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It wasn’t just that Jason Koon’s win in the tropical heat of Northern Cyprus was impressive. To do so against anyone paying $100,000 to pay would be impressive, but Koon did so after outlasting a final table stacked with stars. Some of the biggest names in the game were at the table and Koon prevailed. The $2.45 million top prize he won means he now enjoys clear daylight between himself in fifth place and Erik Seidel in sixth on the all-time money list for live ranking tournament results.
With only nine players reaching the final table, that meant some of the 101 entries in the event, each of whom bought in for $100,000, would cash without making it that far. The $10 million prizepool was split between exactly 15 players, with Chris Brewer (15th) and Wai Kat Lee (14th) both taking home a min-cash of $175,000, a profit of $75,000 for their three days at the felt.
Others to make money before the final nine included Fedor Holz (13th) and Michael Addamo, who each won $190,000, while Nacho Barbero (11th) and Aleks Ponakovs (10th) both won $215,000 as they narrowed missed out on the final table photos. Once that final table began, it was the Danish player Henrick Hecklen who started with the chip lead, but in general, there a fairly even spread.
Hecklen had 55 big blinds, and that was a healthy lead over players such as the Russian Viacheslav Buldygin. As it happened, Buldygin met with disaster, and after sliding down the chipcounts, shoved with ace-nine and was overtaken by Jason Koon’s king-queen, the Russian cashing for $263,000.
Stephen Chidwick lasted just one place further, as his ace-high also lost to an inferior hand pre-flop. Chidwick, who is the most successful live tournament poker player in the United Kingdom, was all-in and at risk with ace-seven, and was ousted by Steve O’Dwyer with a suite jack-nine in hearts. All the money went in on a flop of 9-7-4, with both men making pairs, Chidwick’s inferior holding getting no help on either turn or river to send him to the rail with $358,500.
“You know what you’re going to do.” – Jason Koon to Dan Smith.
Stephen Chidwick’s elimination was only the warm-up act to a moment of real controversy as Dan Smith and Jason Koon clashed at the felt. With Smith, known as The Cowboy, asking for some time to make a decision in peace with a conversation ongoing at the table, Koon shot him down for doing so, telling him that two VIPs in a prior event had told him that they disliked playing with Smith.
Smith was in no mood to take these accusations and refuted them. Koon continued, telling him that he had “five timebanks and 20 bigs, you know what you’re going to do”. The altercation shocked others at the table, including Steve O’Dwyer and Sean Winter.
Dan smith ask table to "get a moment"(for the table to stop talking)while thinking pre in a single raise pot. Jason calls him out for doing this all the time. Things are heating up at the 100k main! pic.twitter.com/HdN7arX8Z9— Pokerguru740 (@RobKuhn_) May 22, 2023
Dan smith ask table to "get a moment"(for the table to stop talking)while thinking pre in a single raise pot. Jason calls him out for doing this all the time. Things are heating up at the 100k main! pic.twitter.com/HdN7arX8Z9
— Pokerguru740 (@RobKuhn_) May 22, 2023
If anyone was going to be able to punctuate the awkward feeling that descended around the table, it was likely to be Winter, whose quip about ‘having a decision’ did, to an extent, break the ice.
V next moment ……… pic.twitter.com/Fhgm4Cg8Kk— Zaiii.888 ® 🐸 (@bennychua8) May 22, 2023
V next moment ……… pic.twitter.com/Fhgm4Cg8Kk
— Zaiii.888 ® 🐸 (@bennychua8) May 22, 2023
Mike Watson busted in seventh place, and he was joined on the outside looking in by Winter himself after he lost when super short stacked with eight-four, Koon’s ace-king prevailing. Winter won $595,000 in sixth place.
The tension between Smith and Koon was given no more time to escalate thanks to the former busting to the latter. Smith shoved with ace-queen, and Koon’s pocket tens meant it was a coinflip. Smith couldn’t hold, and he swiftly headed to the cash desk to collect $762,000.
With Smith gone, the way looked clear for Koon to conquer the remainder of his opponents, and with the same size stack as his rivals combined, the West Virginian got the job done. Hecklen went from chips leader to out in fourth for $946,000 as his pocket queens were trumped by Koon’s ace-queen when an ace landed on the flop and the Danish player couldn’t find the case queen in the deck.
Steve O’Dwyer busted in third place for $1,171,000 when Koon hit a straight and that gave Koon, who has a better record than anyone in Triton Poker Series history, an almost 4:1 chip lead heads up. Although he had a big lead, Koon was happy to entertain deal talk with his final opponent Sam Greenwood, and after some discussions, they went with the ICM numbers, leaving just 10% of the prizepool to be won.
In the first hand of heads-up play, Koon’s queen-ten got there against Greenwood’s ace-king, and when the flop produced a queen, it was all over. Greenwood earned $1,923,918 for his runner-up finish and Koon banked $2.45 million for his latest incredible achievement in the sphere of live poker’s most elite events.
As he took in the moment, Koon was full of emotion, breaking down in tears as the magnitude of his latest accomplishment hit him upon the conclusion of the event. That was captured brilliantly by Joe Giron, whose work in the world of poker has elevated the form in recent years.
Who say’s poker players don’t show any emotion. Jason Koon wins the @tritonpoker $100K No Limit Hold’em Main Event and his 7th. Triton Super High Roller Series title. Read how the action unfolded at https://t.co/9nEHGndDQN & see photos https://t.co/fwYo8wJz7b @PokerPhotoArciv pic.twitter.com/pni2BtsX0G— Joe Giron (@JoeGironPhoto) May 22, 2023
Who say’s poker players don’t show any emotion. Jason Koon wins the @tritonpoker $100K No Limit Hold’em Main Event and his 7th. Triton Super High Roller Series title. Read how the action unfolded at https://t.co/9nEHGndDQN & see photos https://t.co/fwYo8wJz7b @PokerPhotoArciv pic.twitter.com/pni2BtsX0G
— Joe Giron (@JoeGironPhoto) May 22, 2023
Having banked another seven-figure score, Koon is closing in on Stephen Chidwick on the all-time money list. Koon, in fourth, has won $47,389,359 in ranking events in his career, with the British superstar less than $900,000 ahead of him.
Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!
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