Champion Jans Arends!
Players come to the Triton Series along numerous different paths. We have businesspeople, entrepreneurs and crypto billionaires; poker legends and hotshots on a heater.
But most reliably they come from the online poker tables, players who have risen through the ranks playing hundreds of tournaments a week, opting to slow it down but raise the stakes in the most prestigious poker series on the planet.
The latest player taking precisely that route is Jans Arends, a well-known menace of the online tables where he is better known as “Graftekkel”. But here at Triton Vietnam, under his own name and with his own face plain to see, Arends displayed all the skills of a wily veteran.
The Triton debut for this 32-year-old from Groningen, in the Netherlands, began with a final table finish in Event 2. And he went even better in tonight’s Event 5, a 30,000 buy-in no limit hold’em affair, where Arends became another breakout champion.
Triton Vietnam has been marked already as the place where the newcomers blaze a trail, and Arends’ success, worth 921,178, is the biggest prize awarded so far this week — even after he negotiated a three-way deal. There were 171 entries and 5.3 million in the prize pool, and Arends got the most.
Jonathan Jaffe, also in that deal conversation, perished in third. Arends then defeated Kiat Lee, also at a second final table this week, heads-up. Jaffe won 766,890 and Lee 851,932, but the trophy heads back to Vienna, where the Dutchman Arends now lives.
“I play a little bit of live throughout the year, but last time I saw the Triton stream, I thought it looked so good I thought, ‘OK let’s go for it,’” Arends told Ali Nejad during his post-match interview. “The next one was Vietnam. It was an easy decision.”
A fantastic performance from Jans Arends
He added that he will play every no limit hold’em event still on the schedule here, and hinted that he may be back in the future. “My main focus is still online, but who knows.”
FINAL DAY ACTION
After the latest night of the festival so far, the tournament resumed at 1pm with 32 players still involved. As has now become the pattern, they played through a level or so before going hand-for-hand on the bubble, with only 23 due to be paid.
By that point, luminaries including Kannapong Thanarattrakul, Punnat Punsri and Nacho Barbero had taken the fall, as well as poker author and pro Michael Acevedo, who slow-played aces and got punished by Seth Davies’ .
The bubble itself drew into view and popped quickly when Brian Kim and Phil Chiu played a hand through all the streets. Chiu raised from middle position with and Kim defended his big blind with .
Phil Chiu bursts the bubble
The flop came king high — — and Chiu not only bet, he also three-bet after Kim raised his top pair.
The came on the turn, making two pair for Kim and giving Chiu both flush and straight draws. Kim shoved and Chiu called all in. The river wasn’t enough and Chiu was toast.
FILLING THE FINAL
As is normal on the Triton Series, the buy-ins for the events are steadily increasing as the week progresses and this one hit 30K. That meant more to win and more to lose, and play was now slightly more deliberate.
Adrian Mateos, Erik Seidel, Christopher Frank and Michael Addamo fell short of the final, and then there was a mighty skirmish on the TV table that accounted for both Sam Greenwood and Dao Minh Phu in the same hand.
This is one for the highlights reel: Brodkin opened with pocket kings, and then Phu moved all in for eight big blinds with pocket fours. Greenwood was in the big blind and found , enough to four-bet rip with his 22 big blinds.
Sam Greenwood bust in a huge three-way all in
Brodkin had the covering stack and was of course going nowhere. However, the flop of seemed certain to mean a triple for Phu. Then the turn meant that Brodkin was now likely to pay off both of them.
However, the river brought huge gasps. One of Brodkin’s kings was the , and he flushed both the others away.
That proved to be enough to carry Brodkin to his first Triton final, surrounded by players who had been making a habit of it this week. Kim, Kiat Lee, Jans Arends, Jonathan Jaffe and Daniel Dvoress were all at their second final. Davies was at his third.
Lee applied the finishing touches to get them there, winning a race to knock out Stephen Chidwick in 10th.
Event 5 final table line-up
Brian Kim – 6,750,000 (68 BBs)
Oscar Brodkin – 5,725,000 (57 BBs)
Seth Davies – 4,950,000 (50 BBs)
Kiat Lee – 4,600,000 (46 BBs)
Jans Arends – 3,725,000 (37 BBs)
Jonathan Jaffe – 2,275,000 (23 BBs)
Daniel Dvoress – 2,175,000 (22 BBs)
Kayhan Mokri – 1,650,000 (17 BBs)
Final Table Players
FINAL TABLE ACTION
The two shortest stacks coming into the final quickly became the first players to leave it. Jonathan Jaffe was the architect in chief of both of the eliminations.
First up, Dvoress, who was at the Mystery Bounty final table at the same time yesterday, lost a decisive pot to Jaffe, with bettered by . At the time, the stacks were all but equal, and it left Dvoress with one big blind.
Before he could get it in, Mokri got unlucky to depart. His pocket kings lost to Jaffe’s , although Jaffe can hardly be blamed for three-bet calling with his holding. The ace on the flop delivered the blow to Mokri, who won 119,000 for ninth.
Dvoress had laddered one spot, and sent his last blind in Davies’ direction. Dvoress couldn’t stay alive with against Davies’ .
Dvoress added another 149,000 to his ledger having cashed for a 16th time and made his 15th final table. That elusive title surely can’t be that far away.
BRODKIN SLIDES DOWN AND OUT
Ever since that huge three-way all-in before the final table, things had been pretty smooth for the sports data executive Brodkin. However, he was soon to find himself sent to the rail after attempting to make things a bit more turbulent and finding a massive bluff.
The problem was that Jaffe, with two pair, didn’t fold to Brodkin’s aggression.
It was a battle of the blinds in which Brodkin opened from the small with . Jaffe just called from the big with .
Both of Jaffe’s cards paired on the flop, but it didn’t slow Brodkin. He bet on flop and turn with no pair, then jammed the river even though he had still not improved. Jaffe called and Brodkin’s tournament was over. He took 203,000 for seventh — the first significant cash of his live poker career.
BELL TOLLS FOR DING
Every face remaining at the final was very familiar, except one. Biao Ding was making his Triton Series debut here in Vietnam and had made the final on only his third tournament on the tour.
He hit a tournament high point when his hit two pair after he had pushed from the small blind. Kim’s called but lost.
However, Ding got a taste of his own medicine not long after when Jans Arends ushed the small blind with and Ding called for his last eight blinds with . Despite having the dominant hand this time, Arends hit two pair and sent Ding home with 275,000.
ANOTHER NEAR MISS FOR DAVIES
Here in Vietnam, the TV crew is inviting final table players to walk on to their seats through a thumping soundtrack and a jet of dry ice. Davies is getting very used to it. In only the fourth tournament of the week, he was taking this walk for the third time.
There’s is another less welcome element to Davies’ role as Triton’s Mr Consistent. Despite all these finals, he still hasn’t won a title. That unhappy record continued this time too, with Davies busting in fifth.
Another near miss for Seth Davies
His final hand this time was one of the biggest of the tournament to that point as Davies had more than 5 million in his stack, of 20 big blinds. Davies opened with a min-plus raise and Jaffe, one seat over, shoved for 10 million, with the covering stack.
Davies had and was up against Jaffe’s over-cards: . Jaffe continued to run well at this point and paired his queen on the turn. Davies earned 353,700, which he adds to the 102,100 and 357,000 he has won in those previous visits to the final.
KIM’S SCRAP FINISHES IN FOURTH
Kim too had been to a final already this week, and enjoyed throwing some shadow punches to the camera during his walk-in, much like a prize fighter entering the ring. He had every right. He was having a blast at his first Triton stop, and had the chip lead coming into the final.
However his chip graph at the final was one slow descent, followed by a huge nosedive representing a lost flip to Lee. Kim’s poker card=”jd”] lost to Lee’s pocket nines.
Brian Kim’s run ends
It doubled up Lee and left Kim with crumbs. Jaffe finished him off with pocket tens to Kim’s .
Both Lee and Jans Arends had managed to hold firm to this point, even if Jaffe was winning most of the most significant pots. But Jaffe suddenly found out that you don’t win every flip, handing a huge boost to Arends.
They got all the chips in pre-flop with pocket deuces for Jaffe up against for Arends. An aces came on the turn, and Arends doubled to 18 million, while Jaffe slumped to third in the counts.
Players look at the screen and agree a deal
It was a case of easy come, easy go, however, with Arends losing a similar flip soon after. This time Lee took the chips with to Arends pocket sixes, and the chip lead moving on once more.
The stacks were shallowing and presumably they had all seen enough of one another’s games to realise they didn’t want the dealer to be the only one to influence the result. On Jaffe’s suggestion, they summonsed tournament director Luca Vivaldi and talked about a chop.
They decided to lock up the following, with the numbers reflecting the chip stacks:
Kiat Lee – 851,932
Jans Arends – 831,178
Jonathan Jaffe – 766,890
The Shamballa bracelet and the trophy stayed on the table
They left 90,000 still to play for, meaning the winner would be certain to claim the most. That person would also secure the trophy, the Shamballa bracelet and the most Player of the Year points.
DEUCES UNDO JAFFE AGAIN
Deals aren’t certain to speed up play, but the nature of the stack sizes meant chips were likely to go in.
Jaffe found pocket deuces again moment after the resumption and decided to have another try at getting them to hold up. Arends made a standard open and Jaffe shipped for 10 million from the big blind. Arends, however, had something genuine: and he flopped an ace.
Jonathan Jaffe heads home
For the second time, Jaffe had come unstuck with deuces and this time it was for good. He was out in third, with the 766,890 he had locked up heading his way. (The advertised third prize was 538,000.)
HEADS UP SWINGS BOTH WAYS
After Jaffe’s elimination, Lee and Arends played a number of small pots that drifted, rather than lurched from side to side. Lee in particular seemed keen to get things done and suggested shortening the levels. (The 50K was getting close to the end of late reg, so he had a motive.)
Kiat Lee took a battling second place
Lee took a narrow lead, then Arends took it back, and then two huge pots quickly ended things.
In the first, they got it all in pre flop with Arends holding and Lee with pocket sevens. It might have been all over here, but an ace appeared to double Arends.
Not long after, there was another straightforward all in flip, with Arends taking up against Lee’s pocket nines. There was another ace on the flop, and though it also brought a flush draw for Lee, Arends faded it.
With that, the transformation from online crusher to living, breathing champion was complete.
Jans Arends: Like a duck to water
Event #5 – 30,000 NLH
Dates: March 4-5, 2023
Entries: 171 (inc. 61 re-entries)
Prize pool: 5,130,000
1 – Jans Arends (Netherlands) – 921,178
2 – Kiat Lee (Malaysia) – 851,932
3 – Jonathan Jaffe (USA) – 766,890
4 – Brian Kim (USA) – 441,000
5 – Seth Davies (USA) – 353,700
6 – Biao Ding (China) – 275,000
7 – Oscar Brodkin (UK) – 203,000
8 – Daniel Dvoress (Canada) – 149,000
9 – Kayhan Mokri (Norway) – 119,000
10 – Stephen Chidwick (UK) – 100,000
11 – Mario Mosboeck (Austria) – 100,000
12 – Anson Ewe (Malaysia) – 87,200
13 – Sam Greenwood (Canada) – 87,200
14 – Dao Minh Phu (Vietnam) – 79,500
15 – Michael Addamo (Australia) – 79,500
16 – Christopher Frank (Germany) – 71,800
17 – Erik Seidel (USA) – 71,800
18 – Adrian Mateos (Spain) – 64,600
19 – Lisawad Pakinai (Thailand) – 64,600
20 – Webster Lim (Malaysia) – 64,600
21 – Thomas Muehloecker (Austria) – 59,500
22 – Nick Petrangelo (USA) – 59,500
23 – Linus Loeliger (Switzerland) – 59,500
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive