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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 [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kh"]. 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 [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jh"] that made a flush against Rajkumar’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jd"] after the board ran out [poker card="Ts"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3h"][poker card="Th"]. 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 [poker card="Tc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="4h"] flop, Dan Smith held the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Jc"] to Rajkumar’s [poker card="Th"][poker card="9h"]. 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 [poker card="3d"] and the river the [poker card="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 [poker card="As"][poker card="Ad"] to Perkins’ [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Td"]. 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 [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"]. Kenney was in the big blind with a stack of 7,775,000 and called holding the [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. The flop, turn, and river ran out [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="Qs"] 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 [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qd"] 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 [poker card="8s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3c"] flop. Kenney had the [poker card="As"][poker card="6s"] for a flush draw, and Zang had the [poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"] for top pair. The turn was the [poker card="9c"] and the river was the [poker card="Kd"] to secure Zang the win.
The 2019 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series wrapped up its festival of high-stakes events in London last week. There were seven events, headlined by the £1,050,000 buy-in Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity and several million-dollar scores were had. Chief among them was Bryn Kenney with his £16,890,509 result, that converted to $20,563,324. The monstrous score earned Kenney the largest payday in poker history and put him atop the all-time money list. Kenney wasn’t the only big winner, though. Here’s a look at the biggest winners from the 2019 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series London. Top 20 2019 Triton Poker Series London Money List 1. Bryn Kenney - £16,890,509 ($20,563,324) 2. Aaron Zang - £13,779,491 ($16,775,920) 3. Dan Smith - £7,245,300 ($8,820,778) 4. Stephen Chidwick - £5,383,800 ($6,553,948) 5. Wai Kin Yong - £4,426,695 ($5,386,804) 6. Paul Phua - £3,582,305 (4,359,418) 7. Vivek Rajkumar - £3,000,000 ($3,652,345) 8. Justin Bonomo - £2,871,600 ($3,494,073) 9. Bill Perkins - £2,200,000 ($2,678,386) 10. Timothy Adams - £1,899,000 ($2,311,845) 11. Alfred De Carolis - £1,720,000 ($2,094,011) 12. David Benefield - £1,578,600 ($1,919,582) 13. Chin Lim - £1,561,300 ($1,900,134) 14. Wai Chan- £1,550,300 ($1,887,269) 15. Xu Liang - £1,452,900 ($1,767,878) 16. Ben Heath - £1,393,100 ($1,695,407) 17. Charlie Carrel - £1,321,000 ($1,601,853) 18. Linus Loeliger - £1,284,000 ($1,560,327) 19. Christopher Soyza - £1,242,300 ($1,511,921) 20. Jason Koon - £1,177,500 ($1,428,868) Kenney sits atop the series’ leaderboard thanks to his historic score. An interesting note about the score is that, while it broke the record for poker’s largest single tournament score, it was for a second-place finish in the event. Aaron Zang, who is second on this list, actually won the Triton Million event, but a deal with Kenney allowed Kenney to take more money. As a brief aside, Kenney’s 2019 has been absolutely incredible. He’s won nearly $30,000,000 in 2019 and this year alone would have him ranked #10 on poker’s all-time money list. Of note, Kenney won the Aussie Millions Main Event and was the fifth biggest winner from that entire series. Dan Smith and Stephen Chidwick are third and fourth on the list, respectively, and both placed in this positions in the Triton Million. But unlike Kenney and Zang ahead of them, Smith and Chidwick cashed in more events than just the £1,050,000 headliner. Smith took 15th in the £25,000 6-Handed No Limit Hold’em Turbo event for £45,300 ($55,150). Chidwick cashed in three other events for an additional £973,800 ($1,185,001) on top of the £4,410,000 ($5,368,947) he cashed for in the Triton Million. Chidwick took sixth in the £50,000 Short Deck Ante-Only event, seventh in the £100,000 Triton Main Event, and ninth in the £100,000 Short Deck Main Event. The next two names on the list, Wai Kin Yong and Paul Phua, did not cash in the Triton Million, so their performances over the course of the rest of the series must have been pretty good if they landed this high on the leaderboard. Yong won the £100,000 Triton Main Event for £2,591,695 ($3,154,064), and the player he beat was Phua, who took £2,558,305 ($3,113,429) for second place after the two struck a deal. Yong then took second in the £100,00 Short Deck Main Event for £1,835,000 ($2,232,740). Interestingly enough, Phua also went deep in that one, finishing fourth for £974,500 ($1,185,725). Phua added a third cash to his performance. Timothy Adams found himself as the 10th biggest earner from the series, having cashed a total of three times including once in the Triton Million. Outside of the top 10, David Benefield, Chin Lim, Wai Chan, Jason Koon, and Isaac Haxton also cashed three times at the festival. All told, 24 players cashed for at least $1,000,000 at the series. The 20 listed above were joined by Winfred Yu, Sam Greenwood, Haxton, and Rui Cao as seven-figure winners.
If you were somehow able to plug your headphones into the music that plays in Bryn Kenney's head every day, you might find yourself suddenly out of step. Kenney does not keep pace with his companions and, quite clearly, the man hears a very different drummer. When the final table of the Triton Million event wrapped up, it was Aaron Zang posing for winner photos and doing the requisite post-win interviews with the assembled media after having won the biggest buy-in poker tournament in history. But just a few feet away, Kenney was busy arranging for his $20.5 million payout - nearly $4 million more than Zang and the largest single score in poker history - for finishing as the runner-up. Kenney now sits alone atop the Hendon Mob's all-time earnings list with $55.5 million in live tournament winnings, a position he long expected to hold. The reality of it though is finally hitting the 32-year-old. "I guess it's sinking in a bit. It feels pretty sick, almost surreal. Even though I always said that I would get it," Kenney said. "It's cool to set a goal for yourself and to hit it. It's amazing." Now that he's got the #1 spot, Kenney - who has never displayed a lack of confidence - doesn't think anybody else is ever going to catch him. Justin Bonomo, who held the #1 spot before Kenney, now sits second, some $7 million behind. "I just feel like everybody is a nice bit behind me now. I'm at the top of my game, playing so well, feeling so good. There's just lots of high roller tournaments, lots of Super High Roller Bowls and, maybe, more million dollar buy-ins where I just feel like I'm the most comfortable and most relaxed," Kenney said. "Whatever the biggest high roller there is at the time, that's what I've always done well in." The Triton Million was the fifth tournament with a seven-figure buy-in and each time the results have caused seismic shifts on the all-time money list leading many to question the legitimacy of that list. Kenney hears it, sees it on social media, but isn't going to let that diminish the pride he feels after hitting such an almost unreachable goal. "I don't really care at all. People will try to find the reason to criticize anything that they can. It doesn't really bother me. They'll look for any reason to try to shade you or put you down. I mean, I just laugh at any of it," Kenney said. When Kenney and Yang got heads-up, with an $8.9 million difference between first- and second-place payouts, Kenney was more than happy to chop and become the first player to win $20 million in a single tournament. Had Kenney not chopped, and the result stayed the same, Kenney would have taken home $14.1 million for finishing second and Yang would have collected $23 million and put his name in the record books. "As soon as we got heads up, he just asked if I wanted to chop and it was just so much (money). So I was like, 'Oh wow. Why not?' No reason to risk it. Play for six, seven mill, lose a few hands unluckily and lose," Kenney said. " I still wanted to win... (it was) a little brutal to lose the trophy." It's unlikely any of the professional poker players in the Triton Million had 100% of themselves. Kenney won't go into exact details on exactly how much of himself he had, but he'll certainly hint at it. Before the tournament began, Kenney declared that he had more of his personal net worth at stake in this event than any of the other 53 entries. "It was somewhere in the 30% to 40% range," Kenney admitted. "Just myself and this tournament, I just said, 'Fuck it. I don't care.' I just felt like I was gonna win it. If I didn't, I would've been fine to accept it. I just wanted to fire big on myself in the biggest tournament of all time." With six-figure buy-in tournaments now running throughout the year, Kenney doesn't think he's going to play too many events that aren't $100,000 buy-ins or bigger and he's unlikely to miss any event that Triton puts on, no matter where they are in the world. "I really wouldn't mind if I never played another tournament except for Triton and Aussie Millions," Kenney said. That's music to the ears of the Aussie Millions organizers, who will be glad to learn their reigning Main Event champion will be back to try and defend his title. "I love it there. It's a good time of the year. I told my family I was going to take them to Australia before this win even, anyway. I was planning on taking my whole family for Christmas and New Year's to Sydney and then from there I'll wind up going to Melbourne," Kenney said. In the days leading up to the Triton Million, Kenney went looking extra action. He offered to bet on him and his "recreational player" partner, Cary Katz, against any other duo. He found plenty of takers and ended up adding what he claims was more than a Triton Million min-cash was worth to his haul when all was said and done. "Nobody won any of the bets that they had against me and I didn't really turn down any bets either. One bet chopped, but other than that, I scooped every bet that everybody wanted against me. It was just such fun times," Kenney said. "Most of it happened before the final table even started because a lot of the teams that I bet against, all of their players were out when we made the money. So it was already over once the money hit." Entering into the biggest buy-in tournament of all-time requires a very high level of self-confidence. Kenney was happy to book extra bets because he looked at the tournament format and felt it played right into his strengths. "I just thought I was more prepared than everybody else. I thought it was a tournament that was set for me. I kind of just wanted to talk shit to everybody too, and maybe get in everyone's head a little bit and make them think that I was overconfident and maybe was just going to be overzealous and maybe not as prepared as I was," Kenney said. "Me against everybody, just the way I like it." The Triton Million had a number of rules different from nearly any other poker tournament in the world. The rules were geared towards making the event a first-class affair from start to finish, top to bottom. Players couldn't cover their face with a scarf, or sunglasses or a cap, with exceptions for players at the TV table bothered by the lights. There was also a dress code for the final table. "A formal suit will be required to be worn at the final table," the rules read. Kenney had no intention of wearing a suit though, at least not a conventional sports coat, dress shirt, tie combination. The proud New Yorker showed up wearing an outfit he had made during a recent trip to Japan that showcased his love for his hometown. While the seven other players at the final table all showed up embracing the sports coat look, Kenney says nobody from Triton said a word to him about his attire before play began and feels he was still better dressed than some of his opponents. "Everybody knows me. Even the people in charge, they kind of knew that I wasn't going to come in with a suit because it's not really my style. But at the same time I was going to come in with something swag. I mean everybody else wore a suit," Kenney said. "I didn't do anything disrespectful. I didn't mean anything disrespectful at all. I mean, if everyone was coming (dressed) in Tom Ford suits and dressing all A-plus, top-top, no problem. You want me to get a Tom Ford suit? That's fine. But you know if people are bringing their Marshalls suit for the million dollar tournament, I mean, I don't really see the need for me to wear some whatever suit too." Standing by himself on top of the all-time money list, Kenney scrolls through the names below him and sees a number of players who follow and preach the 'Game Theory Optimal' gospel and takes an extra bit of pride in knowing he got where is by doing things his own way. "That's the thing. Poker is a game of making good decisions and maybe if you're doing all this and thinking you need to play the same way always, maybe you're kind of overlooking some things that you should also be looking at," Kenney said. "I feel like poker is a much more complicated game than people really give it (credit for) and anyone thinking that it's just a numbers game, that you could crunch numbers and make the same decisions always, I really think that they couldn't really be more off."
As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. Even though it was August, the WSOP Main Event was back in the headlines, as a player that was disqualified from the tournament had a terrorism charge brought against him and another player was being sued over a staking deal. Ken Strauss Arrested and Charged for Terroristic Threat Ken Strauss, who was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, was taking into custody and charged with making terroristic threats against a Las Vegas casino. The charge stemmed from Strauss’ social media activity at the end of July. In a tweet, Strauss threatened the Venetian Resort. WSOP Main Event Seventh-Place Finisher Sued Another big story from August that had WSOP Main Event ties was a lawsuit involving seventh-place finisher Nick Marchington. The 21-year-old Marchington won $1.525 million for his result, but he was soon hit with a lawsuit from two men who claimed to have bought a 10% piece of his WSOP Main Event action. David Yee and Colin Hartley, partners in C Biscuit Poker Staking, alleged that Marchington attempted to back out of a staking deal after he had agreed to sell 10% of his action to them for the WSOP's $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em and Main Event tournaments. There were many questions surrounding the situation, most of which focused on the conversations had between the two parties and if the deal was on or off. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Aaron Zang Wins Poker’s Richest Tournament With a buy-in of £1.05 million, the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity became poker’s richest tournament. It was also set to award some absolutely mammoth paydays. Topping the field of 54 entries was Aaron Zang, who won £13.779 million. But, Zang wasn’t the event’s biggest winner. A heads-up deal between Zang and Bryn Kenney saw Kenney take home £16.89 million. The conversion rate put the score north of $20.4 million for Kenney, making him the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. 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. For more on this incredible tournament, go back and read the PocketFives recap. Bryn Kenney Doing His Own Thing and Crushing Speaking of Bryn Kenney, PocketFives’ Lance Bradley had the opportunity to sit down with Kenney for an interview. Even though he’s younger, Kenney isn’t often thought of as the same wizard-like player that his peers are. Kenney would be the first to admit it, too, but with a style all to his own he put together a tremendous year of poker in 2019. Checking in on Kenney’s stats on Hendon Mob, we can see that Kenney has more than $56 million in live tournament earnings and is atop poker’s all-time money list. As we mentioned before, he’s also the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. In 2019, Kenney won more than $30 million. Take some time and read the special feature story on this special player. PSPC Going To Barcelona in 2020 The first-ever PokerStars Players Championship was a smashing success, becoming the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history. PokerStars wanted to run it back, only in a different location, and announced that the PSPC would be heading to Barcelona, Spain. Taking place August 20-24, the 2020 PSPC will be part of the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona that is ever so popular with players. Platinum Passes are back and currently being given out through a variety of promotions from PokerStars, and this event is anticipated to be even larger than the first. ‘Girafganger7’ Wins Monthly PLB in August 'Girafganger7,' a former top-ranked online poker player in the world, earned his second PocketFives Monthly PLB title by topping the leaderboard in August. He put in a ton of volume and accumulated 2,399 points from more than 120 results. He won just over $125,000 from those results. His August was highlighted by a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $530 Bounty Builder HR for $13,519.