On a night when at one point we seemed set to raise a glass to the record-breaking exploits of Danny Tang, we instead find ourselves flabbergasted once again at an altogether more familiar result.
The Triton phenom Jason Koon — truly in a league of his own on the tour for which he is an ambassador — wrapped up this first trip to Monte Carlo with a last-gasp, high-speed turbo triumph, securing a 10th title.
This one came in the $25K PLO Turbo, which brought the curtain down on this spectacular festival in Monaco, and it earned him another $365,000. But this victory further cements his reputation as the leading Triton Series talent. In winning this one, Koon becomes the first player to win titles in hold’em, short deck and PLO — and he’s done so simply so many times.
The last player standing in Koon’s way tonight was the online PLO wizard Eelis Parssinen, who plays nosebleed stakes pretty much every day. But Parssinen was stepping into Koon’s manor on the familiar black and gold Triton set, and there’s usually only one winner.
“Happy to close it up,” Koon said, admitting that it had been a weird trip to Monte Carlo where he had been on the wrong side of variance.
“Every night I go home and I study my play and I think I played the best I’ve played in a couple of years,” Koon said. “It’s bizarre to get wiped out but playing really well.”
Koon was referring to the hold’em section of this festival in particular, where he had not quite got over the line in pretty much any event. But Koon always finds a way.
After its structure was changed slightly to accommodate one more level in the registration period, the info board showed 50 entries, including 15 re-entries, and $1.25 million in the prize pool.
Levels were only 20 minutes long at the start, reduced to 15 minutes later, so there was no time to
The bubble slowed things down for a little while, but Li Tong ended up seeing his aces cracked by Laszlo Bujtas when his short stack was in the middle, and that took them through the money threshold.
Everyone else was now certain a payday of at least $36,500, but for the players of the Triton Series, all that really seems to matter is the title.
Bujtas was out in front. Eelis Parssinen was a distant second, with Jason Koon and Sam Greenwood further back. But such is the volatility of this game, particularly with a turbo structure, that Tom-Aksel Bedell, Ren Lin, Joao Vieira and Sergio Martinez would not have considered themselves out of it, despite sub 15-big-blind stacks.
Very quickly, and while the tournament was still eight handed, 15 big blinds would have been considered a luxury. It was pretty cagey and the average stack slipped to 10 big blinds at one point.
But the dam had to break eventually, and all of a sudden Martinez (eighth, $47,500) and Bedell (seventh, $61,500) were cast aside.
Bedell cashed for the second time today after also making the money in the $50K PLO that concluded earlier. And with that tournament now off the main stage, tournament organisers shifted the turbo up beneath the studio lights for its final short-stacked shootout.
Bujtas still led, with 22 big blinds. The average stack was only 11 and Eelis Parssinen was the only other player with more of that. All of Greenwood, Vieira, Koon and Lin had less than 10 bigs.
Lin hit the rail first. He was the latest player to lose with aces when Parssinen’s connected with the board containing two sevens. Lin took $77,500 and his third cash of the trip.
Another Omaha specialist Bujtas perished next, this time with kings losing to Parssinen’s . These two have likely clashed in online hands far bigger than the total prize pool in this event, but this one went to Parssinen and sent Bujtas out, looking for $100,000.
Koon started his charge right about now. He doubled through Parssinen after flopping a flush draw but hitting a crucial nine on the river to make two pair. He then knocked out both Greenwood and Vieira, mopping up their micro-stacks.
Greenwood banked $129,000 for fourth and Vieira took $171,000 for third. It left Koon and Parssinen to play for the title, with Koon holding a small chip lead.
They were spectacularly short and the first time it got all in this time, the dealer decided it in Koon’s favour. He had and Parssinen .
The board ran and that was that. It sealed Koon’s sixth title of the year and by the time his trophy was awarded, the wall banner bearing Koon’s face also showed the legend “10 TIME CHAMPION”.
“I’m going to go home, get myself in shape, and hang out with my family,” Koon said, describing his immediate plans. Amen to that.
See you all in Jeju!
Event #13 – $25,000 PLO Turbo
Dates:November 4, 2023
Entries: 50 (inc. 15 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,250,000
1 – Jason Koon, USA – $365,000
2 – Eelis Parssinen, Finland – $262,000
3 – Joao Vieira, Portugal – $171,000
4 – Sam Greenwood, Canada – $129,000
5 – Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary – $100,000
6 – Ren Lin, USA – $77,500
7 – Tom-Aksel Bedell, Norway – $61,500
8 – Sergio Martinez, Spain – $47,500
9 – Li Tong, New Zealand – $36,500
Photography by Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive