The most exclusive high-stakes poker tour is back, and this time it’s landed in Monte Carlo, a fitting place to play for the world’s highest rollers. And this time, Triton Poker got right into it from the off, with the $200k Invitational pitting the biggest names against the wealthy amateurs.
The unique format sees pros only get a seat at the table if they bag an invite for the event from a businessman. That’s not usually a problem for the best of the best, with the likes of Phil Ivey, 9-time Triton champion Jason Koon, and 2022 WSOP Main Event champ Espen Jorstad all taking part.
One elite player who missed out is Justin Bonomo, despite tweeting asking for an invite. The EV has to be positive with Bonomo, so it was a surprise to see him say that he wouldn’t get to go to the ball despite being at the ball, and his big digital banner staring down at the players who were lucky enough to get an invite.
I’m here in Monte-Carlo ready to play some high rollers!— Bonologic (@JustinBonomo) October 24, 2023
A bit disappointed that I didn’t receive an invite to the $200k Invitational, but I’m still looking forward to many great events https://t.co/fiXxkbheeg
Bonomo wears his heart on his sleeve, and it’s perhaps his uncompromising views that have seen him miss out.
On the “wealthy rec” side of things, casino boss Rob Yong, sportsbettor extraordinaire Haralabos “Bob” Voulgaris, and Russian businessman Alexander Shelukhin were in the other half of the 58-player draw, the survivors from the two groups destined to clash tomorrow.
One of the early casualties was Fedor Holz, looking for a third Triton SHR title but finding his trip queens and shortish stack out-kicked by Danny Tang. An expensive $200k rebuy soon had the German back in action.
Three-way action good for Williams
Things were going rather better for Murray Williams, who found himself in the early chip lead thanks to a three-way all-in that saw Seth Gottlieb hit the rail.
Gottlieb’s shortstack squeeze pre-flop saw Williams call, only for Haynie, the original raiser, to shove, prompting Williams to stake his tournament life on his ladies.
The J♠J♦️Q❤️ flop pretty much sealed the deal, with the 8♦️ turn and 3♠ river bricking out to give Williams’ stack a monster boost.
Michael Addamo, so often the crusher, simply couldn’t catch a break, having his aces cracked by Koon and then sent to the re-buy desk by Nick Petrangelo, who flopped a set of Queens against Addamos’ AK.
Koon crushing again
Koon was getting the sort of cards that have seen him win a flurry of Triton titles recently, good play notwithstanding.
A late flurry of bustouts, Timothy Adams’ big slick losing to Dan Smith’s pocket queens and Rob Yong and Brian Kim’s second bullets among them, ended a cracking opening day’s action, with day two looking equally promising.
Starting at level 10 the players will be segregated for another two levels, before the field merges for some pro v businessman carnage. Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Sam Grafton and Tony G are still in and comfortably stacked. Patrik Antonius is the shortest of the short stacks.
Elton Tsang, the first player to hit the rail today, managed to turn his second bullet into the chip lead.
Triton $200k Invitational day 1 – top 10 chip counts
Photos by Joe Giron/Triton Poker