Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Triton Montenegro Main Event Won by Mikalai Vaskaboinikau for Career High Score

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Belarussia’s Mikalai Vaskaboinikau lifted the famous Triton ‘trident’ trophy aloft last night as he claimed the $4.7 million top prize and his first Triton win in six events. The businessman, who admitted that during his life he has always ‘put poker second’ claimed a very important first place, winning more money in one payout than in his entire poker career beforehand.

Triton Montenegro $125,000 Main Event Final Table Results:
Place Place Country Prize
1st Mikalai Vaskaboinikau Belarus $4,737,000
2nd Dejan Kaladjurdjevic Montenegro $3,196,000
3rd Aleks Ponakovs Latvia $2,200,000
4th Phil Ivey United States $1,795,000
5th Igor Yaroshevskyy Ukraine $1,430,000
6th Samuel Ju Germany $1,098,000
7th Wai Kin Yong Malaysia $800,000
8th Bryn Kenney United States $580,000
9th Elizabeth Chen China $478,000

The $21 Million Pot

There were an astonishing 171 total entries in the 2024 Triton Poker Series Monetenegro Main Event, which meant a prizepool of over $21.3 million and a top prize of over $4.7 million was up for grabs. That kind of pot of gold turns the heads of every poker player in the world and some of the very best of them were in the homeland of stunning mountain ranges, beautiful beaches, and many idyllic medieval villages.

With just 27 players making the money, a min-cash of $214,000 was won by several big names including the Belarussian Mikita Badziakouski and American poker heroes Dan Smith and Justin Saliba. The German 2019 WSOP Main Event winner Hossein Ensan won $235,000, as did the Finnish Poker legend Patrik Antonius, with French Triton regular  Jean Noel Thorel (19th for $256,000), Chris Brewer (13th for $353,000) and Paulius Vaitiekunas (10th for $406,000) all cashing for six figures but failing to make the final nine.

With the final nine assembled, photographed and prepared for the drama to unfold, Malaysian player Wai King Yong was the chip leader heading into the action on 70 big blinds. At that stage, the eventual winner Vaskaboinikau had just 25 big blinds but he was to perform his heroics at the tail-end of proceedings and was happy to watch others fight it out early on.

Chinese player Elizabeth Chen was the unfortunate player to leave the party first, cashing for $478,000 when she moved all-in with pocket eights. Phil Ivey was her caller and his king-queen hit a king on the flop to win the hand and reduce the field to eight.

Bryn Kenney Won’t Be King

The Long Island legend Bryn Kenney was the next player to be eliminated, as he crashed out in eighth for $580,000. All-in with pocket nines, the All-Time Money List leader on The Hendon Mob couldn’t hit against Igor Yaroshevskyy’s pocket tens. While his cash put him over $66 million in lifetime poker earnings – $2 million clear of Justin Bonomo in second place – there was no seven-figure score for Kenney this time around.

Next to go was the overnight leader, Wai Kin Long. All-in with king-queen, the leader lost to Vaskaboinikau’s ace-queen to double up his Belarussian opponent before falling short. All-in again with pocket queens, he was ahead of the pocket tens again belonging to Vaskaboinikau but a ten came on the river to stun the former chip leader and propel his enemy to the top of the leaderboard, Long heading home with $800,000.

German player Samuel Yu cashed in sixth place for $1,098,000 when his own pocket queens lost to Vaskaboinikau’s pocket kings, as the new chip leader threatened to run away with the victory. A place later, Ukraine’s Igor Yaroshevskyy won $1,430,000 when his queen-nine was defeated by Latvia Aleks Ponakovs’ jack-nine when a jack arrived on the flop to pair up the bigger-stacked player.

Ukrainian player Igor Yaroshevskyy can’t watch the flop as his final hand ends in disaster.

Ivey Chopped Late as Vaskaboinikau Hails ‘Brightest Moment’

With four men left to battle it out over millions of dollars, Phil Ivey was the man with the most experience. Sadly for his legions of fans around the world, the man formerly known as ‘No Home Jerome’ on account of his youthful obsession with poker, busted in fourth place for $1,795,000. All-in with ace-eight, he lost to Vaskaboinikau’s ace-king after previously losing with flush under flush.

Aleks Ponakovs went out next, winning $2.2 million in third place after losing with pocket kinhs to pocket aces that made a royal flush before king-0jack went down to ace-four pre-flop for the rest. It was a stunning previous hand and Kaladjurdjevic’s royal flush set the home country player from Montenegro up for the final showdown.

Kaladjurdjevic initially led the heads-up battle but Vaskaboinikau came back when his ace-high held against the Montenegran’s king-high with all the chips in the middle pre-flop. That gave him a lead and growing that to a 5-to-1 advantage, Vaskaboinikau sealed victory when pocket sixes held up, Kaladjurdjevic’s ill-timed shove with jack-deuce of clubs no good, leaving the home player out in second place for a score of $3,196,000.

“It’s a really amazing feeling; I had a good feeling about this a few months ago,” Vaskaboinikau said afterwards before he collected the $4,737,000 top prize. “I put this thought in my mind in a dream – I’m really happy about this. Poker tournaments [are] always second, second, second for me. For sure [this is] one of the brightest moments of my life.”

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