Jason Koon has broken a tie with Mikita Badziakouski to take sole ownership of the top spot on the Triton Poker titles leaderboard. Koon secured his record-setting fifth trophy on the high-stakes tour by defeating a field of 31 entries in the 2023 Triton Super High Roller Series Vietnam $50,000 no-limit hold’em turbo event.
Along with the record, Koon also captured the top prize of $574,000 as the champion of this fast-paced event. As a result, the 37-year-old American poker pro increased his lifetime tournament earnings to $42,892,912. He currently sits in seventh place on poker’s all-time money list, and is one of just nine players to have cashed for more than $40 million on the tournament circuit.
“The motivation, at the end of the day, is that I’m earning a lot and I want to do that,” Koon told Triton reporters after securing the title. “I’m leaving my family at home. I wouldn’t do that for prestige. I’m doing it because I know that there’s a short window of time where I have the energy and the passion to be good at this, and I want to make the most of it while I can.”
Only the top five finishers made the money in this turbo event which played out during the course of a single day. Warwick Mirzikinian’s A-K failed to hold up against the A-8 of Chris Brewer and Mirzikinian was eliminated on the six-figure money bubble, ensuring that the remaining contenders would all cash for at least $147,000. That sum ultimately went to Isaac Haxton, who lost a race with pocket eights against the Q-9 suited of Artur Martirosian. Haxton also earned 170 Card Player Player of the Year for what was already his fifth POY-qualified final-table finish of the year. With three titles won, 2,348 points accrued, and $3,874,140 in POY earnings, Haxton now sits in eighth place in the 2023 POY standings presented by Global Poker.
Punnat Punsri lost a race of his own with A-8 suited up against the pocket threes of Koon. Punsri earned $182,000 for his fourth-place showing. He now has five final-table finishes in 2023, with 1,419 POY points and $985,600 in earnings secured along the way. As a result, he has moved into 40th place on the POY leaderboard.
Brewer’s run in this event came to an end in third place. The former collegiate distance runner turned poker pro got the last of his stack in with K-Q and was unable to overcome the A-10 of a surging Koon. Brewer took home $252,000 as the third-place finisher. This was his fourth final table of the year, with two titles won at the recent European Poker Tour Paris festival. With nearly $2.1 million in to-date POY earnings and 2,032 points, Brewer has claimed the 17th-place spot in the standings.
Martirosian held the chip lead when the decisive hand of the heads-up match was dealt. Koon overbet shoved the river on a Q64J5 board with QJ for two pair. Martirosian ended up making a big call with J10 for second pair, which was second best. He was left with fewer than 10 big blinds, and soon was all-in with Q-J suited facing A-6 for Koon. Martirosian was unable to come from behind and was sent home with $395,000 for his efforts. He now sits in 16th place in the POY rankings, with three final tables so far this year including a third-place showing in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded in this event:
Photo credit: Triton Poker / Joe Guron.