Chinese businessman Aaron Zang won the biggest buy-in poker tournament ever when he triumphed over 53 opponents in the massive £1,050,000 buy-in partypoker LIVE Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity event in London.
Those 54 entries raised an incredible £2.7 million for charitable causes alongside a gargantuan £54 million prize pool that was shared among the top 11 finishers, with a min0cash weighing in and the eventual champion set to bank £19 million.
Triton Million Final Table Payouts
*reflects a heads-up deal
The money bubble burst on the penultimate day’s play with Igor Kurganov being the unfortunate soul who was the last player to go home empty-handed. Kurganov got his chips into the middle with pocket tens and ran into the pocket jacks of Bill Perkins. The jacks held, Kurganov busted in 12th place and the surviving 11 players guaranteed themselves a payday of at least £1,100,000.
Three players bust inside the money towards the end of Day 2. Winfred Yu busted at the hands of Vivek Rajkumar, Bryn Kenney sent Chin Wei Lim to the rail in 10th place, before Wai Leong Chan was sent to the showers by Canada’s Timothy Adams.
Chan’s exit saw the curtain come down on the action and the official final table of eight returned to their seats on the evening of August 3rd to play for the mammoth-sized prizes.
The First Casualty of the Final Table
Forty-nine hands into the final table, Adams crashed out. With blinds 100,000/200,000/200,000a, Adams opened to 400,000 from the hijack with , Alfred DeCarolis called on the button only to see Rajkumar raise all in for 12,175,000 from the small blind. Adams called, DeCrolis folded, and Rajkumar revealed the .
Rajkumar soared into the lead on the flop and stayed ahead on the turn and river. Game over for Adams.
Two hands later, DeCarolis’ time in the tournament was over. DeCarolis limped from the hijack with , Stephen Chidwick raised to 700,000 from the small blind, DeCarolis jammed all in for 2,750,000 and Chidwick beat him into the pot with a call, as would you if you were sat there with . The board brought no drama and DeCarolis headed for the exits.
Sixth-place was decided on hand 79 and it was Perkins who claimed that finishing position and the £2,200,000 that came with it. Again, it was a pair of aces that undid a player, this time the of Kenney prevailing against Perkins’ .
Aces Again For Kenney
Those remaining five players became four 12 hands later when Kenney found bullets once again. Kenney opened with a raise with and instantly called when Rajkumar three-bet all in for 4,325,000 with what turned out to be . Rajkumar was drawing dead after the turn with the river only rubbing sat in his wounds.
Four-handed play lasted for 46 hands before the waters became slightly less shark-infested with the elimination of Chidwick. Blinds were now 200,000/400,000/400,000a, and Chidwick made it 1,100,000 to go from under the gun. Kenney responded with a 13,500,000 all in three-bet and Chidwick called.
It was a classic coinflip pitting Chidwick’s against Kenney’s . Kenney improved to a pair of kings on the flop and Chidwick couldn’t find either of his two outs on the turn or the river.
Heads-Up Set; Kenney Leads
Heads-up was set a handful of hands later when Kenney jammed from the button with to put the blinds to the test for their remaining chips. Dan Smith called off his 5,050,000 stack with onto the watch the five community cards fall to send him to the rail but not before collecting a cool £7.2 million.
Kenney went into heads-up against Aaron Zang with a massive chip lead but agreed to a deal to lessen the difference between first and second place. Zang clawed his way back into the match when his held against Kenney’s and took the lead after Kenney bluffed with a missed flush draw and Zang held trip kings.
The 160th hand of the final table completed the three days of intense action. Zang raised and Kenney called. The flop saw Kenney initially check, but then check-raise to 5,775,000 when Zang continued for 2,000,000. Zang moved all-in and Kenney called for his last 23,275,000 chips.
Zang showed and Kenney . The turn failed to come to Kenney’s rescue and he needed an ace or a spade on the river to double up. That river was the , busting Kenney in second place for £16,890,509 and leaving a delighted Zang to be crowned the partypoker LIVE Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity champion, an accolade that came with £13,779,491.
Zang: “This feels like a dream come true!”
Zang said that winning this event felt like a dream come true and was full of praise for Kenney who he said “played better than me”. The businessman, who usually plays cash games in Macau, said “I am so happy and also very honoured to have played against everyone.”
Paul Phua, co-founder of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series, congratulated his friend as he handed over the trophy. “I hope this shows all non-pros they can win.”
Indeed they can. Kenney now soars to the top of the all-time money listings, eclipsing Justin Bonomo. Zang now has most winnings of any Chinese poker tournament player and climbs to 32nd in the world standings on the back of this impressive victory.
Photos provided by the most excellent Joe Giron Photography
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