After a website breach, top professional poker player Jason Koon has decided to not only leave the website that sponsored him, but also give up his position with an organization that was supposed to change the game. Koon, who is one of the top ten all-time money lists in poker history, gave no reason for his departure. However, it is believed that family circumstances may have influenced the decision.
Koon ends collaboration with GGPoker, PIC
On Wednesday, Koon posted a simple statement on his X account (formerly known as Twitter) to announce the change:
With his departure from GGPoker, Koon, who was instrumental in founding the Poker Integrity Council with GGPoker in the summer of 2022, will also relinquish his role as PIC ambassador. Another top “high roller” from Germany, Fedor Holz, will take his place as the group’s ambassador.
Koons' departure comes after a recent breach of the GGPoker rules showed that although much has been done to keep the online poker site safe, those who want to break the rules can still get away with it. In late December, a player nicknamed “Moneytaker69” was able to gain a “superuser” advantage by manipulating a special feature that allowed players to interact (a “thumbs up/thumbs down” to indicate approval or disapproval). By using this modification (which itself is a violation of the Terms and Conditions since you are not modifying the site's software), “Moneytaker69” was able to see his opponents' hole cards.
As a result of this manipulation, “Moneytaker69” won at an astonishingly high rate, with total winnings amounting to a mid-five-figure range. After the investigation was completed, GGPoker banned the player from the site and over $30,000 in winnings were confiscated from the player. Aside from this information, no other details were revealed, but this may have been a trigger for Koons' departure.
In an interview with Todd Witteles in late January, Koon didn't go into detail about the Moneytaker situation, but made sure that the bug had been fixed and that it would be impossible for anyone else to exploit it. Nevertheless, the PIC was founded for this reason and Koon, as its leader, would have wanted to delve deeper into the topic. Was he stopped by GGPoker because the problem was in their backyard?
Another reason for Koons' sudden departure could also be that he wants to spend more time with his family and his pursuit of the top of the poker charts. 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 may well have been a strong trigger for Koons' decision.
Koon could also just want to play poker
It's also possible that Jason Koon simply wants to play poker again – and write his name in the record books.
In the last six months alone, Koon has amassed over $6 million in winnings from the various high roller events he has competed in. That put him in third place the list of money makers of all time with winnings of more than $55.75 million. The only two players ahead of him are in the exclusive atmosphere of the $60 million club – leader Bryn Kenney ($65.1 million) and runner-up Justin Bonomo ($63.4 million).
Given that history, Koon could be eyeing a big 2024 as he motivates himself to take the top spot. While being an ambassador at GGPoker is a nice bonus, the attention Koon paid to his duties there may have hurt his chances at playing poker. With the GGPoker deal and PIC ambassadorship now over, Koon can focus on the game.
Whatever it is, Jason Koon deserves major praise for trying to change the game while showcasing his talents. It is now worth watching how Fedor Holz, the new PIC ambassador, will put his stamp on the office and GGPoker to see how they will advance their commitment to gaming integrity.