The Bulgarian player Alex Kulev won the biggest top prize of his poker career to date, claiming $2.56 million in the $100,000-entry Triton Montenegro Super High Roller. Winning heads-up against French player Thomas Santerne, Kulev also won his first-ever Triton Poker title in the process, proving himself against stars such as Danny Tang, Daniel Dvoress and Dylan Linde.

Triton Montenegro Event #8 $100,000 NLHE Final Table Results:
1stAlex KulevBulgaria$2,566,000
2ndThomas SanterneFrance$1,735,000
3rdXu LiangChina$1,127,000
4thMaher NouiraTunisia$933,000
5thDanny TangHong Kong$752,000
6thDaniel DvoressCanada$594,000
7thDylan LindeUnited States$454,000
8thAleks PonakovsLatvia$342,000
9thBryn KenneyUnited States$255,000

Kenney Goes Close as Legends Make Money Places

The field of 102 entries (which featured 62 re-entries) saw just 17 players reach the money places and profit on their buy-ins of $100,000. Players with big reputations made the money with Ben Heath (17th) and Seth Davies (16th), both claiming $160,000 on their way out. Argentina’s Nacho Barbero took home $168,000 in 14th place, with British superpower Stephen Chidwick (11th) and Sean Winter (10th) both walking away from the action with a return of $209,000.

The American All-Time Money List leader Bryn Kenney grew his overall lead as the most successful tournament poker player ever with a cash of $255,000 in ninth place. Winning a big flip to make the final table, Kenney then lost it all to the same opponent he’d doubled through – Danny Tang – as Kenney’s pocket queens were cut down by The Hong Kong player’s pocket kings.

Latvian Aleks Ponakovs, who once beat Phil Ivey heads-up for a bracelet, was the next person to leave. Ponakovs, who has made many Triton final tables but never won an event,  was all-in with ace-eight, and lost to Linde’s pocket jacks as the American took a vital pot and sent the Latvian home with $342,000.

Linde Leaves, Tang Taken Out

With seven eft, Dylan Linde could survive no longer. All-in with ace-five, Linde lost to Xu Liang’s ace-ten for a score worth $454,000. It wasn’t long before six became five, as the Canadian player Daniel Dvoress left. All-in with ace-queen, he lost to French player Thomas Santerne who held pocket queens. Winning $594,000 after failing to hit an ace, five-handed play began with Santerne in great momentum.

It was the British-based Hong Kong player Danny Tang who left next, as he fell just short of winning his sixth Triton title, which would have put him behind only Jason Koon at the top of that particular chart. After wins in Vietnam, London, Monte Carlo and Northern Cyprus (twice) in 2023 Tang lost with pocket jacks to Alex Kulev’s aces, then lost a big flip with pocket queens against Kulev’s ace-king to depart.

“Big flip! Come on ladies, you’ve betrayed me so many times before!” Tang said as they did indeed betray him again, as Kulev hit and Tang left in fifth place for $752,000. Tang’s departure saw all four of the remaining players in the hunt for what would be their first Triton Poker Series title… and a huge top prize.

Alex Kulev
Alex Kulev became a fitting champion in Montenegro.

Kulev Becomes King

The Tunisian player Maher Nouira was the player to bust in fourth place, earning a result of $933,000. All-in with pocket queens too, he was slain was Thomas Santerne’s pocket aces, ousted minutes before Chinese player Xu Liang. All-in with pocket sevens, Liang lost to Alex Kulev’s king-queen, as the crucial flip saw not one but two kings fall to bump the Bulgarian’s stack and eliminate Liang for $1,127,000.

Heads-up, Kulev’s stack of 10.25 million was just ahead of Santerne’s stack of 10.15 million chips. Santerne led early but Kulev doubled through the Frenchman as pocket queens helped the Bulgarian take the advantage. Santerne moved all-in with pocket sevens but Kulev’s call with ace-ten saw a ten land on the flop, and after another on the turn, only a seven would help Santerne survive.

No seven came and Kulev could celebrate his first-ever Triton win, as he claimed the top prize of $2,566,000. Santerne took home $1,735,000 in second place, but the Bulgarian’s victory was worth his career-high score. With over $13.2 million in live tournament earnings at the age of just 29, Alex Kulev has won more than many players do in their whole careers and sits in 88th place on the All-Time Money List via The Hendon Mob… for now.

Paul seaton


Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.

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