If poker players were forced to do 20 burpees after each orbit in order to hold on to their tournament life Jason Koon would most likely win every donkament on the planet. Jason is in amazing physical shape which defies the stereotypical image of an unhealthy old school poker pro and gives him the edge at the tables over players who are a bit closer to the aforementioned stereotype.
Jason Koon is also a very smart and successful tournament grinder currently ranked 53rd on the All-Time Money List with $10,790,642 in lifetime earnings. While he doesn't have any WSOP, EPT or WPT titles he's one of the most feared High Roller grinders. 'JAKoon1985' is also - like his screen name suggests - a very young player and given his commitment to the live high roller pro lifestyle, it's pretty safe to assume that we'll only hear more about him in the years to come. Because of that, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at some famous hands from Jason's poker career.
Good Adjustment, Wrong Time
What separates truly great players from the good ones is often the ability to significantly deviate from their main game if the situation calls for it. In this spot against Phil Laak and Jeff Gross, Jason Koon decided to make a play that he most likely wouldn't make against the vast majority of the player population. It made a lot of sense for Jason to just go with the bet/bet/bet line when he flopped a bottom set.
However, Laak and Gross aren't exactly your standard small stakes recreational players and getting three streets of value on a relatively dry K34 board would certainly be very tough (there were, of course, some draws possible but 3x and 4x is a minuscule part of any player's range in a 4+ handed game). On top of that Gross is a young aggressive pro, and Laak is a really unpredictable player which factored into Koon's decision making, as he elected to use this particular table dynamic to his advantage, by playing the hand slowly.
Another great display of Jason Koon's skill via the use of a somewhat unorthodox line. Preflop and flop play in this hand against Scott Seiver was fairly standard. Turn, however, was where the things got interesting. Js pairing the turn was pretty significant given how it greatly reduced the number of strong hands in Scott's range due to the nature of combinatorics.
If we add to that the fact that Seiver checked the turn, his range was fairly face up from that point. Knowing that Jason decided to make another extreme adjustment by overbetting the river thus maximally polarizing his own range. Again, in this particular case his play didn't work and given the fact that Seiver managed to fold an extremely underrepresented hand like Kx it probably wasn't a great play against this player in general, but his reasoning was solid and that's what really matters.
The Koon Effect
Another hand with an extremely interesting turn. It's hard to say whether the fact that Laak decided to give away the strength of his hand was caused by an unprovoked glitch in his mind, or Jason Koon's stoic and intimidating table presence, but assuming the latter doesn't sound particularly far-fetched. Jason is often described by fellow poker pros as a very friendly guy who's all business at the table.
Koon's table demeanor is a cross between Phil Ivey and Arnold Schwarzenegger and he certainly wins some spots that he wouldn't win otherwise because of that. Again, it's unclear if Laak gave away the information due to intimidation, but it's clear that Jason Koon took advantage of the situation, pushing his tiny edges even further by making a very quick and very small value bet against his confused opponent. On the whole Jason Koon is a player who makes the most of his gifts and doesn't shy away from extreme adjustments if he deems them appropriate.