The American Poker Pro Defeated A 138-Entry Field To Earn $663,000 In The $20,000 Seven-Max No-Limit Hold’em Event In North Cyprus
Jason Koon was already the all-time leader in titles won on the high-stakes Triton Poker tour. Now, thanks to a record-extending sixth victory, he holds a two-win advantage over his nearest competition in four-time Triton champion Mikita Badziakouski.
Koon’s most recent victory on the high-roller-centric tour saw him defeat a field of 138 entries in the $20,000 buy-in seven-max no-limit hold’em event at the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Cyprus festival. For the win, the 37-year-old American poker pro was awarded $663,000 in prize money, bringing his career total to just shy of $44 million. As a result, he now sits in seventh place on poker’s all-time money list, less than $45,000 behind current sixth-ranked player Erik Seidel.
“I have obviously run well, but I have a lot of experience,” said Koon when asked about his incredible results on the Triton Poker broadcast of the event.” I think one of the biggest things is that I’ve been doing it for a very, very long time. I’ve been playing with the same player pool for a very long time. There are some new faces in this smaller event, but I’ve played with the same competition for years and years. You start to download good information about people and you can make good decisions.”
Koon was awarded 792 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his second title and fifth final-table finish of the year. With 1,835 total points and to-date earnings in excess of $2 million, Koon has climbed inside the top 50 in the 2023 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.
This event took place at the Merit Royal Diamond Hotel & Spa in North Cyprus. It took two days to play down to a winner, with 28 contenders advancing to day 2 and just 20 making the money. Koon entered day 2 in fourth chip position and worked his way up to third place by the time the field was narrowed to the official final table of seven.
Short stack Ian Bradley lost a flip with Q-J against the pocket fives of Artur Martirosian to finish seventh ($115,900).
Despite earning that knockout, Martirosian was ultimately the next to be knocked out. The hand in question was a battle of the blinds between the second and third-largest stack, starting with Martirosian raising from the small blind with pocket queens. Koon three-bet from the big blind with pocket kings and quickly called when Martirosian four-bet shoved. Neither player improved on a double-paired board and Koon surged into the chip lead while Martirosian slid towards the bottom of the chip counts. Not long after that he got all-in with pocket threes against the pocket fours of Koon and was sent to the rail with $154,400 for his sixth-place showing. Martirosian was catapulted into eighth place in the POY rankings after this, his seventh final-table showing of the year. He has won one title and cashed for nearly $2.8 million in POY earnings so far in 2023.
Adrian Mateos was left as the clear shortest stack after Martirosian’s elimination. The four-time bracelet winner eventually got all-in with Q-6 suited and was called by two opponents. They ended up chopping the pot with top pair and a couple of low kickers that didn’t play, busting Mateos in fifth place in the process. Mateos earned $197,300 for his latest deep run. This was his ninth final-table finish of the year, with nearly $3.4 million in POY earnings accrued along the way. As a result, Mateos now sits in 11th place on the POY leaderboard.
Eduard Barsegian’s run in this event concluded when his flopped jack-high flush draw was unable to beat out the ace high and gutshot broadway draw of Kanan Taherkhani. Neither player improved on the turn or river and Barsegian was knocked out in fourth place ($245,500).
Reigning Card Player Player of the Year award winner Stephen Chidwick faced off with Koon in a massive pot early in three-handed play, turning an under-represented pocket pair of tens into a bluff on a paired board with four hearts out. Koon had turned trips and rivered the second-nut flush, though, and ultimately called Chidwick’s healthy river bluff to leave the British tournament superstar with just a few big blinds.
Chidwick soon committed all but 1/5th of a small blind preflop with A-7 suited. Koon called with pocket deuces and faded a flush draw, straight draw, and over cards in the checked-down pot to leave Chidwick on fumes. His last chip went in with Q-5 leading the 5-4 suited of Taherkhani, but an A-3-2 flop gave Taherkhani the wheel and a big lead in the hand. Chidwick was officially eliminated in third place for $298,000 after the turn and river failed to earn him a chop. The 34-year-old now has more than $48.1 million, good for fourth place on the money list. He also earned 528 POY points for his seventh final table of the year. With three titles and more than $2.9 million in POY earnings so far in 2023, Chidwick has moved into 13th place in the standings.
With that, Koon took roughly a 4:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Taherkhani. The early action largely went Taherkhani’s way, but Koon still held a sizable chip advantage when the final hand of the tournament was dealt. Koon limped in from the button with 6Club Suit5Club Suit. Taherkhani raised from the big blind with QSpade Suit4Spade Suit and Koon made the call. The flop came down KSpade Suit8Club Suit4Heart Suit. Taherkhani checked his bottom pair and Koon checked behind. The 7Spade Suit on the turn gave Taherkhani a flush draw to go with his pair and he bet 1,450,000 into a pot of 1,800,000. Koon called with his turned nut straight and the river brought the Q Diamond Suit to give Taherkhani queens up. He moved all-in for 5,950,000 and Koon snap-called with his unbeatable eight-high straight to lock up the pot and the record-setting title. Taherkhani was awarded $451,200 as the runner-up finisher.