Jason Koon on Poker, Life and Helping Chris Moorman

TAGs: audio interview, Aviation Club de France, Chris Moorman, Jason Koon, Lee Davy, World Poker Tour, WPT, wpt grand prix, WPT Grand Prix de Paris

Jason Koon on Poker, Life and Helping Chris Moorman Audio


Image Courtesy of WPT/Flickr

Poker is great, but just try watching people playing it for 12 hours a day. To alleviate the boredom I sometimes fantasize about players while I am watching them…I know it’s gross, but true.

When I watch Jason Koon I sometimes think he’s a cross between Superman and the Incredible Hulk. His well chiseled jaw makes Brad Pitt’s look like a Bulldog’s cheek; his goody-two-shoes spectacles play the Clark Kent role to a tee; and his game has so much intensity, when he was first told about the min-double-raise rule at the Aviation Club de France (ACF) I swear he was going to turn green, those big toys he calls arms were going to rip through his flimsy cotton shirt and he was going to start cracking skulls.

I would certainly rather have him as a friend than an enemy.

In terms of live tournament scores, 2013 has been the best in Koon’s career. But does it feel like that?

“No…as a poker player – its kind of a good think and a bad thing – we are all trained to have short term memories. We don’t dwell on the bad things and the downswings, and we appreciate the wins, but don’t sit around soaking in the glory.

“I am really happy in my progression as a player. This year I have put in a lot of work and it’s paying off, so I guess it feels like a good year, but it doesn’t feel like an outstanding year.”

I take two things out of that response. The first is Jason Koon understands that in order to be successful you have to work damn hard, and the second is the obviousness of the high standards that this man sets. It reminds me of the time that Chris Moorman exchanged his poker knowledge in return for a helping hand in losing some weight.

Koon didn’t just help Moorman he transformed him.

“He’s the type of guy {Moorman} that’s a natural talent, but the most unorganized person in the world. But if you stick a lot of tasks in front of him and tell him to do them he will do them. So I had to set concrete guidelines in terms of what he ate, how he worked out and even what he drank.

“If you give him disciplined things to do he will do them. If you don’t he’s a sloppy mess.”

I suddenly have this image from An Officer and a Gentlemen. Koon is the Drill Sergeant and Moorman is Zack Mayo as he screams into his face, ‘Give me 20 on the spot Mr. Mayonnaise!!!!”

“I just wanted to see him succeed and I new if I was too easy on him he would fall apart,” Said Koon.

I ask Koon if helping people is something that comes naturally to him?

“I’m from a pretty small family, so the people I admire and respect the most, get treated like family and want the best things for them. So I am naturally motivated to go out of my way to make sure they get better at things.”

So how does Koon keep motivated?

“I think the number one thing I do is to write down on a piece of paper what is important for me and really think about it. It’s all about discipline. It’s not hard to do all these things: working out, eating well being honest or a good friend. It just takes not being lazy. I just need to stay present. It’s a cliché but so true. Everyday, you need to just snap out of the funk that presents itself and don’t become a lazy gluttonous person.

“The emotional swings can be tough in poker. The first thing we want to do when we deal with karma is eat a big chocolate bar, get drunk and do things that are not good for us. So you have to really stop emotion from taking control and think what’s best for us in the long term.”


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