Tournament about charity and poker
Aaron Zang won the Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity, the most expensive tournament in poker history, over the weekend. The buy-in of £1,000,000 (approximately $1,216,300) eclipsed that of the World Series of Poker’s Big One for One Drop, which stood at $1,000,000 each of the three times it was run.
The £50,000 ($60,815) entry fee that each participant paid on top of the buy-in went to charity. In all, £2,700,000 ($3,284,010) was donated to a total of ten charitable organizations.
The charities benefiting from the Triton Million included Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society, Malaysian Red Crescent, One Drop, Raising for Effective Giving, and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, among others.
The Triton Million was hosted by the London Hilton and sponsored by partypoker LIVE. The event was an invitational which saw only specific recreational poker players on the guest list.
The attendees could then invite a professional poker player along, which brought 27 recreational players and 27 pros to the event. Aaron Zang was accompanied by Tan Xuan, and Bryn Kenney was invited by Cary Katz.
Zang and Kenney go into heads-up
A total of eleven players made the money, and when the eight-handed final table began, it was India’s Vivek Rajkumar who was the favorite to win. He had 18,000,000 chips, while his closest competitor, Stephen Chidwick, had just 9,790,000.
Kenney and Zang were two of four players with between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000, while two others had below 3,000,000 chips. Rajkumar, though, was only able to finish in fifth place.
Going into heads-up play after eliminating Dan Smith in third place, Kenney had a massive 4-to-1 chip lead over Zang. The two men made a deal before they started, with Kenney locking up £16,890,509 ($20,537,187) in prize money and Zang agreeing to £12,679,491 ($15,405,582), leaving £1,100,000 ($1,336,500) on the table.
The scheduled first and second place prizes were £19,000,000 ($23,008,905) and £11,670,000 ($14,123,312).
Kenney ran cold at the end
After the tournament, Kenney told the poker media, “I got heads up with a four-to-one chip lead, but the thing about heads-up is that you can run all over the table and lose two all-in flips and lose the tournament, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The first big flip was when Zang re-raised all-in pre-flop with 6-6 against Kenney’s K-Q and held to double-up. A few hands later, Zang took the chip lead when he flopped trip Kings and Kenney missed his flush draw, having to fold to Zang’s shove on the river.
The very next hand saw the second huge coin flip. Kenney had A♠-6♠ and Zang had 8♦-5♦ when the flop came 8♠-4♠-3♣. All of the chips got into the middle with Zang’s pair of 8s ahead, but Kenney had loads of outs. None of those outs appeared, and Zang won the Triton Million and £13,779,491 ($16,754,497).
Although he did not win the tournament, Kenney’s prize of £16,890,509 ($20,563,324) after the deal is the largest cash in recorded tournament history. The previous record was held by Antonio Esfandiari, who won $18,346,673 in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop.
Kenney is also now ranked first on the all-time tournament money list with $55,505,634, almost $10,500,000 ahead of Justin Bonomo. Aaron Zang now tops the Chinese money rankings with $17,633,233 – nearly $5,000,000 more than Elton Tsang.