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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.
Triton Poker set out to make poker history this week and they most certainly will and in more ways than one. Not only does the Triton Million’s £1,050,000 buy-in ($1,273215) make it the largest buy-in tournament in history, but with 54 players helping generate a prize pool of £54,000,000 ($65,611,361) the first place prize of £19,000,000 ($23,085,479) makes it the largest single tournament payout of all time. Million Dollar Payouts It’s not just first place that is going to find themselves flush after the Triton Million comes to an end. With an astronomical buy-in, Triton officials decided to flatten out the payouts opting to award 11 of the 54 registered players (20%) some piece of the prize pool. Granted, the players that just squeak into the money will be earning little more than their money back ($1,335,923) but a final table finish, resulting in a payday of $1,457,371 would make for a career-high cash for 20 of the participants including pros Andrew Robl, Vivek Rajkumar, Michael Soyza, and Matthias Eibinger. Triton Million Official Payouts Place Approx USD 1 $23,074,354 2 $14,176,836 3 $8,743,966 4 $5,355,679 5 $3,643,319 6 $2,671,767 7 $2,088,898 8 $1,700,266 9 $1,457,371 10 $1,335,923 11 $1,335,923 Eight-Figure Paydays The massive payouts of the Triton Million will add two more players into the extremely elite club of poker players who have earned themselves an eight-figure payday at the poker table. The addition of the first and second place scores makes for a total of ten $10M+ paydays in history and offers the current All Time Money List leader Justin Bonomo and the UK’s Sam Trickett the honor of being the first player to accomplish that remarkable score twice in their career. Until the Triton Million only the World Series of Poker’s $1 Million buy-in Big One For One Drop and the WSOP Main Event offered players the opportunity to hit such heights. The only exception was the 2016 Big One For One Drop Monte-Carlo Extravaganze one-off where Elton Tsang took home over $12.2 million in the invite-only tournament that excluded all of the world’s top players. History of Eight-Figure Paydays Year Event Place Player Payout 2019 Triton Million 1st TBD $23,085,479 2012 WSOP Big One For One Drop 1st Antonio Esfandiari $18,346,673 2014 WSOP Big One For One Drop 1st Daniel Colman $15,306,668 2019 Triton Million 2nd TDB $14,176,836 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza 1st Elton Tsang $12,248,912 2006 WSOP Main Event 1st Jaime Gold $12,000,000 2012 WSOP Big One For One Drop 2nd Sam Trickett $10,112,001 2014 WSOP Main Event 1st Martin Jacobson $10,000,000 2018 WSOP Big One For One Drop 1st Justin Bonomo $10,000,000 2019 WSOP Main Event 1st Hossein Ensan $10,000,000 All Time Money List Possibilities With so much money in the prize pool, there are bound to be some major ramifications to the ever-shifting All Time Money List. At the start of the Triton Million, there were seven players that could possibly surge to the top of the list and overtake current list leader Justin Bonomo. Bonomo himself could put an amazing amount of distance between himself and the rest of the field as he currently holds a roughly $3.1 million lead over the #2-ranked Daniel Negreanu and over $9 million from the #3-ranked Erik Seidel, neither of which are in the Triton Million field. Here’s a look at the players that could make major moves on the ATML should Bonomo not be able to hold them off. Bryn Kenney - With over $34.9 million in total earnings, Kenney could become the new king of the ATML with a win or even a second-place finish. A third-place finish and he will leapfrog Negreanu for second place on the list and any cash will vault him over Seidel in third place, where he only sits $716,117 behind the legend. Jason Koon - The Triton ambassador has been steadily climbing the ATML, currently sitting in 8th place with $28,925,059 in earnings. A victory would send him north of $51 million and into first. A second-place finish in the event is not good enough to take over the top spot but it would put him in second place and within striking distance of #1 at $43 million. Dan Smith - A last-second invite from Bill Perkins puts Smith into the ATML leader mix, where he currently sits at #9 with $27,921,940. His situation is identical to Koon's - a win and he soars to over $50 million. Mikita Badziakouski - The nosebleed crusher from Belarus recently climbed into the #15 spot on the ATML and a win could put him in the top spot with over $48 million. A second-place finish would put him at just over $39 million, currently good for third place. Stephen Chidwick - Generally considered one of the very best tournament players on the planet, the UK savant has the exact same situation as Badziakouski as he only sits less than $3,000 behind him on the ATML. David Peters and Fedor Holz - Peters currently sits at #5 on the ATML and the German phenom, Holz sits right behind him at #6. Both players were among the first five players eliminated from the tournament ending their bid to climb the ATML ladder. Becoming An Instant Legend To say that first place in the Triton Million is massive is an understatement. But just how big is it? To put this first-place prize in perspective, had a player never cashed before, the first place prize alone would put you ranked at #19 on the All-Time Money List. That’s ahead of one of the most famous poker players on the planet, Phil Hellmuth, who has spent over 30 years accumulating his career total of $22,999,083. Second place also puts you in the midst of legends. The over $14 million payday would slot you in at #41 all-time, just ahead of recent bracelet winner Joseph Cheong and right behind 2009 WSOP World Champ Joe Cada. Finally, if the Triton Million third-place prize of over $8.7 million was your first Hendon Mob entry, you would just make it inside the top 100. You start your career at #100 all-time and you’d be the player to knock poker legend Johnny Chan out of the top 100.