The Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity will be a record setter when action kicks off Thursday. The £1,050,000 buy-in tournament will make it the biggest buy-in in poker history, and the event comes with a unique format. It’s a freezeout where recreational/businessmen players can enter via invite only. Those invited can then issue one invite of their own to a guest/professional players. As of Wednesday morning, 26 pairings had been named, but it’s the ‘what could have beens’ that are equally as intriguing.
Let’s take a look at a handful of recreational-professional pairings that we would’ve liked to have seen compete in the Triton Million.
Chamath Palihapitiya and Phil Hellmuth
It’s no secret that Chamath Palihapitiya and Phil Hellmuth have a close relationship. We’ve seen it on Hellmuth’s social media accounts all too often. A former Facebook executive and now a successful investor, Palihapitiya fits the mold of the perfect recreational poker player to enter this field. He’s played poker in the past, including the first-ever World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop that cost $1,000,000 to enter, and has three WSOP cashes and two World Poker Tour cashes.
Being good friends with Hellmuth makes Hellmuth the perfect invitee for Palihapitiya, and getting the polarizing 15-time gold bracelet winner in the field would be very entertaining.
Isai Scheinberg and Daniel Negreanu
Now this, this is a pairing, and we’ll call it ‘getting the band back together.’ The founder of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg, paired with the company’s former golden boy, Daniel Negreanu. It would be absolutely tremendous to see, and we all know both parties have enough money to afford the gigantic £1,050,000 buy-in.
We all know how skillful and experienced of a poker player Negreanu is, but Scheinberg has conquered the felt before, too. He won the UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller in the same year that Negreanu finished second in the 2014 WSOP $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.
Tiger Woods and Antonio Esfandiari
How can we not want to have Antonio Esfandiari, ‘the magician,’ the first-ever $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop winner, in the field? In order to make this happen, he needs a recreational player to invite him. Who bigger and better than Tiger Woods?
You may be asking yourself, does Woods play poker and what’s the connection here? Yes, Woods plays poker. He might not be entering the priciest tournaments in the world as some of these other recreational players are, but he’s the host of Tiger’s Poker Night as part of Tiger Jam, held in partnership with the World Poker Tour each year, so he knows the game. On more than one occasion, Esfandiari has been one of the celebrity professionals to attend Tiger’s Poker Night.
Dan Fleyshman and Phil Ivey
How do we get Phil Ivey in this field? We pair him with Dan Fleyshman, that’s how. Fleyshman doesn’t dabble in poker as he once did, but he’s still around the game enough that he could perform well in this tournament. One of his claims to fame is being the youngest founder of a publicly traded company and he’s an active businessman and investor.
Ivey is Ivey. His star power alone is worthy of entry into a £1,050,000 buy-in tournament, and we all know he has the chops to perform on the felt. He knows Fleyshman, so the pairing works, and we’d absolutely love to see Ivey in the field.
David Einhorn and Erik Seidel
Investor and hedge fund manager David Einhorn may not be a professional poker player, but he’s as avid a recreational player as they come. He’s been known to compete in the highest buy-in poker tournaments the world has to offer, and he took third place for $4,352,000 in the first-ever $1,000,000 buy-in poker tournament the world has ever seen.
With Einhorn being a New York guy, a perfect pairing would be Erik Seidel. Seidel is currently third on poker’s all-time money list with more than $35,000,000 in winnings, he’s an eight-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, and also a WPT champion. Although he’s of an older generation of players, Seidel continues to be a crusher on the high-stakes poker scene and has plenty of experience against the fellow professional players in the field.
Haralabos Voulgaris and Daniel Colman
Since Haralabos Voulgaris’ new gig with the Dallas Mavericks, he hasn’t been around the poker scene much. Not that the former professional sports bettor was grinding every tournament under the sun before he became the NBA team’s Director of Quantitative Research and Development, but Voulgaris was known to get down in the high-stakes arena. Having played a couple million-dollar buy-ins before, this event is right in his wheelhouse.
Voulgaris and Daniel Colman have a relationship that saw Voulgaris on Colman’s rail when Colman won the 2014 WSOP $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. It would also be fitting to see Colman return to poker’s public stage in the largest buy-in event in the game’s history.
Evan Mathis and Alex Foxen
Maybe we’re reaching here, maybe we’re not, but these are dream scenarios so let’s keep rolling with it. Evan Mathis spent 12 years in the NFL and was one of the league’s top offensive lineman. He won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos and reached the Pro Bowl on two occasions. According to Spotrac, Mathis has estimated career earnings from football at more than $21,000,000. He recently grabbed headlines when he sold a 1952 Topps rookie card of Mickey Mantle for nearly $3 million. That’s enough to pay for his entry, his guest’s entry, and have plenty left over.
Sticking with the football tie-in, Mathis’ guest could be Alex Foxen, a former football player for Boston College. These two would be quite the presence on and off the felt and both have the skills to compete.
Richard Seymour and Ryan Riess
Another fantasy Triton Million pairing is Richard Seymour and Ryan Riess. This would give us who is arguably poker’s strongest mainstream connection, Seymour, in the field and the three-time Super Bowl winner has plenty of experience on the felt. He just came off a 131st-place finish in the WSOP Main Event.
A huge sports enthusiast and a player friendly with Seymour is Ryan Riess, winner of the 2013 WSOP Main Event and also a WPT champion.
Steve Aoki and Brian Rast
The last dream pairing we’ll look at involves superstar DJ Steve Aoki and top poker player Brian Rast. The two know each other, so the connection works for the invite, and Aoki has been known to play a bit of poker in his spare time. With Aoki being billed as one of the richest DJs in the world, the cake-tossing music maker should have enough cash to enter. If not, Rast can certainly front or find the money to get Aoki in so that he can play in the event.
How To Watch the Triton Million
Fans from around the world can watch the Triton Million for free on PokerGO. Ali Nejad will call the action, with professional poker player Nick Schulman alongside to provide expert commentary. Action starts Thursday, August 1, at 8 am ET and PokerGO will have coverage for the entirety of the event.
If you don’t already have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code “POCKET5S” for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.