– General Information –
Paul Phua is a Malaysian businessman and recreational poker player. He was born in 1964 in Miri, Malaysia.
As a huge sports fan at a young age, Phua started his career in gambling as a sportsbook. He then moved on to operate VIP junkets with his business partner Richard Yong for land casinos in Macau. In 2006, he worked closely with Steve Wynn on the opening of Wynn Macau.
As for poker, he’s best known as the co-founder of the Triton Series. Triton hosts super high stakes events across the globe year-round, featuring the biggest names in poker. Phua also has a close personal connection to many of these poker stars – Tom Dwan is especially close to him.
He also plays in high stakes poker tournaments on a regular basis, although not professionally. By that we mean he’s not relying on his winnings for income. However, he still racked up over $19 million in live tournament cashes.
His net worth is estimated to be around $400 million.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2004: He founds IBCBet, an online sportsbook now known as Maxbet.
- 2016: He co-founds the Triton Super High Roller Series with his long-time business partner Richard Yong.
- 2019: He comes in 2nd in the Triton £100,000 No Limit Hold’em event in London for £2.558 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
– Paul Phua’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
As a child, Phua was a giant sports fan. He watched and played a number of sports, but he especially loved the English Football League. Not only would he bet on those games, he even opened up his own sportsbook office at a very young age. His introduction to the world of gambling was sports betting.
In the 2000’s, he got involved in the VIP junket business with his partner Richard Yong. The two Malaysian men would direct rich patrons to casinos in Macau for a prize. In the meantime, Phau also set up his online sportsbook IBCBet in 2004. In 2015, it got rebranded in Maxbet – you’ll find it under that name now.
Phua was involved in numerous other ventures – he even was an ambassador to the mini European nation of San Marino at some point – until he found poker in 2010. He never abandoned his other project, but recently, his main focus has been poker.
Initially, Phua played high stakes cash games in Macau. He started playing high stakes tournaments recreationally in 2012.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Paul Phua has cashed for $19.331 million in live tournaments during his poker career, according to the Hendon Mob. He amassed that sum over the course of just 29 different cashes. That’s understandable, given the fact that he was already a very wealthy man when he started playing tournaments and therefore has only played high rollers from the start.
Thus, his first recorded cash is from a £100,000 tourney. He managed to take that one down – he won the Aspers £100K High Roller for £1 million in September 2012 in London.
He had a few sporadic results in 2013 through 2015 – however, he really started delivering in 2016.
In October that year, he won the €100,000 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza for €752,700.
He had a couple other big scores too. However, 2016 is memorable in Phua’s career for another reason: that is when the Triton High Roller Series launched. Phua co-founded it with his long-time business partner and fellow Malaysian gambler Richard Yong.
Triton has been putting on super high stakes tournaments and cash games around the world. They have stops in Jeju, South Korea, in Montenegro, in London, UK and in Macau every year.
In these events, poker’s biggest stars battle for insane amounts of money in front of a huge audience. Phua is close personal friends with many of these stars who often give interviews on his YouTube channel. He has the closest relationship with Tom Dwan.
Triton is also known for putting together the biggest buy-in tournament in poker history. The £1,050,000 Triton Million was held in London in July 2019.
Phua was able to get a cash in the very first Triton super high roller, held under the WPT Nationals brand in the Philippines in January 2016. He finished 7th in the $200,000 NLHE event for $401,600. This event was won by German poker superstar Fedor Holz.
Phua has collected many other giant scores in his own high roller series. 2019 was an especially prolific year for him.
In March 2019, he came in 2nd in the HK$1,000,000 Short Deck Hold’em event for $2,025,607. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to Jason Koon.
In May 2019, he finished 2nd in another HK$1,000,000 Short Deck tournament, this time in Montenegro for $2,178,871. In August 2019, he came in 2nd in the £100,000 Triton London NLHE Main Event for £2,558,305. That is the biggest single live tournament score of his career to date.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
Paul Phua has no WSOP gold bracelet yet. In fact, he’s never even cashed in a summer WSOP event.
In 2019, he finished 10th in the WSOP Europe €100K Diamond High Roller event for €177,477 in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. In 2013, he made an ITM finish the Asia-Pacific leg of the World Series of Poker, a stop the WSOP no longer has. He came in 3rd in the A$40,000 High Roller for A$325,000 in Melbourne, Australia.
→ Live Cash Games ←
Triton often hosts live streamed super high stakes cash game sessions – either “classic” No Limit Hold’em or Short Deck Hold’em. Phua is a regular player in both.
In September 2018, Phua was involved in the biggest televised cash game pot of all time. In this hand, he called a 5-bet all-in from Tom Dwan. Dwan had AQ, while Phua had Aces, so this record breaking $2.35 million pot went Phua’s way.
In November 2019, Triton hosted a €2,000/€4,000/€4,000 NLHE cash game session. It is rare to see players playing on this high stakes anywhere. “Naturally”, Paul Phua was also in the mix. He played against such poker legends as Tony G, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates and Isaac Haxton.
Phua played super high stakes cash even before the Triton games. In January 2014, he was featured in a $1,000/$2,000 cash session at the Aussie Millions. There, his opponents included Phil Ivey, Doug Polk and Patrik Antonius.
→ Online Poker ←
Phua played under the screen name “MalACEsia” on PokerStars. This was revealed in April 2014 by pokernews.com. Prior to that, people were only guessing who was behind that account at the highest stakes tables on Stars.
Online, Phua focused on high stakes No Limit Hold’em cash games, rather than tourneys.
According to the online cash game database, Phua is down around $420K in a sample of 4,500 hands. Those tracked hands were played between June 2013 and May 2014. Evidently, Phua played a lot more cash game hands than that – however, those were never tracked thus his results are unknown.