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With players of the caliber of Phil Ivey, Espen Jorstad and Dan Smith all making the final table of eight, the $60,000 buy-in Event #6 on the TPS London schedule was in No Limit Hold’em. After Phil Ivey busted early, Jason Koon always looked like the man to beat and after an epic final stage of the action, he got the job done to bank another $1.5 million, putting him less than $2 million below friend and rival Stephen Chidwick on the all-time money list.
A total of 42 players made Day 2 of this stellar event, but only eight would make the final table. When they got there, it was the West Virginian who led the field, sat on 65 big blinds in the comfort zone. A little behind him was the Pokercode co-founder Matthias Eibinger, the Austrian having 54 big blinds, with a chunky gap back to Dan Smith in third place on the leaderboard with 32 big blinds.
Alex Kulev began the final eight with just 10 big blinds and he paid for coming in short by being the first man to bust. Losing a big pot to Koon when his bluff was expertly picked off by the American, Kulev crashed out in the next hand to Eibinger, his king-three suited losing to the Austrian’s ace-queen of spades, sending him home with a cash worth $209,000.
Next to go was the Event #3 winner and 2022 world champion Espen Jorstad. The Norwegian has been in great form a year after winning the WSOP Main Event for $10 million and that has extended into this London-based event, but he ran out of luck here. All-in and at risk with ace-ten, Jorstad lost to Justin Saliba’s ace-eight for a result worth $277,500, an eight coming on the river to reduce the field to half a dozen hopefuls all chasing the $1.5 million top prize.
Six remained, but not for long. Justin Saliba’s quest for glory suffered a big hit when Brazilian talent Rodrigo Selouan won a key coinflip to boost his chances of victory. That led to Phil Ivey becoming something of a short stack and the 10-time WSOP bracelet winner was the next to leave. Ivey shoved after a blind-vs-blind raising war with Dan Smith and was on the right end of it with ace-king of clubs. Dan Smith’s jack-ten of spades hit a jack on the flop to take out Ivey and send him back to his hotel room with $363,000.
Eibinger’s run came to a conclusion in fifth place, earning the Austrian an impressive $460,600. This time, the best hand won, as Eibinger’s jack-five was dominated and defeated by Saliba’s king-five. Saliba won that hand but lost the next and was soon down at the bottom of the leaderboard with just five big blinds.
Scrambling for any kind of ladder, Saliba was delighted when Dan Smith three-bet shoved with ace-seven over Jason Koon’s raise. The West Virginian eventual champion wasn’t bluffing, however, and called with pocket tens to hold and send ‘The Cowboy’ home with a fourth-place result of $571,000.
“There were several times along the way in my career when I wanted to quit.” ~ Jason Koon, eight-time Triton champion.
Justin Saliba had a rollercoaster of a day, and even though he busted in third place for $690,000, his demise was anything but straightforward. Third of the three, Saliba scooped a brilliant pot when his straight led to a cheeky bet on the river that was paid off by Koon’s pair of threes. Saliba’s stack doubled, but it all went to Koon minutes later, as Saliba’s king-eight ran into Koon’s ace-nine, this time without any kind of fortune coming for the jovial Saliba.
Heads-up, Koon therefore began with the lead but it was not an insurmountable advantage. Koon’s 53 big blinds were ahead of Selouan’s 31 bigs, as a Brazilian rail including Selouan’s luminous friends Yuri Dzivielevski and Pedro Garagnani contributed moral support and heads-up tips.
Selouan, whose online prowess alone marked him as a huge threat, chipped away at Koon’s lead, but the American led when a dramatic final hand played out. On a board of K-6-3-A-T, Koon shoved the river and left Selouan to make what had to be a quick decision. All out of time banks, the clock was ticking and the Brazilian made the wrong call with just jack-six, as Koon flipped ace-king to win the title and condemn Selouan to a $1,060,300 runner-up prize.
For Koon, it was yet another victory as he extended his record-holding track record in Triton events to eight titles.
Worth $1,570,000, Koon’s latest win was his fourth in less than 12 months and he explained to presenter Ali Njead just how happy he was with this latest win.
“I play because I love the game,” he said. “I play a lot less than I used to but when I show up I’m very focused and I’m the best version of myself. You have to have the drive and grit to want to win, but at the same time there were several times along the way in my career when I wanted to quit. Really it just comes down to staying fresh, staying in the chair, doing what you love.”
Discussing his competition, Koon was more than complimentary on the company he keeps at the felt.
“I have a crew of guys that are probably better poker players than me. I just keep learning from them and getting better. I wouldn’t want to bet against me.”
With Koon in such imperious form, who would?
After the event, Triton Poker caught up with the new champion.
The now 8-time Triton Champion Jason Koon 🔱 has a word with us after winning Event #6 for $1.5 Million 💰🎉🔥@JasonKoon #poker #tritonpoker pic.twitter.com/PVmkYvZco4— Triton Poker (@tritonpoker) August 2, 2023
The now 8-time Triton Champion Jason Koon 🔱 has a word with us after winning Event #6 for $1.5 Million 💰🎉🔥@JasonKoon #poker #tritonpoker pic.twitter.com/PVmkYvZco4
— Triton Poker (@tritonpoker) August 2, 2023
Later, in the nightclub, Koon paused the action to credit his wife’s support and discussed his love for TPS co-founder Ivan Leow, who sadly passed away 10 months ago, aged just 39.
Poker Pro @JasonKoon gave an emotional speech tonight as he received @tritonpoker’s ‘Ivan Leow Player of the Year Award’ 🏆He recognized his wife’s support (from being broke to amassing $49 million in #poker winnings) and reminisced on his friendship with the award’s namesake,… pic.twitter.com/sbNzhFaqNi— Poker Org (@pokerorg) August 3, 2023
Poker Pro @JasonKoon gave an emotional speech tonight as he received @tritonpoker’s ‘Ivan Leow Player of the Year Award’ 🏆
He recognized his wife’s support (from being broke to amassing $49 million in #poker winnings) and reminisced on his friendship with the award’s namesake,… pic.twitter.com/sbNzhFaqNi
— Poker Org (@pokerorg) August 3, 2023
You can watch all the action in the company of Ali Nejad and co-presenter Maria Ho right here.
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