Ivey, Negreanu, Esfandiari and More Explain Why Jason Koon is the Man

Published on 6 October 2015 by Pokerlistings 1482
We followed high-stakes poker pro Jason Koon while he played the biggest poker tournaments in Las Vegas and along the way we spoke to many of the best poker players on the planet. Not all the clips made it into the final documentary but that doesn't mean they aren't worth watching. In this batch of extras we talk to Phil Ivy, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Doug Polk, Erik Seidel, Jason Mercier, Nick Rampone and Ben Lamb about what makes Jason Koon so special. Check out the extras that didn't make the final cut and watch the full short documentary at http://www.pokerlistings.com/watch-jason-koons-epic-week-of-high-stakes-poker-in-las-vegas-48416
Phil Ivey: When I hear the name Jason Koon, I think gentleman. He's a guy's guy. He's one of the most fun guys on the tournament scene. His game has come a long way since I first started playing with him. He was pretty wild which I think hurt him a bit but he's gotten a lot better. He's one of the top players out there now on the tournament circuit. He's just an all-around fun guy. I like hanging out with him. We've partied a little bit. He's a nice guy.

Daniel Negreanu: Well, Jason Koon, he's super friendly, easy-going guy, but intense. Like when he's actually playing he sits straight up perfectly, he's got that posture, and he's in the game. He's very engaged and very focused while at the same time maintaining a demeanor that's friendly and likeable.

Phil Galfond: It's funny we've actually talked a lot of poker but almost never played together. He's an excellent player and I watch his videos obviously. You can tell he thinks about the game the right way and he's very good. I think the main quality that's made him so good is his competitive attitude. He wants to be really good and he tries really hard and it shows.

Doug Polk: The guys wants to win and I can see every hand is to him but he doesn't ever let that interfere with who he is as a person. There's Jakoon the poker player and there's Jakoon the person and they're both great.

Erik Seidel: Jason's an amazing athlete. I think it was Day 2 the other day of the Aria and he just does a backflip in the middle of the hall. If I could do that I'd just retire right there.

Jason Mercier: The first thing that pops in my head when I think of Jason Koon is that the guy's just an athletic beast. I've never really seen anyone who will just do a backflip eight beers deep, off a diving board onto pavement. He's just a freak of nature. He's not the best basketball player but he goes hard. We were playing two on two, me and Mike McNeil against him and Kyle Julius who's really good. They had to lay us some odds but they beat us. It was not fun.

Antonio Esfandiari: I would say that Jason Koon is one of my friends and there aren't that many people in the poker world I would say is a genuine friend. That all happened last year when we went to Burning Man together and shared an RV and bonded. He's probably one of the most likeable guys because he's such a sweetheart. You see him and you think he's like some Arnold Schwarzenegger, super juiced guy but at the end of the day he's a teddy bear, just locked inside a bodybuilder's building. He's a really good guy, he's a great player. I like being around him, his energy's always good. He's great.

Liv Boeree: Jason Koon! He'll know what that means. I love Jason. He's incredible. I've known him for a few years. He was a very good friend for me when I had a bad summer a few summers ago. He was always there and he's incredibly kind-hearted.

Nick Rampone: He just wants it more. He's willing to make more of a sacrifice for poker. He'll put in his time, his effort, his blood, sweat and tears. I think that's true for a lot of people but for Jason it's true to an extreme. Quite frankly more than any of his peers, myself included. He was a sprinter in college and he developed himself into a top athlete and that same work ethic allowed him to thrive there, it allows him to thrive in poker and it'll allow him to thrive in whatever he puts his mind to. It's special. It's awesome to be around.

Ben Lamb: A few years ago we were at the PCA and we'd had a few drinks and were walking past the shark tank at night. He decided to jump in the shark tank and then I jumped in. He swam to the bottom of the tank and was looking up at the sharks. That's when I knew Jason Koon was a crazy man.