Champion Danny Tang!

When Danny Tang won his first Triton title in Vietnam earlier this year, he said that he wasn’t sure he would ever get over the line. He’d watched all his friends and colleagues pick up trophies, and thought he had been left behind.

But after Tang pulled his finger from the dam, the titles have begun to flood in his direction. Tonight in London, at the Triton Series’ stop at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel, Tang has just won a fourth title, in the $60,000 No Limit Hold’em event.

He adds that to two he picked up in North Cyprus, plus that one from Vietnam, and all of a sudden only one man has more Triton titles than Tang. Will it be the 30-year-old from Hong Kong who manages to rein in Jason Koon? In this form, anything is possible.

Tang had to outlast a final table of numerous other Triton superstars today, including that man Koon and Mikita Badziakouski, who has four wins of his own. But eventually Tang was left heads-up against Brazil’s Bruno Volkmann, who was sitting in the final two for the second time this trip.

Volkmann again succumbed in the heads-up phase, winning $1,080,000 for his troubles. Tang, however, added $1,600,000 to his career total and leaves him narrowly shy of $10 million winnings on the Triton Series.

He was at a loss to describe why such a rich feast has followed the famine.

“I don’t know what to say, I really don’t know what to say,” Tang told Ali Nejad. “I think I’ve played pretty much the same. I’ve maybe improved a bit, playing with these guys every day you’re going to improve. But I wouldn’t say my skill level has improved dramatically compared to six months ago.”

He then reached for a spiritual explanation: “Ivan’s blessing, right?”

Danny Tang paid tribute to his late friend Ivan Leow


During Day 1, 70 players contributed 106 entries, building a prize pool of $6.36 million. Exactly half the field remained — 35 players — but the field needed to be sliced in two once again, down to 17, before anyone would be paid.

They quickly set about reducing the field to the last 20 before an almighty slowdown occurred. Nobody was eliminated for more than an hour, until eventually Dan Smith and Oya Masashi hit the rail and they were down to the stone bubble.

There were more than a handful of short stacks, but one of them, Steve O’Dwyer, doubled through Jason Koon to survive. That left Koon in real trouble.

Juan Pardo had the third smallest stack at this stage, but he was not so fortunate when he money went in. He got his last eight big blinds in with pocket tens, but Kiat Liu Chun hit an ace on the river with his AcQh. It meant that Pardo followed his best ever finish on the Triton Series yesterday with a stone bubble.

Bubble this time for Juan Pardo

Chun was now soaring, Koon had edged into the money once again, and the prolonged pre-bubble period had made almost every stack in the room fewer than 40 BBs. It follows that eliminations came thick and fast thereafter, with O’Dwyer, Nick Petrangelo, Yuri Dzivielevski and Ben Heath among those swept away.

With 10 left, and only nine seats at the final table, yesterday’s big winner Tim Adams got his chips in with a dominated ace in the hands of Danny Tang. Adams perished in 10th, rounding off his trip with a $130,400 cash. It left us with our final table.


They stacked up as follows:

Keat Liu Chun 5.855m (73 BBs)
Jason Koon 3.475m (43 BBs)
Danny Tang 2.6m (33 BBs)
Matthias Eibinger 2.435m (30 BBs)
Bruno Volkmann 2.33m (29 BBs)
Lewis Spencer 1.42m (18 BBs)
Mikita Badziakouski 1.25m (16 BBs)
Elior Sion 1.04m (13 BBs)
Sean Winter 790,000 (10 BBs)

Event #13 final table players (clockwise from back left): Danny Tang, Lewis Spencer, Jason Koon, Mikita Badziakouski, Bruno Volkmann, Sean Winter, Keat Liu Chun, Elior Sion, Matthias Eibinger

There was a whole lot of Triton experience in many of the final table players: Koon had eight titles, Danny Tang had three and Matthias Eibinger two. Meanwhile Mikita Badziakouski has four. But there were also the newcomers Chun and Lewis Spencer to worry about at this table.

Sean Winter was also in the money for the first time on this trip to London, while Elior Sion had returned to the tables for the first time since the last time the tour was here.

Sion cashed once back then, and his second career Triton cash became worth $159,000. He was the first out from the final table, the most recent victim of Chun. Winter had doubled by this point, so Sion was in danger. He got his last eight bigs in with Ad7h but Chun’s KhQc made a flush in clubs.

Elior Sion, another cash in his hometown

On the very next hand, Koon lost a huge flip against Bruno Volkmann, doubling the Brazilian and leaving Koon close to Winter at the bottom. However the whole table now battened down the hatches and refused to be drawn into an ICM-dubious plays. Koon and Winter both managed to tread water, which left Spencer as the next player to bust.

Spencer found himself folding repeatedly for a few orbits until he found Ac4d on the button. He committed his chips but Matthias Eibinger had AdKs. Spencer couldn’t catch up and won $213,000 for eighth, his first Triton cash.

Lewis Spencer made a deep run in only his second Triton tournament

Stacks were getting critical now, with everyone waiting for a big hand to commit. But even picking up one of them was no guarantee of survival. Badziakouski, who has endured a pretty wretched stop here in London, found pocket kings and committed his last nine big blinds. Tang also had a big hand AsKd and called Badzikouski’s four-bet shove.

Tang was a big underdog until the dealer put the Ac on the turn, and that was the end of it for Badziakouski. He picked up $283,000 for seventh.

Mikita Badziakouski’s hunt for a fifth title continue

Winter’s long and unlikely vigil eventually came to an end in sixth. He was down to only three big blinds when they went in against Eibinger. Winter min-raised, Eibinger pushed and Winter called off. Eibinger’s Kc9s held against Winter’s QdTh.

Winter picked up $370,200 — the result of an amazing laddering feat.

Sean Winter showed some incredible tenacity at the final

With five left, the average stack was only 22 big blinds. Only Chun, Volkmann and Tang had more, and they were jostling for supremacy at the top of the counts. Eibinger and Koon were the shorties.

Koon, however, was in scrapping mode and managed a double through Volkmann. It was AsJs versus Ah7s and the best hand held. That put Tang into the lead by default, with 33 big blinds.

Tang’s place at the top was relevant because of what happened next. He got involved in a big one against the man who had been leading for the best part of five hours, Chun. Tang picked up QsTc on the button and shoved, covering the two players behind him of course.

Eibinger folded his small blind but Chun considered his As9s to be good enough and made the call. Tang hit one ten on the flop and another on the river, and that was the biggest pot this tournament had seen for quite some time.

Tang rocketed to more than 60 big blinds, while Chun’s tournament was over. It was his second cash of the trip and eared him $469,000.

Keat Liu Chun led for long periods before a tangle with Tang

Tang, with more than his three opponents combined, did what he had to do, which was to shove and pick up blinds. The level went up, leaving Eibinger with only three bigs, but he doubled through Tang with a dominant queen and then got a shove through unopposed. That gave him some breathing space.

Koon was not quite so fortunate. He picked up Ad8d and moved in for 11 bigs from the small blind. He only had Tang to get through, but Tang was going nowhere with AsKs. Both players hit their ace, but Tang’s kicker played.

There was no remarkable ninth title for Koon this time. He has to settle for $582,000 and a fourth-place finish.

Number nine will have to wait for Jason Koon

Eibinger’s race was run soon after. He shoved seven big blinds from the small blind with AcKh and Volkmann this time made the call. Volkmann had only Qh6h but rivered a straight to eliminate Eibinger in third. The Austrian won $703,000.

No hard feelings for Matthias Eibinger

And so they prepared for heads up, with Tang’s 65 big blinds in strong shape against Volkmann’s 19.

Two Partisan rails now appeared. The continent of Asia was behind Tang; Volkmann had a decent contingent of Brazilians across the other side rooting on their man. There was the chance of a long-ish battle, especially if Volkmann could find a double. But all it actually took was one major pot.

Tang limped with Ah5d, Volkmann checked his 2d5c, and the dealer put the 3s3c7d flop on the board. Both players checked. The turn was the 4s and Volkmann now bet 275,000. Tang called.

The river was the 2h and after Volkmann checked, Tang bet 1.4 million. Volkmann had some showdown value with his deuce, but opted instead to turn his hand into a bluff and shoved. Tang was in agony. He had a straight, but it was far from the nuts. “I’m not slow-rolling you by the way,” Tang said, as he pondered the decision.

Another second for Bruno Volkmann

Tang eventually made the call and found out that his hand was good. Volkmann shook hands and left the stage, allowing Tang all the plaudits.

That was all it took. One last expertly played hand from Tang and he moves alongside Badziakouski and Phil Ivey as a four-time Triton champion. It’s been one very good 2023 for Tang so far. And there’s still more to come.

“All of the support, it means a lot you know,” Tang said, dedicating his win to his supporters. “I really enjoy this part of it. Brazil that side, Asia this side. I’m just blessed to have these good friends. We can all improve together.”

Event #13 – $60,000 NLH
Dates: August 7-8, 2023
Entries: 106 (inc. 36 re-entries)
Prize pool: $6,360,000

1 – Danny Tang, Hong Kong – $1,600,000
2 – Bruno Volkmann, Brazil – $1,080,000
3 – Matthias Eibinger, Austria – $703,000
4 – Jason Koon, USA – $582,000
5 – Keat Liu Chun, Malaysia – $469,000
6 – Sean Winter, USA – $370,200
7 – Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus – $283,000
8 – Lewis Spencer, UK – $213,000
9 – Elio Rion, UK – $159,000

10 – Tim Adams, Canada – $130,400
11 – Ben Heath, UK – $130,400
12 – Yuri Dzivielevski, Brazil – $114,500
13 – Cary Katz, USA – $114,500
14 – Webster Lim, Malaysia – $105,500
15 – Rodrigo Seiji, Brazil – $105,500
16 – Nick Petrangelo, USA – $100,000
17 – Steve O’Dwyer, Ireland – $100,000

Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive

Author: Sean Anderson