4 Minutes Read
The three-day long Event #11: HK$1M Triton Montenegro Short Deck Main Event was the second Main Event of the Triton Poker High Roller Series Montenegro series and hit the floors of the Maestral Resort & Casino on May 10. Attracting a field of 98 entries, which included 51 re-entries, the event collected HK$92.12 Million in prize money. Frenchman Rui Cao (cover image) decimated the field to clinch his maiden live title, along with HK$26.30 Million US$3.35M) in first-place prize money.
The player line-up was replete with some of the biggest names in the business but only the top 11 finished in the money.
Following the eliminations of Isaac Haxton (8th for HK$3,400,000), Timofey Kuznetsov (9th for HK$2,630,000), Mikita Badziakouski (10th for HK$2,300,000), and Guang Pu Lu (11th for HK$2,300,000) on Day 2, the seven-handed final table was formed.
Cao played aggressively, dismissing Kenneth Kee on the final table, en route to the heads-up against Triton co-founder Paul Phua. Both players were vying for their first Triton titles, but Phua seemed to put a lot of pressure on himself, and in the end, it got the best of him. Cao who remained calm throughout the heads-up proceedings played strategically and won the big pots, eventually taking the game away from Phua.
Upon his defeat, Phua said, “After three years, I still haven’t got a title. If it goes on, I’ll be embarrassed.”
The champion Cao was in a jubilant mood post his victory and said, “First time I ever won a tournament, and this is a good one. So, I’m happy.”
Final Table Recap
The final day’s play at the second Main Event of the series kicked off with the seven-handed final table. Short-stack Tong Siow Choon was the first casualty of the day when he jammed his remaining 20 antes with , and Kenneth Kee called off with . While both players flopped a pair of aces, Kee’s king kicker won him the pot, eliminating Choon in seventh place.
Hong Kong-based businessman and recreational poker player Ming Zhong Liu was the next one to go. He pitted his against Daniel Dvoress’ . The board bricked for Liu, eliminating him in sixth place.
Kenneth Kee, who had won this same event in Jeju last year, was unable to repeat the feat in Montenegro. He open-shoved all-in under-the-gun with and found a caller in Rui Cao with . The board ran out and Cao rivered a king-high straight to eliminate Kee in fifth place.
Down to four-handed play, Daniel Dvoress who was making his third final table appearance at the series after finishing runner-up in Event #2: HK$500,000 NLHE 6-Handed and fifth in Event #12: HK$250K NLHE Turbo, yet again missed out on winning the title. His were cracked by Paul Phua’s on the rundown . Dvoress exited in fourth place.
With only three players left and the board open , Phua moved all-in with pocket sixes and Romain Arnaud called tabling . Arnaud had a flush draw, and Phua a flopped set of sixes. The river was of no help to Arnaud, and he busted out in third place.
Rui Cao and Paul Phua entered the heads-up play with the former enjoying a slight advantage over Phua – 281 antes to 209. As Cao continued to win all the major pots, Phua’s chances of winning his first Triton title started fading fast.
On the final hand, both players went all-in pre-flop. Phua turned over and Cao showed . The community cards fanned out , and while Phua flopped queen-pair, Cao turned a king-high straight to claim his first-ever live title for a massive HK$26,300,000 payday.
Final Table Results (HKD)
1. Rui Cao – HK$26,300,000
2. Paul Phua – HK$17,100,000
3. Romain Arnaud – HK$11,800,000
4. Daniel Dvoress – HK$9,070,000
5. Kenneth Kee – HK$7,200,000
6. Ming Zhong Liu – HK$5,620,000
7. Tong Siow Choon – HK$4,400,000
You can catch the final table action right here.
Content & Images Courtesy: Triton Poker
Photography by Joe Giron
Keep following PokerGuru for more exciting updates from the 2019 Triton Poker High Roller Montenegro!