How Bryn Kenney became the world's richest poker player...
Currently playing out the last day of the series, Triton Poker made its inaugural stop at London between 31 July and 8 August and here, Event #2: £1,050,000 NLHE - Triton Million for Charity was one of the biggest tournaments being spoken about on the schedule.
We were following the series as Indian-origin player Vivek Rajkumar (pictured below) bagged a tremendous lead in this charity tournament, which also was the richest poker tournament in history. Rajkumar was already #1 on India's all-time list even though he shifted out of India many years back. Here, he held 18 million chips leading the final 9 with Stephen Chidwick in second place, holding around 9 million chips.
However, Rajkumar busted early the next day, heading out in 5th place for a booming payday of £3,000,000 (~$3,652,345) (~INR 25.83 Crore), while increasing his lead by a long way on the Indian poker earnings list, taking his career earnings past the $8-million mark. Nipun Java is a far second on this list with around $2.5 million in live earnings.
However, the day wasn't about Rajkumar or even UK's Chidwick, as the latter was soon to bust out in 4th place for £4,410,000. Here onwards, there were the biggest pay jumps in poker history to watch out for and the players who reached heads-up couldn't resist from striking a deal and securing themselves.
These players were USA's Bryn Kenney and China's Aaron Shu Nu Zang (pictured above) and at the time of the deal, Kenney had around 4:1 of a chip lead, which gave him a major piece of the balance prize pool. However, Zang managed to get rid of the imbalance after the deal, winning the title and all glory, while Kenney took away what became the biggest prize ever in poker tournament history.
Zang had less than $1 million in prize money prior to this historic tournament and when he got up from that table, he was £13,779,491 (~$16.7 million) richer. As for Kenney (pictured below), he would be content with the runner-up prize because he was rewarded with an enormous amount of £16,890,509 (~$20.5 million) for his run.
Kenney has had a brilliant last year or so in live poker, with plenty of major cashes and titles including the Aussie Millions Main Event title to begin the year down under, followed by a title at the US Poker Open and then two titles at the Triton Montenegro series in May this year, including the Main Event title.
This would've been the biggest win by far, making it not just his biggest cash but the biggest ever in poker history, which also helped him catapult to the top of the all-time poker earnings list. A few days back, he held the 9th spot but has now overtaken Justin Bonomo by a huge margin, sitting pretty at #1 with $55.5 million in live poker earnings. Surely, this man must feel on top of the world right now!
The global poker industry is on a rise and this is easier to believe when we see bigger and bigger prize pools every so often. As for Team India, a couple of players are above the $1-million mark (from among those still living in India) - Aditya Agarwal and Raghav Bansal. Our players are travelling more and prize pools in the Indian circuit are increasing too, so we could very well see these players climbing the ladder in years to come!
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