Montenegro Triton Poker Series Was Real-Life Rail Heaven

pearly gates of heaven

The Triton High Roller Series wrapped up last week with renowned players Jason Koon, Phil Ivey, Richard Yong, and Mikita Badziakouski all making huge scores in Montenegro.

Ivey kicked things off by outlasting 61 entries in the first short-deck event, that’s 36 cards with deuces through fives removed, to earn $604,992.

Meanwhile, Malaysian businessman Richard Yong had to beat high-roller legend Steve O’Dwyer heads-up to take down 6-Max event for $388,024.

Belarusian Badziakouski continued his recent hot streak by winning the Triton Main Event for $2.39 million.

The biggest win, however, went to long-time high-stakes pro Jason Koon, who took down the $131K buy-in short deck event for a staggering $3.5 million.

Phil Ivey scores first cash in two years

Ivey, who held the title as the unofficial best poker player in the world for years, has been somewhat absent from the game over the last couple of years.

Prior to this week, he hadn’t recorded a cash since January of 2016 when he placed sixth in a Triton event in Manila for $656,500.

Ivey made up for lost time this week by taking down the $31,847 buy-in Short Deck for $604,992.

The event attracted 61 entries to create a prize pool of $1.8 million. The final nine included noted pros Alan Sass, Koon, and Daniel “jungleman12” Cates.

Cates and Ivey have had some legendary battles playing high-stakes online poker over the years so it was perhaps fitting that they were the final two players left standing.

In the end, Ivey got the better of Cates this time around but the jungleman still took down $407,515 for his efforts in the contest.

Ivey wasn’t finished in Montenegro, however, as we’ll get to later.

Yong Outlasts O’Dwyer, Haxton to Win 6-Max Event for $388K

The $31K 6-Max tournament was the smallest event at this year’s Triton Series in Montenegro but it ended up offering one of the most compelling final tables.

Every name in the final six was a well-known one with Richard Yong, O’Dwyer, Isaac Haxton, Winfred Yu, Richard Leng, and Wai Chan all competing for the $388k first-place prize.

Yong proved that he could swim with the big fish by beating O’Dwyer heads-up to claim the overall prize.

The Malaysian is still considered a part-time poker player but he has nearly $8 million in lifetime live-tournament earnings so his status as a recreational player is up for debate. He also helped found the Triton high roller series.

Meanwhile, O’Dwyer earned $251,719 for finishing second in the tournament and the American is up to a staggering $23 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Badziakouski wins $2.49 million in Main Event

Mikita Badziakouski is starting to get into Fedor Holz territory.

The young Belarusian only started playing high roller events in 2015 and has already earned nearly $10 million in his short time playing the circuit.

Badziakouski, who is known as fish2013 online, outlasted all 63 entries in the $132K buy-in Main Event to take down a hefty $2.49 million.

The final nine included a murderers’ row of high-stakes pros with Dietrich Fast, Manig Loeser, O’Dwyer, Ivan Leow, Steffen Sontheimer, Wai Chan, Peter Jetten, and Rui Cao in the mix.

Badziakouski beat online crusher Rui Cao heads-up to close out the tournament. Cao still locked up $1.6 million for finishing second in the event.

Koon stacks $3.5 Million in short deck monster

Koon has received his share of brutal high-stakes beats over the years but the cards went his way in the mammoth $132k buy-in short deck event to end this year’s Triton series in Montenegro.

The event attracted a 103 entries to create a massive $12.3 million prize pool, which easily eclipsed the Triton Main Event.

Koon outlasted every single entrant in the contest to rake in a stunning $3.5 million. It’s the biggest cash in Koon’s career and will take him to over $15 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Tom Dwan, who’s had a bit of resurgence at the Triton Series in Montenegro, had the unfortunate distinction of getting eliminated by Koon on the money bubble.

The final table didn’t disappoint, however, with a solid collection of names including Jetten, Rui Cao, Yu, Ivey, and Xuan Tan.

Phil Ivey ended up finishing third to bring his overall haul at the Triton series in Montenegro to just over $2 million.

It’s a tidy sum considering Ivey’s last publicly recorded tournament cash was back in 2016. That’s not even taking into account the sizable side games that were taking place in Montenegro.

That left China’s Xuan Tan to face Jason Koon heads-up. Koon had a sizable 2-1 chip lead going into heads-up play.

Tan put in a valiant effort that saw him draw even with Koon but it was at that point the American pro roared back to life and started dominating.

Koon turned a full house with king-queen Tan’s straight with jack-ten to close out the tournament and the series.

Triton’s next series will take place in Jeju, South Korea, in July.