Coming into 2023, Mark Rubbathan’s largest live tournament score was a $14,280 cash for a final table showing in a 2019 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Manchester £1,100 buy-in event. The 32-year-old online tournament grinder from the UK smashed that number thanks to an incredible run at a high-stakes live tournament festival.
Rubbathan won his way to the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam via a promotion on online poker site Americas Cardroom, with $100,000 in buy-ins that he could utilize during the series. Rubbathan, who streams his online play as part of the ‘ACRStormers ELITE Stream Team’, easily surpassed his top finish with a 10th-place showing in event no. 2, earning a new career-best cash of $50,300 for his deep run in that $15,000 buy-in event. It didn’t take long for that new personal record to be surpassed, though, as he managed to emerge victorious from a field of 179 entries in event no. 3, the $20,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em mystery bounty. For the win Rubbathaned earn his first major live tournament title and $396,000 from the main prize pool.
“It is all completely surreal. I don’t know what to say, other than this was a really good time to run better than I’ve ever run in anything. I absolutely sun-run the final table,” Rubbathan told Triton Poker reporters after the win. “It’s indescribable. The whole experience was insane enough from the get-go. I won a package so I freerolled my way here. I wasn’t bothered, in a way, about cashing. I just wanted the experience. I was super looking forward to it. This is obviously beyond any expectation. It’s wild, absolutely wild.”
In addition to the nearly $400,000 top prize, Rubbathan reportedly added around $240,000 in mystery bounty payouts to his total haul. He also secured 936 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win.
Rubbathan was one of 179 entries in this $20,000 buy-in affair that ran from Mar. 3-4 at the Hoiana Resort near Da Nang, Vietnam. The main prize pool of $1,790,000 was paid out among the top 27 finishers, with the same amount earmarked for bounty payouts.
Pedro Garagnani fell to Rubbathan in ninth place ($40,100) to set the official final table. Bracelet winner Timothy Adams (8th – $48,500) soon followed, with his Q-J suited unable to outrun the A-K of a surging Rubbathan, who held more than twice as many chips as his closest competitor heading into seven-handed action.
Two-time bracelet winner Joao Vieira was the next to hit the rail. The recent European Poker Tour Paris high roller side event winner got all-in with A-K leading the Q-10 of Rubbathan. The board gave Rubbathan top two pair on the flop, which remained good through the river to end Vieira’s run in seventh place ($67,000).
Gytis Lazaouninkas ran A-9 suited into the A-J of bracelet winner Daniel Dvoress to finish sixth ($92,000). Calvin Tan then lost a preflop flip with pocket nines against the A-Q of Rubbathan for a massive pot. Tan took home $120,000 for his fifth-place showing.
A clash of pocket pairs spelled the end of Dvoress. His pocket eights were unable to come from behind against the pocket queens of Rubbathan and Dvoress was knocked out in fourth place ($150,400). This was already his fourth POY-qualified score of the year, with more than $750,000 in to-date POY earnings and 1,158 points. As a result, Dvoress now sits in 51st place in the 2023 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.
Rubbathan entered three-handed play with more than 63 percent of the total chips in play. After his A-K held up against the A-Q of Victor Chong, Rubbathan took roughly a 10:1 chip lead into heads-up play with 2021 Super High Roller Bowl Europe champion Wiktor Malinowski. The high-stakes regular known to many by his screen name ‘Limitless’ managed one double up, but was ultimately knocked out in second place ($268,000) when his K9 couldn’t fade the J9 of Rubbathan. The board ran out Q86AJ to give Rubbathan a winning pair of jacks.
The largest bounty payout on offer in this event was for $250,000. That lucky envelope was selected by Orpen Kisacikoglu. The payouts listed below do not include bounty prize money.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo credit: Joe Giron / Triton Poker.