It might have taken 10 years, but Jason Koon finally has won his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet.
Koon overcame a field of 57 runners in Event #11, the $25,000 Heads Up No-Limit Championship, to win his first WSOP title and $243,981. It’s his third cash in five days at the WSOP and his 53rd overall, taking his overall WSOP earnings above the $2 million mark.
In fact, as well as having an incredible week in poker, Koon is having one of the best months of his life, period. He became a father to a baby boy Sept. 15. Then on Sunday, while on a break during Day 2 of the $25,000 8-max high roller, he was introduced as GGPoker’s newest poker ambassador.
Jason Koon Having the Time of His Life
Back at the tables on Sunday evening, Koon jumped into the $5,300 freezeout on WSOP.com whilst playing the 8-max high roller inside the Rio. He went on to finished ninth in the $25,000 high roller for $79,834, and sixth in the online event for $39,000. That’s $362,815 for those who are bad with math.
As impressive as Sunday’s achievements were, it was last night’s performance in the Heads-Up Championship that Koon will remember for a long time to come.
In fact, it’s almost as though it was written in the stars for the American. He spoke to CardsChat before Thursday’s bracelet win and explained what the WSOP means to him as a poker player.
“My first WSOP was over 10 years ago and I still get that nostalgic feeling every time I walk in to play a WSOP event. I’ve always wanted to give my brother my first bracelet, so when I do get the monkey off my back, I’ll feel quite a lot of joy and relief,” Koon told CardsChat just before he won his first bracelet.
Fearless But Fatigued in WSOP Finale
Koon had to beat Chris Brewer, Nicolai Morris, Johannes Becker, Jake Daniels, and Henri Puustinen to reach the final heads-up match with Hungary’s Gabor Szabo.
“My expectations were low,” Koon told WSOP.com. “The fatigue had set in,” but at no point was I “feeling the fear” that it might not happen, Koon continued.
In the end, despite feeling fatigued, the American was able to gut it out and edged ahead when his pocket fives got him through an all-in pot against Szabo’s A♣ Q♣. That proved to be the turning point of the match and it wouldn’t be long before all the chips were in front of Koon.
With that, the new father and GGPoker pro had become a WSOP champion. and his brother got a bracelet.
WSOP $25,000 Heads Up No-Limit Championship Result
- Jason Koon, $243,981
- Gabor Szabo, $150,790
- Henri Puustinen, $89,787
- Daniel Zack, $89,787
- Mikita Badziakouski, $36,280
- Bin Weng, $36,260
- Benjamin Reason, $36,260
- Jake Daniels, $36,260
Koon, who claims to be in better physical shape at 36 than he was when he ran track in college, said he was exhausted after a long day at the Rio.
“I am another level of tired, honestly. The wife and everybody have been doing so much to help with the baby. We were up at 8:30 a.m. today taking him to a doctor’s appointment,” Koon told WSOP.com. “Then, I came here and played a couple of studs. Heads-up is so intense, but yeah, we got it,” he said.
Jason Koon Cements His Legacy
Koon is one of the world’s best tournament players. Although this is his first WSOP win, he has dominated $25,000+ events for the last five years and has won almost $33 million in the process. Koon himself is curious to know if he can continue to compete at such a high level now that he has a baby.
“Well, I’m only two weeks in, so we will see about that high level thing over the next few months! My wife is incredibly supportive of my poker aspirations and I do my best to cover lots of baby duty when there is down time,” he told CardsChat.
CardsChat asked Koon about his plans now that he’s a bracelet winner. He told us that he plans to stick with the higher buy-in events at the WSOP. He’s also playing a private heads-up match for nosebleed stakes with an as yet unnamed player.
“I’ll play the $50Ks, the $100K and the $250K. I might play the Main Event, but that’s even pretty unlikely. I’m going to hang out with the baby, and I think there’s a guy coming into town this weekend that wants to play between a match $100K-$250K at ARIA, so I will oblige.”
It might have taken Koon a decade to win his first bracelet but don’t count on it being his last. With things in poker and life moving in the right direct, he’s convinced there is more to come.
“I love coming to the WSOP. I think I’ll play poker forever, and when it’s all said and done, I think it’s inevitable I’ll have several of them [bracelets],” Koon told WSOP.com.