In October, he won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Masters finale for $666,000. Earlier in the month of December, he defeated Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel for $1,600,000. Now, Jason Koon has pocketed $500,000 for winning the PGT Championship for 2022.
“It’s always beautiful,” Koon said. “I somehow run hot towards the end of the year. Do you remember the WPT at Bellagio when they had those two 25Ks and I won them back-to-back in late December? I just kind of run hot in December. I don’t know if it’s Christmas time or what, but it’s beautiful.”
Koon was one of the 21 eligible players that were invited to play in the winner-take-all $500,000 freeroll PGT Championship. The 21 players eligible were the top PGT points earners for 2022. They included Super High Roller Bowl VII champion Daniel Negreanu, WSOP Main Event winner Espen Jorstad, PokerGO Cup champion Jeremy Ausmus, and Poker Masters Purple Jacket winner Sean Winter.
Several players could not attend the PGT Championship as Day 1 kicked off with 15 players spread across three tables. The day ended with just six players remaining and Koon holding more than half the chips in play.
“Tournaments always have this kind of convergence,” Koon said. “Almost every time, unless it’s a total dream, you come into a final table and you have all the chips but at some point, generally three handed, stacks are going to converge and change hands, and you almost always lose the chip lead. That’s why when I was hearing people say, ‘It’s your tourney to lose,’ I said, ‘Guys, I’ve got 57% of the chips and there are six people here and it’s the best players in the world. This is not my tourney to lose. I’m going to win it maybe half the time or whatever.’ I just embraced it, and then looked up and there was basically 100 big blinds in play three handed. I knew that I’m not the chip leader, so I’ll just do what I can do and go from there. I took some beats and then I made some hands, and there I was.”
WPT Player of the Year Chad Eveslage fell in sixth place when both he and Nick Petrangelo flopped a flush. The chips all went in on the river, and Eveslage’s five-high flush would reduce the field to just five courtesy of Petrangelo’s jack-high flush.
2022 PGT points leader Stephen Chidwick was the next eliminated when he was all-in with king-ten against the queen-eight of Koon. Koon flopped two pair, and when no help came for Chidwick on the turn and river, he exited in fifth.
Fresh off his runner-up finish in the WPT World Championship, Benny Glaser was looking to add another big score to his busy poker week. However, Glaser would shove with king-queen suited and run into the ace-four suited of Winter. Winter flopped top pair against Glaser’s gutshot, and when the straight was unable to be filled by the final card, Glaser exited in fourth place.
Petrangelo’s run would end in third place after he called all-in with king-ten to be in a race against Winter’s pocket sixes. The board bricked out, and Petrangelo was eliminated, leaving Winter holding nearly a two-to-one lead over Koon entering heads-up play.
After some initial back-and-forth between both players, Koon secured a double after he turned two pair with eight-deuce against Winter’s top pair. Koon now held nearly a three-to-one lead, but Winter clawed his way back into the lead. Koon mounted another comeback, and on the final hand, he had Winter all-in with the superior hand. Koon took the lead on the flop with top pair, and after improving to two pair on the river, he was crowned the PGT Championship winner for 2022.
Big 2022 for Jason Koon on the PGT
Koon has dominated the 2022 season of the PGT by collecting big scores worldwide.
Beginning in April, Koon played the Triton Poker Series and Super High Roller Series Europe in North Cyprus, where he cashed seven times, including five consecutive third-place finishes. Koon then headed to Madrid for another Triton Poker Series, where he cashed three times, including winning the €150,000 Short Deck for €1,750,000.
After a quiet WSOP, Koon returned to North Cyprus, where he collected five cashes before returning to Las Vegas to play in the 2022 Poker Masters. Koon finished sixth in the penultimate event before winning the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em finale for $666,000.
Koon finished his 2022 PGT season with a total of 2,833 PGT points which placed him third on the PGT leaderboard. He then managed to parlay that into winning the season-ending PGT Championship for $500,000.
Koon now has more than $42,380,000 in lifetime tournament earnings and surpasses Erik Seidel to now sit in fifth place, trailing only Justin Bonomo, Bryn Kenney, Daniel Negreanu, and Stephen Chidwick.
“One of my closest friends, Erik Seidel,” Koon said. “He’s been a wonderful mentor to me. I would consider him family. He’s somebody I really try and emulate with the way that he approaches his life and his humility and his open-mindedness to the game. He’s exposed me to so much culture and I just really wouldn’t be where I am at today without him. That’s crazy that I passed him. I’m sure he’ll pass me back.”
The 2022 PGT Season Concludes
The inaugural year of the PGT in 2021 would see a total of 145 events and included 17,873 total entrants and more than $273,800,000 in total prize money awarded.
Big things were expected for the second season, and a total of 175 events were played throughout the year. Total entrants increased to 24,998, while there was more than $426,100,000 in prize money awarded.
The 2023 PGT season is just around the corner, with new events on the schedule. The PokerGO Cup will return from January 11-20 before PGT Mixed Games will debut from February 4-11, with an eight-event series expecting to attract some of the best-mixed game players worldwide.
The second new series of the PGT will debut from March 11-19, with PGT PLO Series running a dedicated Omaha series that features nine events. The U.S. Poker Open, Poker Masters, and Super High Roller Bowl are all expected to return later in the year, along with the season-ending PGT Championship slated for December.
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