It’s been a beautiful spring for Michael Soyza. The Malaysian poker player posted the two biggest tournament earnings of his career in recent months, starting with a best $2.2 million payday for a runner-up in the Newt Vietnam $100,000 main event in March. She followed that up with the second highest score on her resume, winning the $75,000 no-limit hold’em event at the Triton Cyprus festival for $1,735,000. Those two cashes alone account for nearly $4 million of his $14.5 million in lifetime earnings.
Soyza survived a field of 87 for his most recent win, overcoming a stacked final table en route to the title. Victory conferred 816 Card player Player of the Year is betting on him, bringing his total to 2,439. With four final tables, one title and over $4.2 million to date POY extension earnings, Soyza is now the 22nd ranked player this year POY extension race classification presented by Global Poker.
This tournament took place from 16 to 17 May inside the Merit Royal Diamond Hotel & Spa in Northern Cyprus. The strong turnout translated into a $6,525,000 prize pool that was split among the top 13 finishers. Day 2 started with 49 contenders left. It took almost eight hours to set up the unofficial final table of nine, with four times Triton event winner Mikita Badziakouski leads and Soyza is essentially tied for third.
Soyza hit a double out to narrow it down to seven, with all the chips coming on a J106 flop. Mikalai Vaskaboinikau held Aj for top pair with top kicker, while Artur Martirosian held QQ for an overpair on the board. Soyza had AA for an even bigger overpair, and he also converted both of his opponents. The 6 turn and 7 river saw
Vaskaboinikau (9th – $182,500) and Martirosian (8th – $241,500) were eliminated, while Soyza pushed up the chip count.
This was Martirosian’s ninth final table of the year, with one title win and over $3.2 million in POY extension earnings accrued along the way. As a result, he moved up to fifth place in the standings POY extension classification.
Bracelet winner and Poker World Tour champion Dylan Linde was soon eliminated when he posted his last seven big blinds with KJ facing four-time bracelet winner Michael Addamo’s pocket queens. Queens full of nines secured the pot for the Australian high-stakes superstar, ending Linde’s run in seventh place ($310,000).
Twice Triton event winner Matthias Eibinger was next to fall, with his AK suited losing a race preflop to Soyza’s pocket tens. Eibinger took home $391,500 for his sixth-place finish.
Recent winner of the $50,000 buy-in seven-max event Viacheslav Buldygin also moved all-in with overcard against pocket ten once again for Soyza. His AJ found no hold in a king-high runout and busted in fifth, securing $502,500 to bring his series tally to more than $1.9 million.
With that, Soyza built a sizable chip lead in four-handed play with three of the most successful no-limit hold’em tournament players in the game: Mikita Badziakouski ($43.3 million in previous earnings), Dan Smith ( $41.7 million in prior earnings) and Michael Addamo ($25.5 million in prior earnings).
Smith added $623,000 to his tally when he was sent off in fourth place. Smith moved all-in for about nine big blinds with 10-8 suited behind Soyza’s pocket queens. A queen on the flop gave Soyza a set and a huge lead in the hand, which he never gave up. This was Smith’s sixth final table of the year, with one win and more than $2.3 million in cashes POY extension earnings earned so far in 2023. It is now ranked 33rd in the POY extension standings after this last deep run.
Addamo managed to double up a couple of times to give himself some wiggle room, but soon moved all-in again with A-9 behind Soyza’s pocket jacks. An ace in the window gave Addamo a short lead, but a jack behind him gave Soyza a set and a death grip on the hand. A gap at the bend left Addamos officially dead. He took home $796,000 as the third-place finisher.
Heads-up play began with Soyza holding a more than 5:1 chip lead over Badziakouski. Badziakouski managed to win back the game, then picked up AJ against A-10 and nearly held the field. Shortly after, the final hand of the event was dealt.
Badziakouksi limped in from the button with 76 and Soyza raised big from the big blind with 105. The flop was J108 and Soyza checked with his middle pair. Badziakouski bet about the third pot and Soyza called. The turn brought the 8 and Soyza checks again. Badziakouski unleashed another barrel, this time about half the size of the pot. Soyza stuck around and the river brought the 2. Badziakouski moved all-in for about 4.1 million and after some thinking, Soyza called to take down the pot and the title.
Badziakouski earned $1,200,000 as the runner-up. This was his third seven-figure score of the month. He placed second in the Monte Carlo European Poker Tour €100,000 high roller for $1,080,543 on May 1st. Five days later, she won a €25,000 buy-in event in the same series for $1,003,705. He now has more than $3.8 million to date POY extension earnings, secured through five final tables in 2023. As a result, he moved up to 18th place in the POY extension rankings.
Here’s a look at payments and POY extension points from final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings||POY extension Points|
Photo credit: Triton Poker / Joe Giron.