar down to the bottom of the pack. Rajkumar fought on, though, and it was eventually Perkins who busted in sixth place. Kenney was the one to bust Perkins, holding the AsAd to Perkins’ KhTd.

With six players left and the blinds at 150,000-300,000 with a 300,000 big blind ante on Hand #88, Zang shoved all in for 11,375,000 from the small blind with the 8d7d. Kenney was in the big blind with a stack of 7,775,000 and called holding the 9c9s. The flop, turn, and river ran out Jh9d3h6dQs and Kenney survived a big sweat to score the double.

Rajkumar was next out, busting in fifth place on Hand #91. Like Perkins, Rajkumar also ran into the aces of Kenney. That allowed Kenney to take the chip lead, but it didn’t last long because Zang flopped top two pair versus Kenney’s top pair on Hand #100 and doubled through Kenney.

Despite Zang doubling through him, Kenney powered on and began to run away with the lead for some time. It looked like it really was going to be Kenney’s tournament, and even more so after he busted Chidwick in fourth place. Kenney didn’t stop there, busting Smith in third and taking quite a large chip lead into heads-up play.

Heads-up play didn’t last too long, but it was the underdog Zang who stormed back in the match. First, Zang found a double up with pocket sixes against Kenney’s KsQd to close the gap. Then, Zang moved into the chip lead after he made a full house and allowed Kenney to bluff off some chips to him. Shortly after that, it was all over.

On the final hand, the two found the money in the middle on the 8s4s3c flop. Kenney had the As6s for a flush draw, and Zang had the 8d5d for top pair. The turn was the 9c and the river was the Kd to secure Zang the win.