Seven years ago, the idea of a poker tournament with a seven-figure buy in was something new. The $1,000,000 buy in 2012 Big One for One Drop ushered in a new era of high stakes tournament poker and the world watched on, gripped by the excitement of such a staggering amount of money on the line. Not since that day has a tournament created such a buzz – until now.
As the number of entries ticked ever higher for the £1,000,000 Triton London tournament, it soon became clear we were about to see the biggest 1st place payout in a poker event.
After three days of top-level poker we finally had our winner of that monumental prize.
Day 1 action
The first day saw 54 hopefuls take their seat at the richest poker tournament in history, and it wasn’t long before we saw a bustout. Rick Salomon got super aggressive with a royal flush draw only to walk into top set and brick out. Tom Dwan lost a chunk with pocket queens to Vivek Rajkumar’s turned flush and became the second player to bust inside the first level soon after. From there, a steady stream of players hit the rail throughout the day until only 36 remained by the time the chips hit the bags.
Among the other star names to hit the rail on day 1 were Daniel Cates and Fedor Holz, with businessman Bill Perkins catching some rungood late in the day to vault up to the top of the standings with 3.5 million chips.
Among those to survive were 16 recreationals and 20 professionals.
Day 2 action
The second day was all about one man, with the action playing all the way down to a final table. From the middle of the counts at the start of the day, Rajkumar was on fire, raking pot after pot to end the day on 18 million. He had almost twice the chips of his nearest challenger, Stephen Chidwick when play ended for the night. Igor Kurganov had to endure the pain of bubbling after being left crippled when he ran pocket tens into the pocket jacks of Bill Perkins late in the day.
Kurganov found plenty of company on the rail, with Christoph Vogelsang, Justin Bonomo, Sam Greenwood and Jason Koon among the big names to have already been felted. At the end of day 2, only 8 players remained, with a ratio of 5 pros to 3 recreationals.
Day 3 – final table
The final day of Triton London began with Bill Perkins and Dan Smith moving up the counts having started the day as the two shortest stacks. Rajkumar looked to put his monster stack to work, and while he had some early success, he soon began to slide. One of the other early success stories was Stephen Chidwick. He seemed to be the only player chasing down Rajkumar during the first half the of the day, but before long, this lead had evaporated. Chidwick, who had just had a rough few hands made a fantastic hero call with second pair on the river when Rajkumar had put him all in, and from there it was anyone’s to win.
Timothy Adams was the first player to exit the final table, followed soon after by Alfred DeCarolis. Bill Perkins would soon follow, before Rajkumar completed his nightmare day by busting in 5th. Four-handed, the swings came thick and fast, with Chidwick hitting 14 million before busting a few hands later, with chip leader Bryn Kenney being the lucky recipient of the flip.
Stacks were shallow and the shoves were flowing as Kenney extended his lead soon after with the elimination of Dan Smith. Carrying a 4.5 to 1 chiplead into heads up play against recreational player Aaron Zang, Kenney looked to have the title almost locked up, but a lost flip, and two failed bluffs in the space of five hands sent Zang rocketing to the title and Kenney crashing to defeat.
Fortunately for Bryn Kenney, he had secured a 2-way deal a few hands before that gave him the biggest piece of the prize pool.
He went home with £16,890,509 (US$20,537,187) which was good to send him to the top of poker’s all-time money list, surpassing his countryman Justin Bonomo.
Here are the full payouts:
1st – Aaron Zang – *£13,779,491 ( US$16,754,497)
2nd – Bryn Kenney – *£16,890,509 (US$20,537,187)
3rd – Dan Smith – £7,200,000 (US$8,754,491)
4th – Stephen Chidwick – £4,410,000 (US$5,362,216)
5th – Vivek Rajkumar – £3,000,000 (US$3,647,705)
6th – Bill Perkins – £2,200,000 (US$2,674,983)
7th – Alfred DeCarolis – £1,720,000 (US$2,091,351)
8th – Timothy Adams – £1,400,000 (US$1,702,262)
9th – Wai Leong Chan – £1,200,000 (US$1,459,081)
10th – Chin Wei Lim – £1,100,000 (US1,337,491)
11th – Winfred Yu – £1,100,000 (US1,337,491)
Article by Craig Bradshaw