Smith scores winner vs former soccer star at $200k Triton Invitational

Dan Smith at the Triton Monte Carlo tournament series
Dave Woods
Posted on: October 26, 2023 08:56 PDT

Dan Smith has scooped the trophy and $3,870,000 top prize at the Triton Invitational in Monte Carlo, defeating former professional footballer Mario Mosböck heads-up.

Nine players returned for the final table today with their hearts set on winning the $200k buy-in event, which featured a unique mixture of amateurs and their invited pro sidekicks.

Aside from battling for the lion’s share of the $14.6 million prizepool, there were numerous subplots in play among the contenders for the crown.

Could French pharmacy magnate Jean-Noël Thorel finish 5th or better to oust Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier from the top of the French all-time moneywinners list?

Would Danny Tang continue his 2023 sun-run and bag a fifth title of the year to match Jason Koon’s record?

Was it time for Elton Tsang to make it a Monte-Carlo double to go with his $12 million 2016 One Drop victory and close the gap on Tang at the top of the Hong Kong all-time list?

The possibilities were many and varied, with Mario Mosböck looking to complete his transition from professional footballer to online crusher to live SHR winner, and “Cowboy” Dan Smith looking to finally bag a Triton title after numerous close-runs.

Mario Mosbock has turned a successful football career into a lucrative poker one Joe Giron/pokerphotoarchive.com

JNT ousts ElkY in France all-time money list

For Haralabos Voulgaris and his faithful pooch Oscar, it would be a short-lived afternoon in the Monte-Carlo Sporting Salle Des Étoiles, with yesterday’s poisoned chalice, ace-king, making a resurgence. Voulgaris’ pocket tens fell to Tsang’s big slick, and then Azerbaijani moneyman Ilkin Garibli likewise hit the rail when his nines were outflopped by a king in the window for Tang.

There followed a lengthy to-and-fro among the remaining seven, but it was far from boring, the balance between big stack bullying and short stack survival providing an intriguing narrative.

Fedor Holz was the first of three KOs delivered by his close friend and colleague in the Vienna poker scene, Mario Mosböck, with a resurgent “JNT” eliminating Tang in sixth spot.

That meant the 76-year-old, a huge fan favourite, had achieved his aim of deposing Grospellier at the top of the French rankings, and he eventually finished in fourth place. His end came courtesy of Mosböck, who had just had the temerity to oust his invitee, Russian businessman Alexander Shelukhin, in fifth.

Tsang couldn’t make it a Monte Carlo reprise of his monster win back in 2016, with Dan Smith ending his hopes in third, leaving the "Cowboy" facing a 2:1 chip deficit against the former footballing ace.

Dan Smith silenced his rivals at the $200k Invitational Joe Giron/pokerphotoarchive.com

However, being hit squarely in the face with the deck never did anyone any harm heads-up, and the chip counts were swiftly reversed before the following hand saw Smith scoop the lot.

Smith A♠8♣
Mosböck: K♣8❤️

Smith raised on the button and was flatted by Mosböck to the 9♣6♠A♣ flop. Mosböck decided to check-raise Smith, “an exercise in futility”, as Henry Kilbane described it on commentary, with Smith calling. The K♠ gave Mosböck hope, and a check-call saw the pot swell to 7,400,000, with the Austrian only having 4,500,000 behind.

The river was pretty brutal, with the 8♠ giving both players two pair, and there was no escape for Mosböck, who called Smith's shove to see the bad news.

Talking afterwards, Smith said, "It feels great. I think this was the biggest win of my career. I’ve had a few bigger cashes, but cashing for 20 buy-ins is pretty special, and to finally win an event like this is amazing.”

Triton Monte Carlo $200k Invitational results

Result Player Chips
1 Dan Smith                       $3,870,000
2 Mario Mosböck                           $2,690,000
3 Elton Tsang         $1,780,000
4 Jean-Noël Thorel                $1,390,000
5 Alexander Shelukhin                               $1,125,000
6 Danny Tang                  $875,000
7 Fedor Holz                           $694,000
8 Ilkin Garibli        $540,000
9 Haralabos Voulgaris                        $406,000

Photos by Joe Giron/Triton Poker