Champion Tim Adams!
The Canadian crusher Tim Adams today became only the third player to win two Main Events in the history of the Triton Super High Roller Series, somehow repelling the seemingly unstoppable charge of French businessman Jean Noel Thorel.
Adams, 37, was the only man able to lay a glove on Thorel, a man more than twice his age, in a thrilling, high-speed final table of the $125K buy-in Main Event at Triton’s latest stop in London. It was the biggest Main Event ever hosted by this tour and Adams claimed $4.185 million for the win, the biggest single cash of his stellar career.
The triumph came four years after he picked up $3.5 million for victory on the Triton Series in Jeju, South Korea.
Adams also won $1.5 million for fourth place in the $200K event late last week, but this title also comes with an exclusive Jacob & Co timepiece and a two-night stay on the Bombay Superyacht.
“I’m just lost for words because that was insane that I won this one,” Adams confessed at the end. “It was a battle heads up. Jean Noel, hats off to him. He is an insane competitor, super tough to play against.”
Adams seemed set to become the latest poker pro to be swept away by Thorel when the pair got their similar-sized stacks in pre-flop with Adams’ pocket eights up against Thorel’s nines. Thorel had repeatedly beaten other players of Adams’ calibre in a crazy final table, but an eight appeared on the river to seal the deal this time.
“When we got it in it was a bit of a cooler,” Adams said. “I thought that would be it for me. I couldn’t believe it when I smashed the eight on the river.”
Jean-Noel Thorel: Poker police
Thorel — or JNT as he’s fondly known in the industry — is the oldest player ever to pull up a seat on the Triton Series, and is known as one of the most fearless and unpredictable players around. He is a super high roller regular who never backs down from any confrontation, and enjoyed the run of his life in this one.
Wearing a T-shirt and cap bearing the word “POLICE”, Thorel was the self-appointed law-enforcement officer when all of the young guns tried to get out of control. However, Adams somehow managed to prevail and condemn Thorel to a second-place finish, for which he won $2.83 million.
Thorel joined Adams on the stage for a winner’s photo — a stage that was also filled with numerous other high roller regulars, who are friends and competitors of Adams. There will scarcely be a more popular winner or runner up.
What a tournament.
The high roller community poured on to the stage to congratulate Tim Adams
TOURNAMENT ACTION RECAP
The opening two days of this event dominated the tournament floor at the cavernous Great Room of the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel. Tournament organisers were expecting a healthy turnout, but the field exceeded wildest expectations.
While Day 1 was characterised by either steady accumulation or hopeful speculation (with the knowledge that re-entries were always possible), the second day was a more tetchy affair. Missteps now were far more costly: when you were out, you were out. And only 27 players from a record-breaking field would make the money.
The Day 1 chip leader Pedro Garagnani tumbled down the counts and hit the rail. Meanwhile another winner from this week Bryn Kenney soared to the top of the counts. (Kenney took a lot of Garagnani’s chips.)
Meanwhile other Triton greats fell by the wayside, allowing them to hop into the $60K turbo and seek salvation there.
As usual, the rate of eliminations slowed at the money got closer, but a couple of the players with the biggest stacks were making life very tough for anyone hoping to cling on. Nick Schulman was dominating his table and accounted for Ignacio Moron with pocket tens against Moron’s . Moron busted in 29th.
That hand took place only moments before Dan Dvoress, another short stack, slammed into Stephen Chidwick’s on another table. Dvoress flopped a flush draw but it bricked out, and Dvoress too was toast.
Dan Dvoress: Bubble boy
Dvoress had a lifeline in that he might end up with a chop of 27th place if another player was knocked out in hands in progress elsewhere. But it never came to pass and Dvoress learned he was the stone bubble. His departure left everyone else in the money.
The following phase quickly accounted for some Triton greats as others made their surge towards the final. Jean Noel Thorel assumed the tournament chip lead after felting Erik Seidel and Wikton Malinowski in the same hand. Thorel’s kings beat Malinowski’s pocket queens and Seidel’s .
Kenney flew too close to the sun and lost a massive pot to Seth Davies, before being finished off by Isaac Haxton’s pocket aces, which stayed good against Kenney’s kings. Kenney followed up his Luxon Invitation triumph with $207,500 for 21st.
Bryn Kenney: Fell short of a second success
With the final table finally in sight, and players such as Nacho Barbero, Paul Phua and Matthias Eibinger falling narrowly short, the tournament entered a holding pattern. There were numerous short-stack double ups and only incremental changes to some of the big stacks. Meanwhile, the previously dominant Schulman and Davies both entered the danger zone.
Schulman then lost a big one when he bluffed ace high into Juan Pardo’s straight, and lost his final scraps to the same player soon after. It was then Davies’ turn to take the walk in tenth, losing with pocket queens to James Chen’s .
Final table bubble for Seth Davies
It was 2am and as Schulman and Davies hit the pay desk, the final nine bagged their chips to prepare for another huge day.
FINAL TABLE LINE-UP
Dan Cates – 8.2 million (66 BBs)
Stephen Chidwick – 6.65 million (53 BBs)
Jean Noel Thorel – 5.65 million (45 BBs)
Tim Adams – 5.15 million (41 BBs)
Doug Polk – 3.325 million (27 BBs)
Juan Pardo – 2.5 million (20 BBs)
Isaac Haxton – 2.325 million (19 BBs)
James Chen – 2.3 million (18 BBs)
Lun Loon – 1.675 million (13 BBs)
Triton London Main Event players (clockwise from back left): Jean Noel Thorel, James Chen, Juan Pardo, Doug Polk, Dan Cates, Stephen Chidwick, Tim Adams, Lun Loon, Isaac Haxton.
The late night slowdown last night meant the final table began with a relatively small average stack. Even so, the opening exchanges were hectic and we lost three players within the first couple of orbits.
The first drama featured Isaac Haxton and Doug Polk, with the latter raise/calling off with pocket eights against Haxton’s pocket tens. The stacks were close and while Haxton doubled, Polk was left on the ropes.
Two hands later, he was down and out, shoving into Jean Noel Thorel’s kings. Polk took $422,500, but a legion of fans were left disappointed by his early exit.
Doug Polk became the first to feel Thorel’s wrath
Lun Loon is a relative newcomer to poker, having first learned the tournament game on the Triton Series but jumping on a steep learning curve. By day, he is a businessman in the agriculture sector, but he is also now hitting his poker stride and was at his third Triton final.
Loon’s run here ended in eighth, when he ran the smallest pocket pair — deuces — into Stephen Chidwick’s pocket fives. It’s a measure of how far Loon’s game has come in a relatively short period of time that he was disappointed to cash in eighth for $510,000.
James Chen hadn’t visited the Triton Series for five years before accepting an invitation to play the Luxon Invitational in London this week and going on the make the final table. The break from poker had clearly done him good because he he was again at a second major final, looking for another major payday.
Thorel, however, had other ideas. Having already picked up pocket kings once to dispense with Polk, Thorel now found pocket aces. Even better for the Frenchman was the two kings in Chen’s hand. The money went in, the aces held up, and Chen was out in seventh, winning $705,000.
James Chen: Two huge finals in a week
It is surely every poker player’s dream to make a final table of this size and significance, but imagine doing that and getting dealt premium pairs on numerous occasions. That was the dreamland being inhabited now by Thorel, who looked down at aces following a raise from Juan Pardo.
Thorel three-bet and must have been in heaven when Chidwick, the only player with a bigger stack, four bet to 2.3 million. Pardo got out the way, but Thorel moved in and Chidwick called. He had .
The board bricked and Thorel scored an enormous double up, surging into a mighty chip lead. Chidwick was cut down to only 10 big blinds.
Stephen Chidwick went from chip lead to fifth place
Thorel wasn’t done with the aces. Only a few hands after slicing through Chidwick, he found bullets again. This time he watched Pardo squeeze shove from the big blind (Cates had called in the small blind) and of course Thorel made the call.
Pardo had and he also couldn’t catch Thorel. That sent the Spaniard to the rail in sixth, for $970,000.
Another final table ends in a sixth place for Juan Pardo
Chidwick had managed one double of his short stack, and maintained some hopes of gathering some momentum. But when he picked up pocket sevens and moved in, guess what happened? Yep, Thorel was behind him with an even bigger pair. This time queens were enough, and Chidwick’s tournament was done.
The British No 1 extended his lead at the top of the European money list with a $1.26 million score. But even he couldn’t stop Thorel.
Next it was Haxton’s turn to try to stop the juggernaut. And next it was Haxton who failed. The pair were sitting in the blinds and Thorel opened with . Haxton called with . The flop brought possibilities. It came .
Thorel made a pot-sized bet and Haxton, with a straight draw, moved his last chips in. Thorel called. Haxton had eight outs twice, but the turn and the river missed twice. Haxton departed in fourth for $1.582 million.
Isaac Haxton was powerless to stop the Thorel juggernaut
Dan Cates had swung to the final table in the chip lead, and the passionate Triton audience was looking forward to a Jungleman show. However, even the charismatic American had to take a back seat to Thorel — even though it was Tim Adams who did most of the damage to Cates’s stack.
Adams applied the finishing touches to Jungleman too, getting pocket jacks to hold against after all the money went in pre-flop. To the great dismay of the watching public, Cates perished in third for $1.94 million.
And then there were two. Thorel’s stupendous rise had earned him a stack of 24 million at this stage (80 big blinds). But with Adams having eliminated Cates, he had a workable 13 million (43 big blinds). And now it was only the Canadian who could stop Thorel’s romp to the title.
It started pretty well for Adams. He secured a double up with and a flop of . Thorel had for the same top pair, but he didn’t hit anything else. Adams’ kicker played.
Tim Adams at the moment of victory
The heads-up was clearly exceptionally difficult for Adams. “JNT is so unpredictable,” Adams said. “That’s how he plays. He put me in so many tough situations. I don’t know if I made the right fold or a bad fold.”
However, Adams is a true competitor and arguably deserved the slice of good fortune he landed in the final hand. Certainly Thorel did not begrudge him, and continued to grin broadly as he allowed Adams to claim the limelight.
It was a final table for the ages; a fitting end to the biggest Main Event ever hosted on the tour.
The new champ with his trophy
Event #11 – $125,000 NLH Main Event
Dates: August 5-7, 2023
Entries: 151 (inc. 54 re-entries)
Prize pool: $18,875,000
1 – Timothy Adams, Canada – $4,185,000
2 – Jean Noel Thorel, France – $2,830,000
3 – Daniel Cates, USA – $1,940,000
4 – Isaac Haxton, USA – $1,582,000
5 – Stephen Chidwick, UK – $1,260,000
6 – Juan Pardo, Spain – $970,000
7 – James Chen, Taiwan – $705,000
8 – Lun Loon, Malaysia – $510,000
9 – Doug Polk, USA – $422,500
10 – Seth Davies, USA – $360,000
11 – Nick Schulman, USA – $360,000
12 – Matthias Eibinger, Austria – $311,000
13 – Paul Phua, Malaysia – $311,000
14 – Nacho Barbero, Argentina – $282,000
15 – Webster Lim, Malaysia – $282,000
16 – Espen Jorstad, Norway – $254,000
17 – Tobias Schwecht, Germany – $254,000
18 – Wiktor Malinowski, Poland – $226,000
19 – Erik Seidel, USA – $226,000
20 – Dan Smith, USA – $226,000
21 – Bryn Kenney, USA – $207,500
22 – Brian Kim, USA – $207,500
23 – Rodrigo Seiji, Brazil – $207,500
24 – Pablo Brito Silva, Brazil – $189,000
25 – Santhosh Suvarna, India – $189,000
26 – Alex Kulev, Bulgaria – $189,000
27 – Ramin Hajiyev, Azerbaijan – $189,000
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive