Koon won the Triton Super High Roller Series Main Event in May for $3.579 million using the Short Deck format. In July, Koon placed third in a $65,000 Short Deck event to earn $462,586 more.
Today’s $10,000 Short Deck event at Poker Masters is the first time the game is being played in an ARIA High Roller tournament. The combination of price point and player pool is a perfect combination, according to Koon.
“I think $10K is great for the group around here,” Koon said. “Most people came to play higher and wouldn’t play equivalent buy-ins for something they’ve never tried before. If they were to run it at the WSOP, it’d be better to run it a few $1,500s.”
Short Deck developed in Asia and picked up steam in the United States this summer. ARIA is one of a few properties to host cash games of the format and became the first to play Short Deck Pot Limit Omaha last week.
The format plays big and plays fast, a mix primed for the High Roller group. Before played kicked off, Koon announced that he expected players who have never played Short Deck to give the game a try. His prediction proved correct with the likes of Rainer Kempe, Justin Young, and Justin Bonomo taking their first Short Deck crack.
“They’re really hungry to get a taste,” Koon observed. “I think it will take off here, people are playing a lot of hands. It’s casual, there’s a lot of reasons it’s a good gambling game. It will never replace No Limit Hold’em, but it’s a fun variant.”
Koon is a No Limit savant and enjoys the challenges that come with tackling the new developments of the game. Short Deck is a beast and while there are no official solvers to fast-track the learning curves, Koon is putting in the work to maximize the EV with his competition in the process of catching up.
“It’s fulfilling learning a new game,” Koon said.
At Koon’s table sit High Roller rivals Dominik Nitsche and David Peters. Their edges run close to parallel in a No Limit Hold’em event but for today, Koon is the king.
“Poker in general, the fun in it is figuring things out,” Koon said. “At high stakes especially, we’re all gamers and trying new things and getting in there to figure it out keeps things fresh.”
Short Deck is a staple of ARIA High Rollers for the months to come. Two $10,000 events and a $25,000 buy-in are on the menu in the upcoming months following Poker Masters.
Will Koon remain on top of the Short Deck perch is another High Roller o the way toward claiming the Short Deck throne? The first step comes on Tuesday at 4 PM ET when the Short Deck final table airs on PokerGO.