Strategy on the Stream: Triton Poker Million Euro Cash Game Analysis
The Triton Super High Roller seres at the Maestral Resort & Casino in Montenegro concluded last night with Jason Koon taking down the HKD1,000,000 Short Deck Ante-Only Event. For topping the 103-entry field Koon won a massive first prize worth approximately $3.58 million USD. Not bad for Koon who was only recently introduced to short deck hold'em.
The Triton Poker live stream of each of the events as well as a €1,000,000 buy-in cash game was consistently entertaining — and educational, too, with commentary by Randy "nanonoko" Lew, Kane Kalas, and others providing a lot of strategic insight throughout the week. Archived videos of the live streams are all available to watch for free on the Triton Poker Twitch channel.
To give a quick example of the discussion accompanying the poker, here's just one hand from early in that €1 million cash game, a huge early pot primarily involving Wang "Shanghai Wong" Qiang and Elton Tsang.
With everyone buying in for €1M, each of the players involved were still hovering around that starting stack when this hand took place, with Shanghai up a bit to about €1.1M and Tsang having slipped a little to €942,000.
The blinds were €2,000/€4,000 with a €4,000 big blind ante.
Preflop & Flop
This hand saw three players with suited aces and one with a pocket pair make it to the flop.
Paul Phua opened for €13,000 from the cutoff with , and Shanghai called from the button holding . Phil Ivey came along from the small blind with , as did Tsang in the big blind with .
With €56,000 in the middle, the flop then came .
Kane Kalas would enter the cash game himself a little later, so Randy Lew was joined in the booth by Gabe Patgorski who made two final tables during the series.
Lew: An inside straight draw for Shanghai Wong.
Patgorski: I think Shanghai Wong is going to work this one out somehow. He's the only one with kind of a cool hand. No one else has too big of a piece.
Lew: If he puts two barrels in here, I'm almost certain he's going to win this pot.
Patgorski: And he's not folding... he's on the button.
Indeed, it checked around to Shanghai who bet €18,000, and Ivey called. The action moved to Tsang.
Lew: I think Elton probably should fold, right? After a bet and call? He might call just because he has the backdoor flush draw.
Patgorski: Backdoor flush draw, yeah. Super deep... he might even raise. He knows Shanghai enough that he might think he can get away with doing something to take this pot down.
Lew: So he knows Shanghai Wong is betting a lot [of the time], he knows Ivey is going to call with middling pairs, if he check-raises here... he's going to get the guy who is just betting because he's on the button, and Ivey's going to fold his mid-pairs.
Tsang did check-raise to €80,000, and after Phua folded Shanghai thought a little while about what to do. As he did, Tom Dwan jumped in the booth to make a comment.
Dwan: I think Shanghai Wong has that "I'm about to do something crazy look."
Shanghai called the check-raise, and Ivey folded his nines.
The pot was up to €234,000, and with just Tsang and Shanghai left in the hand, the turn brought the , making the board . Tsang had made two pair, while Shanghai now had a pair of aces and a wheel draw.
From here the commentary focused a lot on each player's range as suggested by his actions thus far in the hand. As Daniel Negreanu pointed out recently in a helpful video introducing the concept, thinking in terms of ranges (and not specific hands) has become much more common in poker these days.
Lew: I imagine Elton's going to keep betting here, right? He's not going to put Shanghai Wong on ace-king, because [he] didn't three-bet Paul Phua [preflop]. So he probably really shouldn't be worried about anything....
Lew: Four-five would be the only hand you're really worried about, and occasionally deuces or threes.
Patgorski: He probably thinks [Shanghai] has a king.
Tsang bet €120,000, a little over half the pot. It was an amount both Patgorski and Lew liked as not being "too greedy," designed to keep Shanghai in the hand.
Lew: I like the smaller bet, because [Tsang's] opponent most likely has king-queen [or] king-jack if he's going to continue. Occasionally he has a hand like ace-four and ace-five.
Action moved to Shanghai Wong who they expected to call with his pair of aces and straight draw.
Lew: I don't ever expect Shanghai Wong to fold this turn, just because he's stronger than what he's perceived to have.
Patgorski speculated a little about what would happen "if Shanghai Wong just ripped it in here," a bet that would potentially be hard for Tsang to call. Shanghai did just call, though.
With €474,000 in the middle, the river brought the , making the completed board .
The discussion turned toward value betting and bet sizing, again acknowledging Shanghai's likely narrow range including hands of moderate value and excluding hands with none.
Lew: If I'm Elton here, I think I'm betting pretty big. I'm going to hope Shanghai Wong rivered two pair with [a hand] like king-jack.
Patgorski: Yeah, you gotta bet this.... There's no bluffs that you can... you know, if you check and you're hoping he bluffs, what could he have?
Lew: Usually what happens is if you check, your opponent just checks back and you just give him a free showdown with [hands] like king-queen, ace-five, ace-four.
Patgorski: Right, there's no airballs he could have, really.
Recognizing all of this, Tsang bet €200,000, Shanghai called right away, and Tsang won a nice pot of €874,000.
There would be even bigger pots later in the night, as well as a lot more sharp strategy talk. Check it all out here: "WATCH: Million Euro Buy-in Cash Game in Montenegro With Dwan, Antonius, Ivey."
And this just in... it sounds like one last post-series, high-stakes cash game is about to start in Montenegro! Check out that Triton Poker Twitch stream.