First Rounders: Triton Poker Vietnam 2023 $100K NLHE Main Event

First Rounders is back with picks for the Triton Poker Vietnam 2023 $100,000 buy-in Main Event.

Jeff Walsh
Mar 2, 2023
Seth Davies, Fedor Holz, and Sam Greenwood have all enjoyed success at Triton Poker series.

Nosebleed tournament pros will soon be back in action as Triton Poker’s Super High Roller Series makes its way to the Hoiana Resort in Vietnam for the third stop of Season Two. This time there are 12 big buy-in events taking place over two weeks, from Wednesday, March 1 through Monday, March 13, and if recent attendance is any indication of the star power that will be in the building, it’s going to be an absolutely packed house of poker’s elite.

In Triton Poker events, there are really no soft spots, and there’s nowhere to hide. Take one look at their Season Two Player of the Year leaderboard and it’s clear that if you want to shot take with that $25,000 burning a hole in your pocket, there’s just gotta be a better spot somewhere else in the poker world.

That said, this is First Rounders and we’re here to draft a squad, and make some picks as to who we think is going to emerge as the biggest winners in the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event. Should be easy, right? Everyone is a crusher, so how can we miss? But also, everyone is a crusher – how can we choose? Well, we’re going to.

Even though only two of our six picks for the $25K PSPC made the money, we’re still feeling pretty good about how that worked out. So, let’s get into it once again – here are the First Rounders for the Triton Poker Series $100,000 Main Event.

#1. Sam Greenwood

Sam Greenwood is about as blue-chip a pick as there is. The consummate high-roller is a Triton fixture, currently sitting second in the Season Two Player of the Year race and fourth all-time in Triton cashes (15). The often affable Greenwood may sometimes be regulated to second billing when talking about who’s who in the high rollers, but he’s our first pick this time having just come off a massive $250,000 NLHE Super High Roller victory at the PCA in the Bahamas for more than $3.2 million. He backed that up with a runner-up score in the €25,000 NLHE High Roller at EPT Paris for what converts to more than $189,000.

When it comes to poker, Greenwood is in fighting shape (he always is) and he’s got his eye on overtaking Stephen Chidwick in the Triton POY standings. He’s going to need some healthy scores to make that happen, but he’s proved time and time again that he’s more than capable. In his last Triton effort (Cyprus, September 2022) he cashed in four of ten events for nearly $2 million. He missed out during the $200K Main Event of that series, but we’re thinking that the time is right for Greenwood to make waves in Vietnam.

Mikita Badziakouski

#2. Mikita Badkiakouski

Since emerging on the high-roller scene, Mikita Badziakouski has been one of the most dominant players in the nosebleed scene. So much so, in fact, that he has quietly climbed into the top 10 of the All-Time Money List (9th) with more than $38,000,000 in recorded lifetime tournament earnings, just recently passing Phil Ivey who slipped to 10th.

The truth is, the last time Badziakouski attended a Triton Series, it didn’t go very well for the Belarusian. He recorded a pair of cashes for $370,000, but at a Triton Series that’s likely to be a losing trip (not confirmed, just supposing). His last major score took place in August 2022 when he took down the EPT Barcelona €100,000 SHR for a score of more than $2 million. Since that time, he’s recorded a few five-figure scores – nothing major in the context of what he usually does. But when you look at the history of Badziakousi (save for the gap when the pandemic shut down live poker) he just doesn’t stay down for long. He has this history of rising to the occasion in the biggest of spots and notching another seven-figure score on his resume soon seems likely.

Plus he’s got leaderboards to climb: he’s sitting fourth on the Triton Season Two Player of the Year leaderboard, and if you don’t think he’s got his tinted aviator sunglasses eyeing another move up the All-Time Money list, you don’t know how hungry Badziakouski really is.

#3. Fedor Holz

Speaking of the All-Time top 10...Fedor Holz is on the doorstep of making his back way into that group. He’s coming off a very successful trip to the Bahamas where he made a deep run in the $25,000 PSPC – finishing in 21st place for $123,600 before going on to finish as the runner-up in the $100,000 NLHE for another score of just over $1,000,000.

All of that retirement talk from a number of years back is firmly in the rearview mirror and the Crown Prince of German poker is back in the limelight crushing high-stakes souls. During the last Triton Series, Holz, booked three scores, including a fourth-place finish in the $200,000 Coin Rivet Invitational which was good for $2.1 million. But none of his nosebleed antics can come as a surprise anymore, right? The secondary reason to pick Holz right now is he seems locked-in focused no matter the stakes. He played a pair of €1k events at EPT Prague in December of 2022 and made fairly deep runs in both, including a final table.

He’s off to a fast start in 2023, adding another $155K at EPT Paris to his bankroll, and he’ll be looking to keep the momentum going at Triton Vietnam.

#4. Seth Davies

It’s a little crazy to think that Seth Davies only has just two career seven-figure scores. (That’s also a crazy sentence to type and be serious about).

But with more than $19 million in lifetime tournament earnings, Davies has proven to be one of the most consistent crushers on the high-roller circuit. He’s always deep in these small-field, massive buy-in events. Take a look at the most recent Triton Series, where he cashed in five events including a final table appearance in the $200K Coin Rivet Invitational for $770,000.

Skill aside, another reason to take Davies headed into Vietnam is that he’s on one so far in 2023. One of the aforementioned million-dollar scores took place at the PCA where he finished as the runner-up in the $100K. Aside from that, he’s made four high-roller final tables in the past six weeks. Davies’ resume is replete with big-time scores, but the one thing that seems to evade him is that signature win. That trophy-hoisting, million-dollar, top-of-the-resume score. It’s coming.

#5. Isaac Haxton

Squarely in the camp of “off to a hot start in 2023” is one of the internet player OGs – Isaac Haxton.

Haxton kicked off the year with a victory in the PokerGO Cup $50K Main Event for $598,000 and promptly flew to the Bahamas where he topped not one, but two, $100K Super High Rollers – both for scores of more than $1 million. In between, he made the money in the PCA Main Event and finished in third in another $25K. In total, Haxton has made more than $3.7 million this year so far. That’s more than 10% of his total career earnings (which has him 15th on the All-Time list).

Ike is always in the mix, always a threat to win for sure. But we’re wondering if he’s going to have a career year. One that rivals 2016, when he booked three massive seven-figure scores including a runner-up finish in the Super High Roller Bowl for $3.5 million and a victory in the $111,111 High Roller For One Drop at the WSOP for $4.9 million just one month later. Then there’s his runner-up result in the Big One for One Drop at the 2018 WSOP, for $6 million.

Haxton on a heater is a scary thing, and we’re happy to pick him in our top 6 and ride the hot hand.

#6. Paul Phua

This might be a bit of a recency bias pick as the last time we took a tour founder to win its big prize, it happened. Paul Phua is Triton Poker. The founding father of the tour has not only curated a brand for the top talent in the poker world but he’s managed to also succeed while playing in the game with them.

According to Hendon Mob, Phua is second all-time in Triton cashes with 22 and he currently sits in the top 10 of the Season Two POY list. However, for all of his Triton success, Phua only posed for the winner’s photo once. That was in the €30,000 NLHE event at 2022 Triton Madrid.

But maybe Phua is going to get on an upswing. After all, he just picked up his first WSOP bracelet back in November with a win in the WSOPE €25,000 Platinum High Roller, and winning often begets winning. For Phua, it just can’t be about the money – it has to be about the competition, and so perhaps this time he’s ready to win a Main Event in a series of his own.