Jason Koon Remembers Luckboxing His First Seven-Figure Pot in Asia

December 24, 2023
Mark Patrickson

Jason Koon has been telling a few tales from his early days in the high-stakes poker scene. The live tournament legend was one of a few big names that cut his teeth in the Asian nosebleed games.

As you can imagine, there were quite a few hairy moments in those days, none more so than when the American found himself agreeing to play five times too big for his bankroll only for the stakes to increase further when the host lost a bunch.

The tale began with a trip to the Philippines to play in a high-stakes game in a casino against a VIP Chinese gambler.

Koon arrived at the casino and was told to wait for a call around midnight for the game to kick off.

Having been told this would be a super-soft game, you can imagine his reaction when he walks into the private room to find just one player ready at the table — Phil Ivey!

Eventually, all the players arrived and the stakes were declared as now much higher than Koon expected. After being told the stakes were approximately equivalent to $600/$1,200 the game started at $2,500/$5,000 — minimum buy-in of half a million dollars!

Unfortunately at this point, there was no time to sell some action to his friends.

The game went well and the VIP was losing just as he was expected to do. But then, as is the norm in Asia, the VIP wanted to raise the stakes even more to try and win some of his money back.

The stakes were now four times the starting amount! Although Koon had done extremely well for the first few hours of play, he was now deep into unfamiliar territory and understandably nervous.

Soon after the stakes were raised, Koon and the Chinese VIP ended up all-in for well into seven figures with the American holding kings on a T78 board and his opponent sitting with T8.

With around 20% to win the hand, Koon was now seriously sweating that he was about to degen a major chunk of his bankroll off in one hand.

You’ll have to watch the video above to hear how the hand turned out and the VIP player's reaction!

Jason Koon Says Dan Bilzerian Won a Fortune in Private Games

One interesting section of the interview was about Dan Bilzerian. For years now the Instagram playboy has claimed he won his money from playing in high-stakes private games.

The poker community as a whole thought otherwise. But could they have been wrong?

Koon said:

“Dan Bilzerian has definitely won a lot of money in poker; I don’t think he plays much anymore. There may be some exaggerations in there, but I know for a fact that the dude has won millions upon millions against a few opponents.”

Although we can be certain that Jason Koon is telling the truth here, we should make a distinction between Bilzerian grinding his way up from micro-stakes and using his fortune to win even more.

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