Jans Arends is a highly successful online tournament poker player, with reported millions in earnings and a World Series of Poker Online bracelet to his name. The 32-year-old from the Netherlands, known to many by his screen name ‘Graftekkel’, has had some success in the live arena as well, including a career-best brick-and-mortar cash of $181,174 as the fourth-place finisher in a 2019 European Poker Tour Prague high roller event.
This spring, Arends decided to make the trip to Hoiana Resort & Golf in Quang Nam, Vietnam for the latest Triton Poker high-stakes festival. The decision has turned out to be a profitable one, as Arends has managed to record his two largest live tournament scores ever during the early days of the series. He placed second in the $15,000 buy-in seven-max event for $406,000 on Mar. 3, and then two days later emerged victorious in the $30,000 seven-max event for $921,178. Thanks to these two massive paydays, Arends now has recorded earnings of nearly $2.3 million.
“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 Triton reporters after coming out on top. “The next one was Vietnam. It was an easy decision.”
Arends’ two deep runs in Vietnam saw him take home not only more than $1.3 million in prize money but also 1,872 Card Player Player of the Year points. As a result, he now sits inside the top 20 in the 2023 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
Arends defeated a field of 171 entries to secure the title and the lion’s share of the $5,130,000 prize pool. He entered the official final table is second chip position, trailing only fellow bracelet winner Brian Kim.
The UK’s Oscar Brodkin lost most of his stack when his multi-street bluff was looked up by the aces up of World Poker Tour champion Jonathan Jaffe. Brodkin ran K-J suited into the A-2 suited of Arends in the following hand and lost to a rivered flush for the Dutchman to hit the rail in seventh place ($203,000).
Biao Ding busted in sixth place ($275,000) when his K-8 suited could not hold against the K-3 of Arends, who flopped two pair. With that, Arends took a healthy lead into five-handed action.
Seth Davies’ run in this event came to an end when his pocket jacks were outraced by the K-Q suited of Jaffe. Davies was awarded $353,700 and 455 POY points for his fifth-place showing. This was already his eighth POY-qualified final table of the year, with nearly $2.4 million in earnings accrued across those cashes. The WPT champion now sits in fourth place in the POY standings thanks to his impressive start to 2023.
Kim lost a flip to Kiat Lee to be left with less than two big blinds. He managed one double-up, but was ultimately knocked out in fourth when his K-2 ran into the pocket tens of Jaffe. Kim secured a career-high payday of $441,000 for his second final-table finish of the series.
Jaffe took the lead into three-handed play, but after he lost some big pots to slide to the bottom of the counts, the final three decided to discuss a deal. They ultimately decided to set aside $90,000 and the title to play for while locking in the following payouts based:
Kiat Lee – $851,932
Jans Arends – $831,178
Jonathan Jaffe – $766,890
After the deal was agreed upon, Arends won a big flip against Jaffe, with his A-Q besting pocket deuces to see him overtake the lead going into heads-up play. Jaffe’s negotiated payday of more than three-quarters of a million dollars was the largest recorded score of his career. It grew his lifetime earnings to nearly $7.4 million.
Lee landed the first big blow of the heads-up bout, winning a healthy pot with trips to even things up. Lee held a slight lead when the decisive hand was dealt. He limped in from the button with 77 and Arends shoved from the big blind with A4. Lee made the call and was in good shape to secure the title, but the board came down AJ824 to give Arends aces up and a massive chip lead.
The very next hand, Lee picked up 99 and got all-in against the AK of arends. The A87K10 runout locked up the pot and the title for Arends, while Lee was eliminated as the runner-up. Like Jaffe, the payout he agreed upon in the deal ($851,932) was the largest of his career. He now has nearly $4 million in recorded earnings.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.