The Greatest Final Table in Triton History
Today, we’ll examine one of the most epic final table battles I’ve ever witnessed!
Our adventure begins during the Triton Super High Roller Series in London. The world’s most elite players gathered to compete in the $40k Mystery Bounty tournament. With over $5,000,000 in prizes, this was an event to be remembered.
After a hard-fought battle, only three players remained:
- Phil Ivey – The GOAT
- Stephen Chidwick – The MTT Endboss
- Espen Jørstad – 2022 WSOP Main Event Champion
We had the chance to talk with Espen Jørstad about his thoughts during this action-packed final table! We’ll analyze some of the most interesting hands and get into the mind of a GTO Prodigy.
Jørstad KQo vs Chidwick AA
Two hands into the final three – Espen picked up KQo against Chidwick’s pocket Aces! A dangerous spot to be in 25bb deep. Chidwick opened the BTN; action folds to Espen, who just called.
Espen might have gotten away from this cooler, but he picked up top pair on the turn and got stacked on the river, leaving him with just 2bb…
Jørstad Q4o vs Chidwick 87o
As the saying goes, all you need is a chip and a chair! Espen managed to hang on and claw his way back. Eventually, he found himself with Q♦4♣ in the SB vs Chidwick’s 8♥7♦ in the BB. They limped in and flopped K♦J♣4♦, giving Espen bottom pair.
Espen leads out for 1bb, and Chidwick puts in a daring min-raise with 8 high! Espen’s not letting go of his pair just yet, and elects to call.
They turned the 9♦ – giving both players a flush draw and straight draw – however, both players checked behind. The river brings the 7♠, giving Chidwick a better pair.
- Chidwick: 8♥7♦
- Espen: Q♦4♣
- Board: K♦J♣4♦ 9♦ 7♠
After nearly an hour grinding back his stack, Espen puts it all on the line and turns his bottom pair into a bluff! Chidwick thought for a while and mucked the best hand.
Play continued like this for a while. The chip lead was exchanged almost 10 times! But eventually, Espen managed to bust Chidwick, and go heads up against Phil Ivey.
Espen’s Thoughts About the Competition
We were curious what Espen thought about his opponent’s play. Chidwick was quite active, but our analysis showed he played near-perfect GTO!
In contrast, Phil Ivey, seemed to be playing too tight. Tighter than GTO, anyway. He seemed to fold many marginal spots rather than trying to abuse his chip lead. We wondered if this was an intentional deviation from equilibrium.
Steven Chidwick is a specialist. He’s been dominating the MTT scene for many years, and is a world-class expert in these formats. He’s considered by many to be one of the greatest MTT players of our time.
Phil Ivey, however, is a generalist. Ivey is an old school card player – and he plays everything! If cards and gambling are involved, he’s won money at it. Yet, despite a seeming lack of knowledge about these newer formats, he manages to keep up with some of the best players in the world.
The Heads Up Battle – Jørstad vs Ivey
The heads up battle between Espen and Phil was hard fought. Ivey went in with the chip lead, but the stacks equalized after some time. Ivey opted for a suboptimal open/fold style in position rather than the GTO recommended strategy of limping most of your range. This enabled Espen to pick up several small yet crucial pots.
Eventually, Ivey picked up a strong K♥Q♠ and opened the SB; Espen (correctly) defended with a marginal 5♦4♥ 12bb deep. However, lady luck saw fit to bless Espen with a straight on the flop:
Ivey c-bet the flop, and Espen hit him with a check-raise, taking down the pot early. This is a spot where the GTO solution elects to slowplay all straights as the BB.
Espen said that he would prefer to slowplay straights with a clup, and strong hands that block Ivey’s continues. A hand like 54 doesn’t block any of the pairs on board, and felt like a “pretty natural check-raise”.
What Happened Next?
After one of the longest final table battles in Triton history, Espen finally won the tournament; taking down his first ever Triton trophy! He won about $900,000 in prizes and bounties for his efforts.
But he didn’t stop there. Espen went on to place in four events at Triton London 2023, grossing just over $4,000,000 in prizes in just two weeks. Truly, a phenomenal run!
Espen’s journey exemplifies resilience. Short-stacked but undeterred, he came back time and time again, offering an invaluable lesson to poker players everywhere:
Find your motivation, consistently bring your A-game, and regardless of how many times you stumble, you can still rise to the top!