Mikita Badziakouski Scores Back-to-Back Titles, Wins Triton Poker Jeju for $5,255,456
Once more, Mikita Badziakouski reached for perfection. After claiming the Triton throne three months ago in Montenegro, Badziakouski returned to the Triton Super High Roller Series in Jeju, South Korea. He topped the 55-entry competition for an astonishing payday of HK$41,250,000. The top-prize equals more than $5.2 million and comes down as the fourth-highest amount of money ever awarded in a tournament held outside of the World Series of Poker.
"This is obviously the biggest score but, at the same time, there is nothing special about it."
"I'm feeling great. Usually, you're really tired after a hard tournament, so the most joy is coming in the next days," the champion said.
Badziakouski masterfully navigated his way to a back-to-back victory with his typical robotic approach which helped him to reach the pinnacle of the high stakes tournament poker. Badziakouski doesn't feel the pressure in big moments, and that's a valuable tool when it comes to playing for millions of dollars.
"This is obviously the biggest score but, at the same time, there is nothing special about it. It's just about making good decisions, being a good player," Badziakouski said after claiming the title in Jeju.
|Position||Player||Country||Prize (HKD)||Prize (USD)|
|1st||Mikita Badziakouski||Belarus||HKD 41,250,000||$5,255,456|
|2nd||Chan Wai Leong||Malaysia||HKD 25,520,000||$3,251,376|
|3rd||Richard Yong||Malaysia||HKD 16,720,000||$2,130,212|
|4th||Sam Greenwood||Canada||HKD 11,550,000||$1,471,528|
|5th||Jason Koon||United States||HKD 8,470,000||$1,079,120|
|6th||Sergio Aido||Spain||HKD 6,490,000||$826,858|
Badziakouski certainly belongs to the group of the world's best players. Not only that he has won over $16 million in live tournaments, but he's built a strong reputation in the high roller circles for his outstanding expertise on no-limit hold'em technicalities.
"I think that has been the biggest motivation for me for a long time. Just to be trying to do my best and that's it," he said.
"You should try to get away from all emotions, so it doesn't really matter. Big stack, short stack. You always work with what you've got."
There might be tons of players who chase higher rankings on various leaderboards including the all-time money list, but Badziakouski isn't one of them. His zeal doesn't come from that perspective. The bottom line for him is to play at the highest possible level.
"Every time you face a decision, you just want to do the best decision the theory tells you, and that's it," Badziakouski said.
Badziakouski knows that he needs to be doing everything in his power to maximize his success at the tables, but the results in poker don't always reflect the preparation. "You should try to get away from all emotions so it doesn't really matter. Big stack, short stack. You always work with what you've got."
Here in the Main Event, Badziakouski was on the better side of the spectrum for almost the whole part. He bagged one of the top stacks at the end of Day 1 and then kept increasing his piles on the second day to claim the chip lead ahead of the six-handed finale where he was able to close things out.
"In the end, it's mostly about the luck. Last month, I've been really lucky and that's the reason why I'm winning," Badziakouski simplified his recent successful runs.
But the accomplishment matched his composure during the tournament. Badziakouski never stopped analyzing previous situations. He dedicated the breaks to studying previous hands, trying to get an extra edge over his rivals.
The Triton Series boasts a lot of players Badziakouski is used to battle on a monthly basis, but Chan Wai Leong might be one of the wild cards. While Badziakouski had already played against him at previous Triton events, the sample of their common hand history is likely much smaller than those he has with the likes of Sergio Aido, Jason Koon, and Sam Greenwood.
"In the end, it's mostly about the luck. Last month, I've been really lucky, and that's the reason why I'm winning."
Chan was the only player who managed to trouble Badziakouski on the final table. Chan first found a lucky double with tens over Badziakouski's aces, and then clipped the Belarussian again when he peeled pocket kings. Badziakouski wasn't able to get away from ace-queen with the nut flush draw on the turn and doubled Chan again while he dropped to a short stack himself.
Badziakouski, however, would eventually get his revenge. Another major encounter against Chan would soon determine the whole story. They tangled in a battle of the blinds which started with Badziakouski limping with ace-queen. Chan checked, and the board rolled out ace-high, pairing an eight on the river.
Badziakouski got raised on the turn and called before firing a bet on the river. Chan pulled off a massive bluff with air, shoving on Badziakouski who used all of his time extensions to figure out the pivotal decision of his tournament. Ultimately, he was able to call and double up.
"Result is not necessarily proving that the decision was correct. I felt like it was a spot where he could be bluffing, and I had not that many chips so... just gamble," Badziakouski said.
"I felt like it was a spot where he could be bluffing, and I had not that many chips so... just gamble."
He expanded on what was his thought process when he was facing the all-in bet. "On the rivers, it's usually very simple. Your opponent is either bluffing or value-betting. It's like one or two, and there's no middle option. I was jumping between both of them and, in the end, decided to call. I was right and got lucky."
After that crucial hand, it was a one-sided affair. Sergio Aido went under against Jason Koon after a disastrous final day where nothing seemed to work for him. Badziakouski then dispatched Koon in fifth, Greenwood in fourth, and he took care of Triton founder Richard Yong who bowed out in third place.
Badziakouski stormed to the heads-up with a 5-1 chip lead, taking on Chan again. Badziakouski didn't give him an ounce of space, and the duel escalated when Badziakouski won a preflop coin flip.
Chan settled for the silver medal, and Badziakouski took home the largest prize of his career, scooping the second Triton Main Event in a row.
"I'm really excited about it," Badziakouski said. Now with two remarkable titles under his belt, Badziakouski will surely pursue an unprecedented back-to-back-to-back victory so stay tuned to PokerNews to find out more about the future stops of Triton Super High Roller Series.
Curious about all the hands and how the final table played out? Check out the PokerNews Live Reporting of the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju HK$2,000,000 Main Event.