What's It Like To Take Private Planes To Play The Highest Stakes Games In The World With Millions Of Dollars On The Table?
I do the Cracking Aces podcast once a week with one of my best friends/professional poker player Jake Toole for love of the game. The powers that be don't care about having a poker podcast which is fine, but I love doing it and the people that listen enjoy it, so the show goes on. That being said, today's episode of the podcast is probably one of the top 5 things I've done in my last 7 years at Barstool. This is episode 79 of the show, and I'd say 76.5 of them are good. As it turns out I'm actually pretty good at this podcast thing. And this is one of my favorites, if not my number 1 of them all. Why? Because our guest, Jason Koon, is a one in a billion type of person. The best comparison I can make for him is Alex Honnold, the professional climber who you may have seen on this website or in the documentary "Free Solo". Their brains are just on a different level and Jason talked to us for about 90 minutes and you can just tell he's one of a kind.
Who is Jason Koon? He's one of the most successful poker players in the world who plays the biggest games in the world. Not only does he have over $30 million in live tournaments winnings, he plays the highest stake cash games on the planet where he can win or lose millions of dollars in a day. He travels the world, hopping into games with the likes of Ivey, Durrrr, and the richest, most degenerate Chinese billionaires. But Jason didn't start out that way. He didn't come from money. He grinded his way up, starting online back in the day, and now finds himself playing in, and beating, the biggest games the world has to offer.
He tells awesome stories on today's show, including when he thought he was taking a private plane to the Philippines to play a $600/1200 game, but when he got there it turned out the game was about 5 times bigger than that. He was severely under-rolled for it, but had to remain calm, because it's very hard to get a spot in these huge cash games. He tells the story of having about $900,000 in the pot with KK on a T87 board, and the billionaire he's all in against has T8 for top two pair. The entire story is on the podcast, it's incredible.
The cool thing about this episode is you would never know he is wildly rich because he just loves the game and plays it for the challenge, not the money. The desire to be the best in the world. Again, a very Honnold-esque approach. Jason said he gets more nervous doing every day things, for example, meeting a girlfriend's parents for the first time, than he does playing poker with millions of dollars on the line, because when you sit at the table you should have prepared yourself for the game and situation you have put yourself in. It's all very cool and fascinating to hear him talk about his approach to the game. He also makes a very interesting point that he believes that out of 100 people who claim they want to be the best or at least improve, only 1 out of those 100 are actually willing to put in the work.
I am very proud of this episode and interview with Jason Koon. He's so laid back and personable, but his brain is fucking awesome and the entire interview goes great. Even if you aren't a poker person I think you will enjoy this talk with Jason.
Please check it out and let me know what you think.