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Jason Koon Wins First World Series of Poker Bracelet In $25,000 Heads-Up Championship

The 36-Year-Old Poker Pro Topped A 57-Player Field To Earn $243,981

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Jason Koon came into the 2021 World Series of Poker as one of the top ten players on poker’s all-time money list, but without a gold bracelet to his name. The 36-year-old was the second-highest earning player in the game without a title at the WSOP, with more than $33 million in career tournament earnings. 4,509 days and 49 in-the-money finishes after he recorded his first cash at the series back in 2009, Koon emerged victorious in the WSOP $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em heads-up championship to finally scratch his name off of the ‘best player without a bracelet’ list.

“It’s one of those things when you’re on an airplane and a person is like, ‘Do you have a bracelet?’ I’m just like, ‘Nope.’ At least I can finally say yes to that,” said Koon when asked about winning the bracelet. “I love coming here. I think I’ll play poker forever, and when it’s all said and done I think it’s inevitable I’ll have several of them.”

Koon had a whirlwind couple of weeks in the leadup to this victory. Just 15 days earlier he and his wife Bianca welcomed their first child into the world. A few days prior to this tournament’s start, the West Virginia-born poker pro was announced as the newest global ambassador for the online site GGPoker. Just hours after a press conference revealing his new sponsorship, Koon managed to make simultaneous deep runs in a pair of high-stakes events at the series, finishing ninth in the $25,000 no-limit hold’em event while placing sixth in the $5,300 online high roller by playing on a mobile device.

The 2021 WSOP $25,000 heads-up championship finals

“I am another level of tired, honestly,” Koon said moments after coming out on top in this event. “The wife and everybody have been doing so much to help with the baby. We were up at 8:30 a.m. today taking him to a doctor’s appointment. Then I came here and played a couple of studs. Heads-up is so intense, but yeah, we got it.”

In addition to the hardware and the money, Koon also earned 420 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his second title and seventh POY-qualified final table of the year. With more than $1.5 million in year-to-date earnings across those events, Koon now sits in 42nd place in the 2021 POY race sponsored by Global Poker. Koon also secured 146 PokerGO Tour points, which was enough to move him into 17th place on that leaderboard.

Koon had a tough road to the title. His opponents, from the first round through the semi-finals, were as follows: Chris Brewer, Nicolai Morris, Johannes Becker, Jake Daniels, and Finnish online heads-up specialist Henri Puustinen.

Koon faced another heads-up regular in the finals in Hungary’s Gabor Szabo The pair traded small leads early on, before Szabo managed to take control of the match in the middle stages. He won a big pot with a rivered pair of jacks, with his KClub SuitJHeart Suit finding one of the few outs in the deck against what Koon said was the ASpade SuitKSpade Suit for the nut flush draw and a superior kicker alongside a king. Szabo took more than a 2:1 lead after the hand.

Gabor SzaboThe hand that ultimately turned the tide for Koon began with Koon raising to 230,000 from the button with 5Spade Suit5Club Suit. Szabo three-bet to 700,000 frm the big blidn with AClub SuitQClub Suit. Koon moved all-in and Szabo quickly called. The flop came down JClub Suit10Club Suit4Heart Suit the give Szabo a royal flush draw. The JDiamond Suit on the turn kept Koon ahead, but Szabo had a world of outs. The JSpade Suit was not one of them, though, and Koon’s pocket pair held up to earn him the double up and the lead.

Szabo was able to slightly overtake Koon in time for the next big preflop showdown. Szabo min-raised to 320,000 with ASpade SuitJSpade Suit and quickly called when Koon moved all-in. Koon had a dominating AClub SuitQClub Suit, which improved to a winning pair of queens by the river. With that Koon took a massive lead, while Szabo was left with just a few big blinds remaining in his stack.

Szabo managed one double up, but in the final hand his KDiamond Suit9Diamond Suit was unable to hold up against the JSpade Suit7Diamond Suit of Koon. The board ran out JHeart Suit6Spade Suit5Heart Suit8Diamond Suit6Heart Suit and Koon secured the pot and the title. Szabo earned a career-best live payday of $150,790 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded in this event:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PokerGO
Champion Jason Koon $243,981 420 146
Finalist Gabor Szabo $150,790 350 90
Semi-Finalist Henri Puustinen $89,787 245 54
Semi-Finalist Daniel Zack $89,787 245 54
Quarter-Finalist Mikita Badziakouski $36,280 0 22
Quarter-Finalist Bin Weng $36,280 0 22
Quarter-Finalist Benjamin Reason $36,280 0 22
Quarter-Finalist Jake Daniels $36,280 0 22