The essential journalist news source


London, August 5, 2019—The biggest buy-in poker tournament in history ended in the most spectacular surprise when Aaron Zang, (pictured above), a previously unheralded financier from Shanghai, beat some of the world's best known poker players to win the Triton London - A Helping Hand for Charity tournament.

The event required a buy-in of £1.05 million, the most ever for a poker tournament, from which £50,000 per person went to charity. With 54 entrants, the total prize pool weighed in at £54 million, and was originally scheduled to pay its winner £19 million.

However with two players left, Zang, 37, arranged a deal with his final opponent, Bryn Kenney, from Long Island, New York, to split the remaining prizes. At that point, Kenney had four times as many chips as Zang and so took the most money: £16,890,509 to Zang's £13,779,491.

But Zang, with shaking hands and a racing heart, was able to overcome the imbalance in chips and experience, and won two crucial hands to clinch the title and the trophy. "Miracles happen," an emotional Zang said, as he became the first Chinese player to win on the Triton Series.

"I didn't think you were that good," joked Triton co-founder Paul Phua as he handed the trophy to his old friend Zang.

Kenney cannot be too disappointed. The 32-year-old's payday was the biggest ever awarded to a poker player in tournament history, even if he is officially the runner-up. His near £17 million ($20.5 million) prize sent him to the top of poker's all-time money list, leapfrogging his countryman Justin Bonomo. It took Kenney's career winnings to more than $55 million, more than $30 million of which has come this year. Kenney's spectacular run has included huge scores in Australia, South Korea, Montenegro and now London.

"I wanted the trophy but it's the biggest win that anybody's ever had, number one on the all-time money list, what can I complain about?" Kenney said. "It's incredible."

Eight players remained at the start of play on the final day, including three other players - Dan Smith, of the United States, Stephen Chidwick, of the UK, and Canadian Timothy Adams - who also could have become the leading money earner in world poker had they won. But Adams was knocked out in eighth, and Kenney then eliminated both the other two, with Chidwick falling in fourth and earning £4.41 million, and Smith knocked out in third, taking £7.2 million.

The tournament was open only to a select group of recreational poker players extended an invitation by Triton, who could then bring one guest—a professional poker player—with them to play. Both Chidwick and Smith were joined at the final by their businessman partners, although Alfred DeCarolis (Chidwick's partner) was knocked out in seventh, for £1.72 million, and Bill Perkins (Smith's partner) went out in sixth, for £2.2 million. The overnight chip leader Vivek Rajkumah perished in fifth.

Zang played in the businessmen side of the draw, and admitted on several occasions that he was not as skilled as the players he outlasted in the tournament. "This shows that anyone can win," Phua said, encouraging more recreational players to take up poker. Zang said he is more comfortable playing cash games than tournaments, but may change his mind after this result.

"The tournament has been a great success, even more amazing than we could possibly have hoped," said Triton co-founder Richard Yong. "Not only have we made headlines across the world, thanks to the record-breaking prize money, but we have also raised at least £2.7 million for some of the most deserving charities across the globe."

He added: "Inside and outside the poker community, everyone has been watching the tournament this week and we've shown just what's possible for this game we all love. Aaron is a very worthy winner. He's a great player, a great guy, and we are delighted that he has become the champion of the biggest tournament in poker history."

See Triton website for a full recap of the day's action


Triton Million for Charity

Dates: August 1-3, 2019

Buy-in: £1.05 million

Players: 54

Prize-pool: £54 million


1 - Aaron Zang, China, £13,779,791*

2 - Bryn Kenney, United States, £16,890,509*

3 - Dan Smith, United States, £7.2 million

4 - Stephen Chidwick, UK, £4.41 million

5 - Vivek Rajkumar, India, £3 million

6 - Bill Perkins, United States, £2.2 million

7 - Alfred DeCarolis, United States, £1.72 million

8 - Timothy Adams, Canada, £1.4 million

9 - Wai Leong Chan, China, £1.2 million

10 - Chin Wei Lim, China, £1.1 million

11 - Winfred Yu, Hong Kong, £1.1 million




Triton Poker was founded in 2015 by the Malaysian businessman, philanthropist and poker lover, Richard Yong, who felt there was a gap in the market for an exclusive tournament series for affluent businesspeople and high-end professional poker players set in some of the most luxurious locations in the world all in the name of charity. Funds from Triton Poker events have helped charitable organisations such as Project Pink and the Red Cross.


All the action from London is being streamed live online, on YouTube, Twitch, Poker GO and the Triton Series website, with expert commentary in five languages.

Commentary team:

English: Lex Veldhuis, Randy Lew, Nick Schulman, Ali Nejad and Jeff Gross.

Chinese: Chen An Lin, Haoxiang Wang, and MuMu

Russian: Mikhail Semin

Danish: Rasmus Nielsen

Norwegian: Kjetil Flåten and Erik Bjørdal

Click for full broadcast details


Triton Poker supports the following charities:

Caring for Children Foundation

REG: Raising for Effective Giving

Healthy Hong Kong

Credit One World Charity Foundation

One Drop

Malaysia Red Crescent Society

Sarawak Cancer Society

Miri Dialysis Centre



Les Ambassadeurs is one of the most prestigious private clubs and casinos in London, with a history dating from the early 19th century. Situated in the heart of London's exclusive Mayfair district, it is formerly the favoured gambling destination of Victorian aristocracy and diplomats and is still one of the most elegant and stylish casino floors in the world.

partypoker LIVE was created in January 2017 as a global poker tour, with the aim of bringing large field, high guarantee tournaments to players all over the world. Within just 12 months the partypoker LIVE tour has grown into the world's largest ever poker tour and is guaranteeing over $70,000,000 in the 2018/2019 season.