Three-time Triton champion Fedor Holz!
It’s been six years since the last victory on the Triton Series for Fedor Holz, an eternity by the standards of the young German phenom who used to win a title pretty much every week. But after a tenacious display in the $25,000 7-Handed No Limit Hold’em event here at Triton London, Holz is back in the winner’s circle, claiming a third career Triton title and banking $609,853.
Holz completed his triumph over a field of 120 entries by downing the in-form Chris Brewer heads-up and after the pair agreed an ICM deal. Brewer himself has two Triton titles, both won in the past year, and he added two World Series bracelets this summer to underline his sensational pedigree.
It’s crazy that we consider Holz to be a veteran. He turned 30 only last week. But he has reigned so powerfully over poker for so long that this seemed like a blast from the past, a victory for the old guard over the relative newcomer Brewer — actually six months Holz’s senior. But Holz is still stoked to be playing high level poker, as he explained to Ali Nejad.
“It’s really the competition and the love for the game,” Holz said when asked what keeps him motivated. “These moments! I’m sad when I bust out, not necessarily because I’m missing out on the money but because I can’t continue playing. When it ends, there’s a little moment where you realise it’s over and you switch to real life again.”
Brewer had a small chip lead when the two of them looked at the numbers, and secured himself $600K plus change. But a topsy-turvey, shallow-stacked final shootout eventually went to Holz and he adds this Triton London title to those he won in Manila and Montenegro back when he was in his early 20s.
The tournament provided another feast for poker fans, with the tremendously hard-fought final stages featuring players from four continents. It ended with that transatlantic battle and another famous victory for Holz — setting him up nicely for the festival to come.
“I think it gives a lot of confidence if you win a tournament,” he said. “I think you just believe more in your decision-making, so I’m super excited for the rest of the week. I think I’ll have a lot of fun.”
Fedor Holz celebrates another success
FINAL DAY ACTION
The returning field of 27 (from 120 total entries) was led by Seth Davies, a Triton stalwart with 13 cashes on the tour but no title. However, even someone as steady as Davies couldn’t survive a turbulent opening few levels and he crashed out in 22nd place, two spots off the money.
Davies lost a ton of chips with pocket sevens to Brian Kim’s pocket deuces after Kim turned a full house. He then ran into Ben Heath’s aces. Davies’ demise underlined how volatile the game can be when the tournament enters its business stages.
Seth Davies’ chip lead evaporated
The stone bubble was an especially protracted affair, with numerous short stacks and two micro-stacks finding new ways to cling on. Dan Smith had only one big blind when he doubled with against . Then Johannes Straver managed a triple, when his pocket eights made a four-flush and beat Yuri Dzivielevski and Fedor Holz out of one.
Michael Soyza won a flip, rivering an ace, to beat Bruno Volkmann, and with the clock continuing to tick on, nearly half the field had less than 15 big blinds.
Smith had never quite managed to pull himself completely out of trouble, but he found a pretty good spot to get the last of his chips in again. He had versus the chip-leading Kai Bong Lo’s . The flop was fairly benign: . And although the turn hit Smith, it also gave possibilities to Lo.
The river filled the flush and Smith’s long vigil came to a close. Everyone else was in the money and guaranteed a payout of at least $39,000.
Dan Smith watches the last of his chips head elsewhere on the bubble
RACE TO THE FINAL
With bubble pressure now alleviated, things loosened up a touch. All of the short stacks now found reason to try to accumulate, with the obvious associated risks. Straver hit the rail, as did his neighbour Jason Koon. Soyza couldn’t survive past 14th, but even Lo tumbled down from the top of the counts and hit the rail in 11th.
After David Yan went out in ninth (a day after a 13th-place finish in the opening event here), they had a final table of eight. Fedor Holz sat at the top, having prospered the most from the tetchy session leading into the final. He was the only player at this stage with a bigger-than-average stack, and had put it to good use.
FINAL TABLE STARTING STACKS
Fedor Holz – 65 BBs
Brian Kim – 30 BBs
Roman Hrabec – 24 BBs
Renat Bohdanov – 23 BBs
Bruno Volkmann – 17 BBs
Chris Brewer – 15 BBs
Danilo Velasevic – 9 BBs
Tobias Schwecht – 7 BBs
Event 2 final table players (l-r): Bruno Volkmann, Fedor Holz, Renat Bohdanov, Chris Brewer, Danilo Velasevic, Roman Hrabec, Tobias Schwecht and Brian Kim
As is increasingly common, players had what in other formats would be considered shove/fold stacks, but in Super High Roller events, where every pay jump is enormous, there is no longer any such thing. Players dug in and prepared to wait for their spots. The shortest stack, Tobias Schwecht, soon found one and got pocket nines to hold up for double.
On the very next hand, Schwecht picked up pocket jacks and must have thought his time for climbing the leader board had come. However, Chris Brewer had , called Schwecht’s three-bet shove, and watched the dealer put four diamonds on the board.
Schwecht was out in eighth for $93,000.
Tobias Schwecht was first out from the final
Bruno Volkmann took over short-stack duties, but after three consecutive shoves — resulting in one double, with jacks through eights, and two folds all around — he was up into fourth in the counts, leaving Danilo Velasevic and Roman Hrabec with six and seven blinds, respectively.
Hrabec had been the player with the eights when Volkmann doubled, and he never recovered from that one. The leading Czech player on the Triton Series banked a runner-up finish in his first ever event in Vietnam, and here he was at his third final table.
However, Volkmann wasn’t done with Hrabec and three-bet shoved with after Hrabec opened with . Hrabec called off but lost after Volkmann flopped a queen.
Hrabec added $126,000 to his ledger for seventh.
Roman Hrabec added another final table appearance to his resume
Velasevic was still critically short-stacked, so surely looked on with glee as Renat Bohdanov moved all in from the button and Chris Brewer looked him up from the small blind. Brewer’s stayed best against Bohdanov’s and Bohdanov was out.
The Ukrainian is visiting the Triton Series for the first time here in London and put himself in the black with a $168,000 score for sixth.
Velasevic, another Triton newcomer, had laddered four spots despite coming to the final with a tiny stack. However, his resurgence couldn’t take him past fifth and he became Brewer’s second victim in consecutive hands. Brewer open-shoved his button with two shorties to his left, but Velasevic’s was plenty good enough for a call.
Brewer had only but drilled a ten on the flop and that was that for Velasevic. He takes $214,500 back to Serbia, a new career best.
The end of the day for Danilo Velasevic
Despite his big lead coming into the final, Holz had mainly stayed away from the action as the shortest stacks perished. Then when he did get involved in his first significant pot, he lost a big one to Volkmann, doubling the Brazilian again. Holz opened with from under the gun and Volkmann defended his big blind with what viewers on the Triton live stream knew was .
The flop of therefore probably looked pretty safe for Holz, but was anything but. Holz bet, Volkmann called, taking them to the on the turn. The pattern repeated with another bet and a call. The on the river was enough for Holz to move in, and Volkmann called off for the double up.
That put Holz at the bottom of the standings, but he built himself back into contention with two doubles through Brewer. On the first, he got to hold against . And then Holz hit a five when he got it in with against Brewer’s .
Fedor Holz’s prayers are answered
It was anyone’s game once more.
After players agreed to truncate their dinner break to 10 minutes (they had only around 55 big blinds between them) Kim was now the short stack. He duly got it in very quickly after players returned from their repast, and he was very quickly out. Kim was in the big blind with and called Volkmann’s shove.
However, Volkmann had and flopped a full house. That was the end of the road for Kim, who banked $267,000 for fourth.
Brian Kim was out in fourth
The average stack was now 20 big blinds and we were into a three-handed end-game. Holz secured another big double when he looked down at in the big blind and watched Volkmann shove from the small.
Holz called and Volkmann only had which didn’t catch up. That left Volkmann under the most extreme pressure and he was out a couple of hands later, losing with to Brewer’s .
Volkmann’s short Triton career has already bagged him more than $1 million in earnings, and he is now two cashes from two tournaments here in London as well. His third place in this one was for $324,000.
Bruno Volkmann is getting ever closer to a first Triton title
Holz versus Brewer was a mouthwatering heads-up duel. The form player of this year squared off against the man who redefined what a hot streak could be only a few years ago. They both already had two Triton wins and were therefore gunning for a third.
Brewer had the lead when they reached heads-up — 35 BBs to 25 BBs — but they decided to eliminate some variance and quickly came to a deal. Brewer locked up $600,647 to Holz’s $569,853, leaving $40,000 to play for, plus the trophy.
Deal negotiations at the end of the tournament
For the second night in succession, viewers were treated to an intriguing heads-up match, albeit with shorter stacks and for much less money. (Manuel Zapf and Luc Greenwood did not do a deal in yesterday’s encounter.) Holz took the lead after a succession of small pots, but Brewer wrestled it back.
They then remained all but even as the levels ticked ever upward.
Holz, however, then won what seemed to be a pivotal pot. They got all their chips in preflop in a straight flip: Holz’s against Brewer’s pocket fours. Holz hit his six on the flop and took a huge lead.
Chris Brewer played his part in another fun heads-up duel
Brewer did manage to find two double ups of his own, but he never pulled back into the lead. Eventually, with both players sitting with sub 15 BB stacks, all the money went in for one last time. On this occasion, Holz had and flopped all kinds of opportunities when the appeared.
But Brewer’s was actually still ahead, and stayed there after the turn. The on the river was one of Holz’s myriad outs, however, and Brewer seemed ready for it. “Good game,” he said immediately.
And so it is that Fedor Holz pushes his Triton earnings closer to $11 million, and puts a third Triton trophy on his shelf.
Event #2 – $25,000 NLH 7-Handed
Dates: July 28-29, 2023
Entries: 120 (inc. 37 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,000,000
1 – Fedor Holz, Germany – $609,853*
2 – Chris Brewer, USA – $600,647*
3 – Bruno Volkmann, Brazil – $324,000
4 – Brian Kim, USA – $267,000
5 – Danilo Velasevic, Serbia – $214,500
6 – Renat Bohdanov, Ukraine – $168,000
7 – Roman Hrabec, Czech Republic – $126,000
8 – Tobias Schwecht, Germany – $93,000
9 – David Yan, New Zealand – $72,000
10 – Yuri Dzivielevski, Brazil – $60,000
11 – Kai Bong Lo, Hong Kong – $60,000
12 – Ben Heath, UK – $52,500
13 – Samuel Ju, Germany – $52,500
14 – Michael Soyza, Malaysia – $48,000
15 – Thai Thinh Chu, Vietnam – $48,000
16 – Choon Tong Siow, Malaysia – $43,500
17 – Michael Rossi, USA – $43,500
18 – Jason Koon, USA – $39,000
19 – Johannes Straver, Netherlands – $39,000
20 – Seth Gottlieb, USA – $39,000
*denotes heads-up deal
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive