Talal Shakerchi has won the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam $100,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, outlasting a stacked field of 135 entries to secure his first Triton Poker title and the top prize of $3,250,000. This score was the largest yet for the 59-year-old British investment manager and frequent high-stakes poker player. He now has more than $12.8 million in recorded tournament earnings to his name but insists that he is still more businessman than a poker player.
“Poker is my hobby and I want to play the best players. That’s how you get satisfaction out of any activity that you do. Challenge yourself and try to do the best you can,” Shakerchi told Triton reporters after coming out on top. “I’m not a professional player. I spend quite a lot of time playing poker. It’s my main hobby. But I’m definitely not a pro.”
In addition to the title and the money, Shakerchi was also awarded 1,320 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his third final-table finish of the year, having finished third in a $1,050 turbo event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and sixth in the $25,000 turbo event earlier in this series. With 1,696 total points and more than $3.4 million in POY earnings to date, Shakerchi now sits in 32nd place on the 2023 POY leaderboard presented by Global Poker.
This event played out over the course of three days at the Hoiana Resort & Golf in Quang Nam, Vietnam. The 135-entry turnout, the largest ever in a Triton series main event, resulted in a $13,500,000 prize pool. The top 20 finishers made the money, with big names like World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour champion Michael Watson (20th), bracelet winner Sam Greenwood (19th), nine-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel (18th), all-time tournament earnings second-ranked Bryn Kenney (17th), and 2022 Coin Rivet Invitational champion Sam Grafton (16th) all cashing but falling short of the final table.
Day 2 ended with just nine contenders remaining, with Shakerchi in the lead and heavy hitters like four-time bracelet winner Adrian Mateos and two-time bracelet winner Fedor Holz sitting on above-average stacks.
Roman Hrabec (9th – $324,000) and Winfred Yu (8th – $418,400) both hit the rail during the first hour of final-table action, with the former losing a preflop race and the latter running A-10 into the A-K of Michael Soyza and pocket kings of Holz. Soyza won the massive pot when an ace flopped, moving into a virtual tie for second on the leaderboard as a result.
Two-time bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo found himself on the wrong side of a preflop cooler with pocket jacks running into pocket aces for Soyza. Petrangelo earned $566,800 as the seventh-place finisher, growing his career earnings to more than $29.5 million in the process.
Six-handed play continued for roughly an hour before the next elimination took place. Bracelet winner Timothy Adams three-bet shoved from the small blind over the under-the-gun open of Shakerchi, who called with pocket jacks. Adams was flipping with A-Q and saw an ace in the window, but there was also a jack on the flop to five Shakerchi a set and a huge lead in the hand. The turn and river changed nothing and Adams was knocked out in sixth place ($756,000).
Holz again found pocket kings in a big spot, and unfortunately for the German, his premium starting hand was again unable to beat out the big ace of his opponent. Daniel Smiljkovic’s A-Q suited improved to a pair of aces on the turn after all of the chips went in preflop, and Holz was unable to find a king on the river. Holz earned $965,000 as the fifth-place finisher, surpassing $40 million in career tournament earnings thanks to this deep run. He became just the tenth player in poker history to achieve that milestone and now sits in 10th place on the all-time money list with $40,212,911.
In the very next hand, Mateos open-shoved for just over 12 big blinds effective with K-7 from the small blind. Soyza, the short stack at the time, called all-in with A-5 and made a pair of fives to win the pot. Mateos was left with less than two big blinds and was soon eliminated by Shakerchi. The Spanish superstar earned $1,201,000, which was his eighth career seven-figure score. He now has more than $33.5 million in total earnings as a result.
Smiljkovic’s run in this event came to an end when he got all-in on a 762 flop with 76. He was up against the 53 of Shakerchi for a flush draw and a gutshot. The 10 turn and K river gave Shakerchi the winning hand and Smiljkovic was sent to the rail with $1,450,000 for his third-place showing.
Shakerchi entered heads-up play with just shy of a 2:1 chip lead over Soyza. On the first hand of the match Shakerchi turned the wheel against Soyza’s top pair of aces. Soyza held the A with three clubs on board, and managed to pull of a gutsy move on the river, moving all-in over Shakerchi’s river value bet. Shakerchi ended up folding his straight to relinquish the chip lead. He managed to edge back in front soon after that and then won a big pot with a turned straight against the second pair of Soyza.
Soyza was left with 10 big blinds after that confrontation. He picked up a couple of blinds before the final hand of the tournament was dealt. Shakerchi accidentally announced all-in out of turn before being told that action was indeed on Soyza. With that info, Soyza decided to limp in from the button with QJ and Shakerchi pushed with A7. Soyza called and the board ran out 6657K to lock up the pot and the title for Shakerchi.
Soyza earned a career-high payday of $2,207,000 as the runner-up finisher, growing his lifetime total earnings to nearly $12.7 million.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.