Orpen Kisacikoglu defeated a field of 85 entries in the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam $75,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em eight-max event to secure his first Triton trophy and the top prize of $1,753,000.
This was the second-largest score yet for the Turkish businessman and poker player, trailing only the $2,117,316 he earned for a runner-up showing in the 2022 Triton Madrid €100,000 buy-in event. Kisacikoglu now has more than $13.1 million in lifetime earnings, adding to his already considerable lead on the Turkish all-time money list. He now sits nearly $9.5 million ahead of second-ranked Selahaddin Bedir ($3,656,325).
Kisacikoglu also earned 816 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was already his fifth final-table finish of the year, with $2,687,986 in POY-earnings accrued across those scores. As a result, he now sits in 20th place in the 2023 POY race standings sponsored by Global Poker.
This event played out over the course of two days at the Hoiana Resort & Golf in Quang Nam. Several hours into day 2, the money bubble burst when Daniel Dvoress’ Q-10 lost to the K-5 of Michael Soyza in a battle of the blinds. The Canadian bracelet winner was the last player eliminated outside of the money. After Adrian Mateos (11th – $159,500) and David Yan (110th – $159,500) hit the rail, Soyza ultimately found himself eliminated on the official final table bubble when his pocket aces were cracked by the pocket jacks of Stephen Chidwick. Soyza earned $182,500 as the ninth-place finisher.
The next key clash was a three-way all-in, with Rob Yong and Punnat Punsri at risk. Yong held A-K, while Punsri had pocket fives. Santhosh Suvarna had both opponents covered and held the best hand with pocket aces. A safe runout saw Suvarna score the double knockout, sending Yong home with $239,000 for his eighth-place showing while Punsri earned $306,000 as the seventh-place finisher.
Bracelet winner and four-time Triton Poker champion Jason Koon was the next to fall. He lost a big flip with pocket nines against the A-10 suited of Kisacikoglu to slide down the leaderboard. He then got all-in with A-10 trailing the A-Q of Kisacikoglu. Koon found no help and was knocked out in sixth place ($389,000). He now has more than $42.3 million in lifetime earnings.
By the time the next key hand arose, both Suvarna and Steve O’Dwyer were sitting with fewer than eight big blinds. Chidwick opted to open shove from the cutoff with A-8. Henrik Hecklen, who was third in chips at the time, went into the tank before calling off his stack with A-J suited. Hecklen was in great shape to double up, but the board brought four hearts to give Chidwick a flush. Hecklen earned $497,500 for his fifth-place showing, surpassing $10 million in recorded tournament earnings in the process.
Suvarna’s run in this event came to an end when he got the last of his short stack in with A-7 leading the Q-J suited of Chidwick. The flop gave Chidwick an open-ended straight draw to go with his two live cards, making him a favorite in the hand. The turn brought a king to give Chidwick an unbeatable king-high straight. The river was a mere formality and Suvarna was eliminated in fourth place, securing a career-best $628,000 as the fourth-place finisher.
O’Dwyer soon followed when his pocket queens were cracked by the 8-7 suited of Chidwick, who shoved from the small blind. O’Dwyer called from the big and was well ahead going into the flop. Chidwick picked up an open-ended straight draw right away. After a brick on the turn, O’Dywer was more than a 4:1 favorite to double up. A five on the end completed Chidwick’s draw, though, and sent O’Dwyer to the rail with $816,000. The score saw his lifetime earnings grow to nearly $36 million.
Heads-up play began with Chidwick holding 9,850,000 to Kisacikoglu’s 7,150,000. It was all Chidwick in the early going, and he steadily chipped up to roughly a 2:1 lead before Kisacikoglu was able to pull off a river bluff to secure his first big pot of the match. Chidwick struck back, winning a big pot without showdown having outflopped Kisacikoglu’s pocket sevens with his A-J suited.
Chidwick held a slight lead when the decisive hand of heads-up was dealt. He raised from the big blind with 92 after Kisacikoglu had limped in with A2 from the button. Kisacikoglu called and the flop came down A32. Chidwick made a continuation bet and Kisacikoglu called with his aces up. Chidwick turned nines up when the 9 hit the board. Chidwick bet again and Kisacikoglu moved all-in. Chidwick called and got the bad news that he needed a nine on the river to win the pot. The Q completed the board and Kisacikoglu took a commanding lead.
Chidwick was left with just a few big blinds after the hand. He was soon all-in with K6 facing the K6 of Kisacikoglu. Statistically, the hand would be chopped 93 percent of the time. In this particular instance, though, the AJ54Q runout saw Kisacikoglu make a backdoor flush to secure the pot and the title.
Chidwick was awarded $1,245,000 as the runner-up finisher. This was already his fourth final-table finish of the year. The two-time POY award winner now sits in 27th place in this year’s rankings, with 1,716 points and nearly $2.1 million in to-date POY earnings. This score increased his career earnings to $47,260,473, keeping him in fourth place on poker’s all-time money list.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: Joe Giron / Triton Poker.