Last week on PokerStars Jason Koon beat out over 22,000 other players to snag a massive six-figure score in the Spring Championship of Online Poker.
It took roughly 18 hours spread over two days for Koon to finish third in the low buy-in SCOOP main event, turning a $100 buy-in into $110,820.
It's a bit of a departure for Koon who's better known for playing high-stakes cash games and tournaments both live and online, but it isn't the first time Koon has smashed his way through enormous fields in low buy-in events.
He once took down an FTOPS on Full Tilt Poker with a field of over 13,000 and early in his career he won an $11 tournament on PokerStars that had a field of over 25,000.
“It's certainly tough but it's absolutely not the lottery that some people think it is,” Koon told PokerListings.com at the 2015 World Series of Poker.
Koon: "I Had a Pretty Good Day"
Koon said he was focusing on two other SCOOP events, the $10,000 high-stakes main event and the $2,000 8-Max, but decided to late-register the $100 low-stakes main event when he saw how enormous the prize pool had become.
By the end of the day he had made Day 2 of both the $2k and the $100 main event.
“I ended up busting Day 2 of the $2k on the second hand and had to wait two hours to play Day 2 of the $100 which came back with several hundred of the original 22,000 players,” said Koon.
“I had a pretty good day and kept grinding and as we got down to 400, then 300, then 200, it started to become a very high-equity spot.
“With 200 people left it was kind of like we were playing a $5k and with 100 people left the prizes were similar to a $10k.
“I just focused really hard. It was a bit of a different speed than I'm used to these days because those lower buy-in events are such a different beast. The preflop aggression is insane and the fundamentals just aren't there so there was a lot of hero-calling and just going for it in weird spots.
“I ended up going into the final table first or second in chips but it didn't mean a lot since the average was only like 20 big blinds.
“I had it pretty easy and cruised to three-handed and ended up cold four-betting all-in with Q-J against this guy who was three-betting every other hand. I ran into aces and made like 1,100 times the buy-in.”
Jason Koon's Recipe for Success in Big-Field Tournaments
If you're looking for insider info on how to replicate his success, Koon advises going after the weaker players at your table and keeping an eye out for people you can exploit.
That advice will serve you well in any tournament but difference in giant-field events is that there are way more exploitable players.
“The most important thing is to look for the outliers,” said Koon.
“You're going to make your money in these mega-man tournaments from the guys who are either way too bananas or the guys who are just way too tight.
“Any time you're playing a tournament with that many people, not very many of them are going to be professionals so it's all about exploitation.
“Really pay attention and don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone a bit whether it's playing more aggressively or tightening up more than you normally would.
“If you see someone always playing super straightforward then play more pots with them because they're not going to play back at you very much. If someone's just going crazy then don't be afraid to tighten up. If they're playing too tight then start going after them.
“Basically you have to work on your exploiting skills as much as possible.
“You should never be playing the same number of pots against every single one of your opponents. The money is to be made from the more clueless players in those big events so you should definitely be passing up close spots against the better players.