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The Scoop: Jason Koon

by Diego Cordovez |  Published: May 30, 2012


Jason KoonJason Koon is one of the prototypical young guns of the modern tournament poker world. Since his earliest cashes in 2008, Koon has gone on to capture eight titles and put together more than $2.5 million in lifetime earnings. Like many of this new-guard, Koon has shown more willingness then most his old-school predecessors to share the thought processes behind playing poker at a high level.

Koon stopped by the set of “The Scoop” to discuss in great detail the hand that eliminated him from the 2010 World Poker Tour Festa al Lago main event final table, where he finished fourth at his first ever WPT final table.

“I put a lot of thought into my bust hand. Randal Flowers and I were the chip leaders, and we were four-handed. The average chipstack was 20-25 big blinds as a result of the final table bubble taking so long. I had just doubled up re-shipping Q-J and was called by eights and won the flip to take the chip lead. I opened one hand light, he three-bet me and I folded for Randal to retake the chip lead.

“Then the hand in question occurred, with blinds at 60,000 -120,000. I opened to 250,000 on the button with 6-5 offsuit and he defended the big blind with JDiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit. The flop came KHeart Suit 8Club Suit 8Diamond Suit and he checked to me, I bet 250,000 again and he called. The turn brought the 9Diamond Suit, which obviously was a beautiful card for him.

“I knew that he was a strong hand reader and understood that my range doesn’t connect with K-8-8 very often, so I decided to barrel just to fold out his ace-highs. He knows that I am good enough to value-bet any king in that spot, just because I think that he has ace-high a lot of the time. He is a good enough hand reader to know that I am not just polarized to an eight or pocket aces when I bet big on the turn. So, my value-range is wide enough to barrel again and I bet like 550,000. He calls again, which of course he is going to do when he has the up-and-down straight-flush draw.

“The 7Heart Suit hit the river, giving me the back-door straight. I am singing in my head, and I bet 1.5 million of my roughly 2.3 million-chip stack, and he moved all-in. On TV it was hilarious, because it literally looks as if I am going to puke on the table. I have 800,000 more and there is something like six million in the pot. I went into the tank for about three minutes, and I think I still maybe could have found a fold. I knew he was never bluffing there, because I bet 80 percent of my stack on the river. But he definitely is defending A-8 and A-8 suited, but if you break down his range, I don’t know if he is defending Q-8 and J-8 suited, but those are the only three combinations of 8-X that I beat, as 9-8 and 8-7 etcetera all beat me… He definitely has A-8 in his value range, but that’s only one hand in his value range that I can beat, and in that case I think I need to find a fold.

“He also knows that I’m not the kind of guy that is just going to spite-call A-K or even aces there. Both those hands find the muck every time, and even some trips-combos. Say I raised 8-2 suited on the button, which I don’t know if I would do, but let’s say I did. I would fold that there, because there is nothing in his value range that I beat. It’s just the bottom end of the straight made it a little more difficult. If he has three hands in his value range I have to call, given that if I fold I have eight big blinds, it was for the massive chip lead, and I am getting eight-to-one. But if he only has one hand in his value range that I beat, I have to muck. The more I have thought about it, I think it is teetering towards me finding a fold there.” ♠

To see the full interview with Koon check out “The Scoop” on