Alligator blood'd. Jason Koon hunkered down and withstood a 15-hour heads-up siege. You can call him the Marathon Man, or Senor Alligator Blood. You can call him anything really... even Al. One thing is for certain: Koon snatched up his biggest score to date in his illustrious career worth $3.6 million USD. Koon etched his name in the history books with ginormous win on the Triton Super High Roller Series. Sometimes you have to go slightly out of your way for a sick score. In this instance, Koon jetted to the Baltic country of Montenegro. And it wasn't PLO that was the main attraction. Ah, PLO is passe these days. Short Deck Poker is the new rage.
When you think about global hotspots for poker, the usual suspects come to mind: Las Vegas, Macau, Monte Carlo. While Roz-Vegas made huge strides to become the mecca of poker in Eastern Europe, Montenegro recently entered the ether as a popular high-stakes destination.
Montenegro offers a stunning visual throwback to the Middle Ages. Their cities have cobblestone streets with medieval-looking fortresses everywhere, which is a wet dream for location scouts in Hollywood. One of my favorite WW2 films as a kid, Force 10 from Navarone, was filmed in Montenegro.
And here's a little bit of movie trivia -- in the 2006 re-make of Casino Royale, one of the scenes is set at the Hotel Splendid in Montenegro, but it was shot elsewhere (Italy and Czech Republic). There's also no existence of a Hotel Splendid in Montenegro either.
If there was a real Hotel Splendid, it would host a hefty high roller scene. The Triton Super High Roller Series scheduled a stop at the swanky Maestral Resort & Casino in Crna Gora, which hosted the Triton SHR Montenegro.
American pro and partypoker ambassador Jason Koon faded a field of 103 hopefuls to win the $1,000,000 HKD buy-in event at the Triton Super High Roller Montenegro. In USD, the $1M HKD buy-in is equivalent to $102K. This SHR was another short deck event, in which the lowest cards are removed (2s through 5s and flushes beat boats).
The top 9 places paid out with most of the cheesecake in the top 4 spots. Peter Jetten cashed in sixth place. Rui Cao busted in fifth place. Winfred Yu had a sensational run with a fourth-place finish. Yu banked a seven-figure score worth nearly $1.2M USD.
Phil Ivey went deep in another short deck event. He's quickly becoming one of the premier short deck players in the universe. Ivey didn't win another one, but he finished in third place and still managed a seven-figure payout. Ivey won more money for third place than his overall first-place prize in a short-handed event last weekend (worth $605K USD for first).
It took nearly 15 hours to determine a champion. You could have watched Rounders 7.5 times in the same amount of time these two played heads-up. Koon defeated Xuan Tan heads-up for the victory. Tan bagged $2.3M for second place. Not too shabby, eh?
Jason Koon's overall tournament winnings has now passed the $16M mark. He won almost $6M in 2018 and he's currently at $16.3M USD overall after binking his biggest single score to date. Is there a bigger fan of short-deck poker right now more than Koon (and Ivey)?
Triton SHR Montenegro - $1M HKD
Cash Game Madness and €1.8 Million Hand
Just the other day, Mikita Badziakouski from Belarus took down the Main Event Championship. First place paid out approximately $2.5M USD. Rui Cao finished in second place. Steve O'Dwyer mango'd his way to the final table. SODMANGO busted in seventh place for a $300K payday. Peter Jetten, Steffen Sontheimer, Manig Loeser, and Dietrich Fast were all spotted at the final table.
By the way, check out some crazy big baller cash game hands from Triton. They were playing €2K/€4K stakes in a €1 million cash game. Everyone was talking about the hand between Jason Koon and Kane Kalas for a pot worth 1.8M! This big-gigantic hand was one of the largest pots recorded in televised history.
Watch the tale of pocket tens versus Ace-Queen and the now-infamous Kalas/Koon hand here...