On the heels of a breach of the site, top professional poker player Jason Koon has decided to not only leave the site that was sponsoring him but also to give up his position on what was supposed to be a game-changing organization. Koon, who is in the Top Ten on the all-time money list in the history of poker, gave no reason for his departure. It is thought, however, that familial situations might have predicated the decision.
Koon Ends Work with GGPoker, PIC
On Wednesday, Koon issued a simple statement on his X (formerly known as Twitter) account to announce the change:
In leaving GGPoker Koon, who was instrumental in creating the Poker Integrity Council with GGPoker in the summer of 2022, will also give up his role as Ambassador of PIC. Taking his place as the Ambassador for the group will be another top “high roller” in Germany’s Fedor Holz.
Koon’s departure comes after a recent breach of the GGPoker showed that, although much has been done towards online poker site security, those looking to violate the rules are still getting through. At the end of December, a player using the moniker ‘Moneytaker69’ was able to gain a “superuser” advantage through manipulation of a special feature that allowed players to interact (a “thumbs up/thumbs down” to indicate approval or displeasure). By using this modification (itself a violation of the Terms & Conditions in that you do not modify the site’s software), ‘Moneytaker69’ was able to see the hole cards of his opponents.
Through using this manipulation, ‘Moneytaker69’ won at a stunningly high rate, with those winnings totaling into the mid-five figure range. After the investigation was concluded, GGPoker banned the player from the site, and over $30,000 in winnings were confiscated from the player. Other than that information, no other details were disclosed, but it may have been an impetus for Koon’s departure.
In an interview with Todd Witteles in late January, Koon did not address the situation with ‘Moneytaker’ in-depth but made sure to state that the glitch had been fixed and that it would not be possible for someone else to exploit it. Still, this is why the PIC was created and Koon, as its head, could have wanted to dive deeper into the issue. Was he stopped by GGPoker because the issue was in their backyard?
Another reason for Koon’s sudden departure could also be that he is looking to put more time into his family and his pursuit of the top of the charts in poker. He became a father for the first time in 2021 and Koon and his wife had a second child just last year. The desire to stay home and watch his children grow up could very well have been a strong impetus for Koon’s decision.
Koon Could Also Just Want to Play Poker
It is also possible that Jason Koon simply wants to get back to playing poker – and driving his name into the record books.
Over the past six months alone, Koon has banked over $6 million in winnings through the various “High Roller” events he has taken on. That has driven him into the third place slot on the all-time money earners list with more than $55.75 million in earnings. The only two players ahead of him are in the rarefied air of the $60 million club – leader Bryn Kenney ($65.1 million) and second place Justin Bonomo ($63.4 million).
With such history beckoning, Koon could be eyeing a big 2024 in which he is motivating himself towards taking the top slot. While having the Ambassadorship with GGPoker is a nice feather in the cap, the attention Koon may have been paying to his duties there could have been infringing on his poker-playing opportunities. With the GGPoker deal, and the PIC Ambassadorship, now over, Koon can cast his attention completely to the game.
Regardless of what it is, Jason Koon deserves kudos for attempting to make changes to the game while demonstrating his talents. It now bears watching as to how Fedor Holz, the new PIC Ambassador, will put his imprint on the office and on GGPoker to see how they will move forward with their commitment to game integrity.