The World Series of Poker’s online partner, GGPoker, introduced Jason Koon as its newest brand ambassador during a special press appearance at the 2021 WSOP. Koon, a veteran online and live pro, joins GGPoker’s loaded ambassador lineup. Koon was welcomed to the GGPoker team on Sunday by GGPoker’s most famed brand rep, Daniel Negreanu.
Negreanu described Koon as a “longtime, well-respected pro who’s done everything right.” Like Negreanu, Koon has previously repped another brand as well, in his case PartyPoker. Very few players carry enough cachet and industry respect to have been signed by multiple brands, but Koon makes the shortlist. Just in results alone, he ranks 10th on poker’s all-time tournament money-winning list with over $32 million in cashes.
As for how the deal came to be, Koon described it as a happy circumstance. “I’ve been playing the high-stakes cash games tournaments for quite some time now,” said Koon. “And on the internet, GG far and away has the biggest tournaments and the highest-stakes cash games running.
“So I’ve been playing on the site, basically, since the inception of really big games on there. And the team just hit me up recently and asked me if I would be interested. And obviously, I was thrilled.”
Koon’s AI and anti-cheating expertise part of package
The West Virginia-born and current Canadian resident Koon brings far more to GGPoker than just his record of outstanding play. He’s spent years studying artificial intelligence [AI] in general and poker “solvers” in particular.
Koon explained that his studying how solvers worked helped him get out of a nine-year funk where he’d been “floating along.” He wasn’t sure he had what it took to play the highest-stakes games. But studying solvers changed that.
“When solvers came out, I became obsessed with them,” he explained. I was immersed in that. I finally had a way where if I worked hard enough, I could climb to the highest levels in poker, because I had quantitative data that helped me learn and find mistakes and leaks.”
Solver use provoked a ‘deeper understanding’
Koon further described that as gaining a very deep understanding of how solvers work from the player’s perspective. And from there, it led to more study on how solvers are used and applied, and how they can be used to cheat. “I’ve been cheated,” Koon claimed, regarding his online-poker past. Regarding solvers and claims that they are also used to cheat, Koon then began to think, “Is this person playing way too good to be a human being, even if he’s the best player in the world?
“It’s helped me kind of understand AI,” Koon claims. And I’m fascinated by it for the learning reasons. Sadly, it’s kind of eating away at the quality of a lot of games online, because most sites aren’t doing [enough to stop it]. And I was really, really excited when they said, ‘Hey, we want to stop this, we want to protect not only the highest-stakes games, we want to protect all the games across the platform. So we want to build a team to fight this.’ And they invited me to join.”
According to GGPoker, Koon’s new role includes strengthening the poker room’s security and game integrity efforts, as well as acting as an advocate for high roller, VIP, and high-volume players. He’ll also be sporting GGPoker gear at poker events around the globe. That immediately included the ongoing WSOP, where press appearance done, he returned to his seat deep in Event #6, the $25,000 NLH 8-Max Championship.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze