Roland Rokita is an up-and-coming talent on the poker scene. At the age of 28, he recently won his first major tournament title. He is the youngest champion of the Triton Poker Series. What many people don't know: Rokita used to be part of the Austrian national ski jumping team.

Sport and gambling are always writing extraordinary stories. And sometimes they even have to be told together - as was the case with former ski jumper Roland Rokita. The Austrian won the Triton Poker Series in Jeju, South Korea, a few weeks ago. At the age of 28, he is the youngest champion in the history of the tournament.

However, Roland Rokita did not start his competitive career in poker, but on skis. Winter sports have a long tradition in Austria and are undoubtedly one of the country's favourite forms of exercise. Rokita took to the boards at a very young age, recognising great potential early on. After specialising in ski jumping, he even ended up in the Austrian national team squad.

Whatever prompted him to give up ski jumping - with the current development of his new profession, tournament poker, he is unlikely to have any great ambitions to return to skiing. Rokita is also regarded as a huge talent here. He once again impressively underlined this at the Triton Poker Series in Jeju. He walked away from this competition with nothing less than the title and was able to look forward to prize money of a handsome 904,000 US dollars (which equates to around 830,000 euros).

Rokita's triumph at the Triton Poker Series in Jeju

Roland Rokita had to pay a buy-in of 20,000 dollars to be admitted to the Triton Poker Series in Jeju. In the end, the Austrian, who was born in 1995, made a handsome return on this not inconsiderable sum. However, victory was anything but certain with 225 other players, some of them very high-calibre. The Trinton Series press release states:

"Significantly, the competition was very strong. But Rokita's performance was truly outstanding and gave him the biggest win of his career to date."

Rokita was naturally delighted with the success and said after the final:

"This means a lot. I came here and prepared well. Lifting the trophy is incredible."

According to Rokita, it was a "rollercoaster ride", especially against the German Sirzat Hissou at the final table:

"I was really nervous... I won a big pot, he won a big pot, but in the end I made it."

At 21:00 local time, the time had come and the Austrian relegated his country neighbour to second place (for which, however, a more than decent prize money of USD 599,000 was still awarded).

The final table line-up consisted of the following professionals:

  • Aleksandr Zubov, Russia
  • Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus
  • Roland Rokita, Austria
  • Kiat Lee, Malaysia
  • Tobias Schwecht, Germany
  • Damir Zhugralin, Kazakhstan
  • Leon Sturm, Germany
  • Sirzat Hissou, Germany
  • Yu Xiangyu, China

Rokita and Hissou, the last two at the table, were both in their first Triton final. Before going head-to-head, they had to battle it out with two established players. Mikita Badziakouski from Belarus has won four titles in 20 final table appearances. Kiat Lee has yet to lift a major trophy, but has been among the last pros at the table a whopping eleven times. The two newcomers seemed to join forces and first took down Badziakouski and then Lee.

They then had to battle it out in a thrilling duel that had ups and downs for both of them. Then it was done: when all the money went into the pot, Rokita was able to defeat his opponent with a handful of nines. Trinton Series writes:

"Rokita's hands were shaking, but his smile told the whole story. Add another point for Vienna and welcome Roland Rokita to the winner's podium."

This prize money was awarded to the best players of the tournament

The prize pool of the Triton Poker Series in Jeju totalled 4.5 million US dollars. The money was split between the 39 best players out of a total of 225. The top ten won sums of between 78,700 and 904,000 US dollars:

  1. Platz: Roland Rokita, Austria – 904.000 $
  2. Platz: Sirzat Hissou, Germany – 599.000 $
  3. Platz: Kiat Lee, Malaysia – 439.000 $
  4. Platz: Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus – 355.000 $
  5. Platz: Aleksandr Zubov, Russia – 278.000 $
  6. Platz: Leon Sturm, Germany – 210.000 $
  7. Platz: Damir Zhugralin, Kazakhstan – 154.000 $
  8. Platz: Tobias Schwecht, Germany – 113.000 $
  9. Platz: Yu Xiangyu, China – 94.500 $
  10. Platz: Alex Theologis, Greece – 78.700 $

The remaining participants (up to 39th place) received between 31,000 and 78,700 US dollars.


Roland Rokita has hung up his skis in favour of a career in poker. With his victory at the Triton Poker Series in Jeju, he is far from being one of the top earners on the poker scene. However, this could be a kind of initial spark. Experts generally have high hopes for the young Austrian. Time will tell whether he will one day match or even surpass the achievements of Austria's most successful poker player, Matthias Eibinger. We'll be keeping an eye on Rokita at the latest after this undoubtedly great victory.

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