Talal Shakerchi
British high roller Talal Shakerchi became the envy of the poker world as he bagged $3.25 million, a record carer score, by winning the Triton Poker Series Vietnam Main Event.

The Triton Poker Series has reached its Main Event in Vietnam as the Hoiana Resort & Golf venue played host to a stunning finale, culminating in British high roller Talal Shakerchi winning the $3,250,000 top prize after getting the better of Michael Soyza heads-up. It was a stunning result not only for PokerStake seller Soyza, but the German player Daniel Smiljkovic as two of the final three finishers in the event came in the podium places.


Early Stages Favor the Big Stacks


The final nine players who gathered at the final table were headed by British hedge fund manager and high roller regular Talal Shakerchi, whose stack of 7.4 million chips equated to 74 big blinds by the time the final table was reached. Behind Shakerchi, Spanish superstar Adrian Mateos sat on 7.1 million, with a much bigger gap back to third in chips Daniel Smiljkovic on 5.3 million chips.


With 135 entries, a record-breaking Triton turnout, eclipsing the 130 entries in the 2019 Triton Main Event in London, the $100,000-entry Main Event began in fine style. It was a swift exit for the Czech Republic player Roman Hrabec, who already has a second-place finish to his name this series after starting the festival in top gear during the opening events.


Hrabec started the final with just five big blinds and predictably perhaps was the first man out. He shoved with 3s3h only for Mateos to call him with KdTs. The board of 9d8s2dQdJc gave the Spaniard a straight and he sent Hrabec to the rail with $324,000.


Next to leave the action was Winfred Yu, who busted in eighth place for $418,400 when Michael Soyza and Fedor Holz had him in fatal trouble in a three-way all-in. Yu shoved with AsTh, but had wandered into the coldest deck since the Titanic hit the iceberg, Holz holding KsKh and Soyza AdKd. Both men called and Holz was hoping for a double elimination, but Soyza struck gold on the board of Ac5h2cJc9d and tripled up, while Yu said goodbye.


North American Hopes Go South


With seven players remaining, it was the last American standing who was next to hit the rail. Nick Petrangelo has enjoyed a profitable trip to Vietnam already, but he busted in seventh for a score of $566,800 when he ran his JsJc into the AsAh of Michael Soyza, with the board of Qc4h3hKdTc giving Petrangelo no added hope to a two-outer river draw.


With Petrangelo gone, the last remaining North American player in the event was Canadian Timothy Adams, but his tournament came to a close in sixth place for $756,000. Shoving with AcQc pre-flop over Talal Shakerchi’s raise with JhJc and Soyza’s call with AdQs, Shakerchi’s re-shove meant that Adams only had to hit, as Soyza wisely elected to fold. The board was not a kind one, however, as the British player hit a set on the flop of AhJs7c and after the 9c turn and 2h river, the field was down to five.


Five became four when German poker legend Fedor holz ran out of luck in an awful spot. All-in with the best of it holding KdKc, Holz couldn’t hold against Daniel Smiljkovic, whose AhQh spiked an ace on the turn of a board showing 9c3d2cAsTs. Holz, who cashed for $965,000 in fourth place, fell just short of the top four as a result of the suckout.


Soyza Eclipsed by Shakerchi


With four remaining, the Spanish player Adrian Mateos was one of the major threats. However, his tourney ended abruptly, losing from the small blind with Ks7c against Soyza’s Ad5s when all the chips went in pre-flop. Soyza hit a five and with just two big blinds left to his name, Mateos exited in the next hand despite dominating Shakerchi, running out of luck entirely to leave in fourth place for $1,201,000, the first seven-figure score of the final day.

Earlier on, Mateos had discussed his strategy in another fun video short from Poker.org:

Three-handed, two of the last players were PokerStake players, leading to much celebration from their investors. A brilliant bluff from Soyza practically levelled the stacks early in three-handed play, and it was Smiljkovic who busted in third, cashing for $1,450,000. The German had a piece of the flop when his pre-flop raise with 7d6d was called by Shakerchi with 5h3h. That flop of 7s6h2h was a spectacular one, and all the money went into the middle with the German player needing to fade straight and flush draws. The Brit hit on the turn of Th and the Kh river made no difference to the outcome, Smiljkovic busting outside the top two.


Heading into the final duel, Shakerchi’s win in that hand meant he had a strong lead of 22.5 million against Michael Soyza’s 11.3 million chips. The chips didn’t stay that way, but Shakerchi had retaken the lead by the time the final hand played out. The British player’s Ad7d was ahead of Soyza’s QdJh with all the chips committed and after the 6d6h5d flop and 7c turn, Soyza needed to see one of eight ‘face’ cards to survive. The Kh on the river was the only type of picture card he couldn’t win with, having missed queen and jack, and Soya cashed for $2,207,000 in second place, runner-up to Shakerchi, who claimed his first Triton win and the $3.25 million top prize – the biggest tournament win of his poker career so far.

You can watch all the action from the final table of the $100,000 Main Event of the Triton Poker Series in Vietnam right here, with commentary from Henry Kilbane and Randy Lew.

2023 Triton Poker Series Vietnam Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Talal Shakerchi United Kingdom $3,250,000
2nd Michael Soyza Malaysia $2,207,000
3rd Daniel Smiljkovic Germany $1,450,000
4th Adrian Mateos Spain $1,201,000
5th Fedor Holz Germany $965,000
6th Timothy Adams Canada $756,000
7th Nick Petrangelo U.S.A. $566,800
8th Winfred Yu China $418,400
9th Roman Hrabec Czech Republic $324,000