Dao Minh Phu won his first major live poker tournament title in his home country of Vietnam, topping a field of 139 entries in the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam $50,000 buy-in eight-max no-limit hold’em event to earn the trophy and $1,670,000.
“I just learnt poker three years ago,” Phu told Triton reporters. “This is the first time I have played a big tournament, and I’m so happy.”
This event played out over the course of two days at the Hoiana Resort & Golf in Quang Nam. After more than 7 hours of day 2 action, the final nine players combined onto a single table. The first elimination at the unofficial nine-handed final table came when bracelet winner Sam Greenwood ran his A-Q into the pocket aces of fellow World Series of Poker champion Ben Heath. Greenwood could not find the miracle runout and was sent packing in ninth place ($166,800).
The next knockout began as a classic preflop cooler, and then turned into a rollercoaster ride for both players. The chips got in preflop with online tournament superstar Linus Loeliger holding QQ while bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion Dan Smith had AK. Loeliger was slightly ahead preflop, but took an even bigger lead when the first three cards came down KQ5 to give him middle set. The A on the turn gave Smith aces and kings, which gave him a chance to improve to a higher full house on the end if an ace or a king were to roll off the deck. The A appeared on the river, giving Smith aces full for the win Loeliger earned $215,500 as the eighth-place finisher, while smith climbed into the chip lead after the wild hand.
Heath’s run in this event came to an end when his pocket jacks failed to outrace the A-Q of Biao Ding. A queen-high flop saw Ding surge ahead, and the turn and river changed nothing. Heath took home $291,800 for his seventh-place showing, growing his career earnings to nearly $15.5 million.
Karl Chappe-Gatien, who won his first live title in the $40,000 short deck event at the Triton Mediterranean Poker Party last year, got the last of his short stack in with J-10, only to have Ding wake up with pocket aces. Ding’s monster held up and Chappe-Gatien was knocked out in sixth place ($389,000).
European Poker Tour champion Patrik Antonius got all-in with K-J facing the pocket sixes of Phu. Antonius found no help from the board and was sent to the rail in fifth place ($497,000). The Finnish high-stakes star now has more than $14 million in career earnings after this latest deep run.
The final four all sat with over 20 big blinds to start. Smith fell to the bottom of the leaderboard after losing a coinflip with overcards against a pocket pair for Ding. Smith managed to outlast Viacheslav Buldygin, though, with the Russian player’s pocket kings being outrun by the Q-J of a surging Ding, who made a queen-high straight to take a healthy lead going into three-handed play.
Ding continued to build when his A-10 suited held up against the K-7 of a short-stacked Smith. Ding hit a pair of tens to win the pot, sending Smith packing in third place ($750,500). The score increased his lifetime total to $40,872,427, good for eighth on the all-time money list.
Heads-up play began with Ding holding nearly a 2:1 chip advantage over Phu. A big early confrontation saw that gap narrowed considerably. Phu soon edged ahead, only to have Ding surge back into the lead after winning a big pot with trips. The tables turned yet again when Phu’s A-J suited held up against the A-8 of Ding in a preflop showdown. Ding was left on fumes and despite managing one double-up, was soon all-in and at risk again. This time Ding held KQ and was up against A10for phu. The board came down K8239 and Phu rivered the nut flush to best Ding’s second-nut flush. Ding took home $1,135,000 as the runner-up.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|1||Dao Minh Phu||$1,670,000||1122|
Photo credits: Joe Giron / Triton Poker.