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[caption width="640"] Elton Tsang now has another =97% million to his name after winning the 2016 Big One for One Drop (WSOP photo / Neil Stoddart)[/caption] The biggest buy-in event in poker history was designed to be different than any other big buy-in event ever. The 2016 Big One for One Drop had a buy-in of €1,000,000 ($1.1 million US) and for the first time in the history of the event, no pros allowed, just rich businessmen who play the game as a hobby. Elton Tsang outlasted 26 other players - some who entered more than once - to win €11,111,111 ($12,189,918 US) and a special edition WSOP bracelet. Tsang, who has had some success in super high roller events in Asia over the years, beat out a final table that included Brandon Steven, Rick Salomon, James Bord, Haralabos Voulgaris and Andrew Pantling to win the third largest first place payout in poker history, behind only the first two version of the Big One for One Drop. “I was feeling good, feeling comfortable, getting cards, my bluffs were working, getting a good read on the table,” said Tsang. “It was just going my way. It was going good.” Tsang came into the final table with the third biggest stack, trailing only Pantling and Salomon. On the second hand of the night however, Tsang took the chip lead for himself after taking a big pot from Pantling. Voulgaris and Steven were both eliminated outside of an in-the-money finish before Tsang went back to work building his stack and eliminating his opponents. From the hijack, Tsang rasied to 1,300,000 and Pantling moved all in from the big blind. Tsang called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="9c"] and found himself ahead of Pantling’s [poker card="ks"][poker card="3s"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2c"] flop wasn’t a great one for Pantling but he did improve on the turn, picking up a straight draw when the [poker card="4c"] hit. The [poker card="8s"] river was no help and Pantling, one of two players to enter this event twice, was eliminated in sixth place. The €1,500,000 payout however, wasn’t enough to cover his buy-ins. Tsang picked up the next elimination just 20 hands later. Bord raised to 1,500,000 from UTG, Tsang put in a button-raise to 4,000,000 and Katz called off his final 2,125,000 from the small blind. Bord folded, leaving Tsang heads-up against Katz. Katz, who is a super high roller regular in Las Vegas, turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] while Tsang showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Tsang the lead and neither the [poker card="3c"] turn or [poker card="4c"] river were any relief and he was out in fifth place. Just 25 hands later Anatoly Gurtovoy raised to 2,000,000 from UTG, Tsang called from the button as did Bord, from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5d"] and Gurtovoy fired 3,000,000 into the middle, Tsang folded and Bord moved all in for 12,000,000. Gurtovoy called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] for top pair, top kicker while Bond flipped over [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] for top pair, worse kicker. The turn was the [poker card="9h"] and the river was the [poker card="js"] to send Bord, 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event champion, was sent home in fourth place. Rick Salomon, who finished fourth at the 2014 Big One for One Drop in Las Vegas, was the next to go. Tsang opened to 2,600,000 from the button, Salomon moved all in fro 15,600,000 and Gurtovoy called, forcing Tsang to fold. Salomon got the bad news when he turned up [poker card="qs"][poker card="jc"] only to find out Gurtovoy had [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4s"] flop put Salomon ahead, but the [poker card="ad"] turn changed all of that and when the river was the [poker card="8s"] the former husband of Pamela Anderson was out in third place. When heads-up play began, Tsang had a 2-1 chip lead over Gurtovoy. It took 45 hands of one-on-one play for Tsang to finish the job. Gurtovoy opened to 3,200,000 and Tsang called. The flop was [poker card="qc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"] and both players checked. The [poker card="2h"] turn got a check from Tsang before Gurtovoy bet 3,000,000. Tsang raised to 9,000,000 and Gurtovoy moved all in. Tsang called and flipped over [poker card="6c"][poker card="5h"] for a six-high straight while Gurtovoy showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"] for a lower straight. The [poker card="jc"] river changed nothing, giving Tsang the final pot of the night and the third Big One for One Drop title. The Monte Carlo event drew 26 players with just two players, tournament founder Guy Laliberte and the previously mentioned Pantling, taking advantage of the unlimited re-entry. Payouts Elton Tsang - €11,111,111 Anatoly Gurtovoy - €5,427,781 Rick Salomon - €3,000,000 James Bord - €2,100,000 Cary Katz - €1,750,000 Andrew Pantling - €1,500,000
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.
The 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series London kicks off this week with the biggest buy-in in tournament poker history as the highlight. Deemed the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity, the event has a gargantuan £1,050,000 buy-in, of which £1,000,000 goes to the prize pool and £50,000 goes towards charitable causes. The Triton Million takes place at London Hilton on Park Lane and is sponsored by partypoker LIVE. It is scheduled as a three-day event from August 1-3. Charitable causes to benefit include Caring For Children Foundation, R.E.G., Healthy Hong Kong, Credit One World Charity, and One Drop. Triton Million Provides Unique Twist The Triton Million has a freezeout format with a rather unique twist to it. It’s invite-only. Invited players were issued invitations from a committee, and these players are of the recreational or businessman or woman variety. Those fortunate enough to receive invitations can then issue one invitation of their own to a guest player. The guest player can be a professional poker player. This allows for the field to be at least a 50% businessmen. For the first six hours of tournament play, the two player pools will be separated, such that the recreational/businessmen and women compete against one another and the guests/professionals play against one another. Furthermore, players will be asked to dress in formal attire for the final table. The Triton Million field has 25 businessmen signed up. Let’s take a look at them. Paul Phua [caption id="attachment_625843" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Paul Phua (photo: Triton Poker)[/caption] Paul Phua has been around the ultra high-stakes poker scene for nearly a decade now, amassing more than $11,400,000 in live tournament earnings and cashing in some of the richest poker events in the world. He has two victories on record, first in the Aspers £100,000 High Roller in 2012 for £1,000,000 ($1,621,297) and second in the Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza €100,000 High Roller for €752,700 ($825,619). As for his business exploits that have earned him a fortune, Phua has been a well-known junket operator for some of the world’s richest and he’s been in the news as the "world's biggest bookie," having his Caesars Palace villa raided in July 2014 for running an illegal gambling operation. The raid came just about a month after Phua was arrested in Macau under similar charges. Phua's guest player for the Triton Million is Tom Dwan. Cary Katz [caption id="attachment_625842" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Cary Katz (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Cary Katz is the man atop the Poker Central organizational chart, having founded the company in 2015. Prior to that, he was founder and CEO of one of the largest student loan companies in the United States. On the felt, Katz has nearly $20,000,000 in live tournament earnings, including a career-best score of €1,750,000 ($1,929,203) when he finished fifth in the 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza €1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. In January 2018, Katz won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller to the tune of $1,492,340, and he placed eighth in the 2014 WSOP $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for $1,306,667. Katz's guest player for the Triton Million is Bryn Kenney. Rob Yong [caption id="attachment_625844" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Rob Yong (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Rob Yong is the owner of Dusk Till Dawn Poker & Casino in Nottingham, UK. Under Yong’s watchful eye, Dusk Till Dawn was built into what is considered to be one of the best card rooms in the world, with top-tier brands such as the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, partypoker, and UK & Ireland Poker Tour holding events there. Yong is now heavily involved with partypoker and partypoker LIVE, helping to grow these two brands in the online and live realms, respectively. Although his live tournament results amount to only a little more than $330,000, Yong has been a regular at some of the highest stakes in the world, specifically when it comes to cash games. At the table, he’s an entertaining competitor who doesn’t shy away from risk and will liven up any game. Yong's guest player for the Triton Million is Sam Trickett. Talal Shakerchi [caption id="attachment_625845" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Talal Shakerchi (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Talal Shakerchi is a player from the recreational/businessmen category that could likely fit into the professional poker player category. He doesn’t have the most live tournament earnings, with more than $7,300,000 won in his career, but make no mistake about it, Shakerchi is a grinder. For quite some time, Shakerchi kept his online poker name a secret so others in the high-stakes community wouldn’t realize his ability or the amount of volume he was putting in. On the business side, Shakerchi is an investment manager, running Meditor Capital Management Limited, which he founded. Shakerchi's guest player for the Triton Million is Igor Kurganov. Antanas 'Tony G' Guoga [caption id="attachment_625841" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Antanas 'Tony G' Guoga (photo: Triton Poker)[/caption] Antanas Guoga, who is best known as 'Tony G' in the poker world, is another player listed in the recreational/businessmen category that could very well be considered a professional poker player. At least that’s what he used to be. Now a politician and Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament, Guoga is rarely seen on the poker scene these days. He is the founder of PokerNews.com and TonyBet. Guoga boasts more than $6,000,000 in live tournament earnings and became famous for his brash table talk. His biggest cash came at the European Poker Tour Grand Final €25,500 High Roller in 2009, when he took third for €420,000 ($552,239). He won the 2005 European Poker Championships Main Event for £260,000 ($456,822) and placed second in the World Poker Tour €10,000 Grand Prix de Paris for €339,930 ($414,478) in 2004. Guoga's guest player for the Triton Million is Fedor Holz. Additional Triton Million players from the recreational/businessmen category are listed below, with their guest players in parentheses. Richard Yong (Dan Cates) Stanley Choi (David Peters) Wai Kin Yong (Rui Cao) Bobby Baldwin (Jason Koon) Liang Yu (Mikita Badziakouski) Ivan Leow (Timofey Kuznetsov) Alfred DeCarolis (Stephen Chidwick) Chin Wei Lim (Wai Leong Chan) Chow Hing Yaung (Christoph Vogelsang) Pat Madden (Nick Petrangelo) Sosia Jiang (Sam Greenwood) Qiang Wang (Elton Tsang) Zang Shu Nu (Tan Xuan) Leon Tsoukernik (Martin Kabrhel) Orpen Kisacikoglu (Matthias Eibinger) Ferdinand Putra (Justin Bonomo) Rick Salomon (Vivek Rajkumar) Bill Perkins (Dan Smith) Winfred Yu (Danny Tang) Andrew Pantling (Andrew Robl) Ben Wu (Michael Soyza) 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.