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Jason Koon wins 1st WSOP bracelet; Phil Hellmuth denied 16th

Scratch Jason Koon off the list of best poker players without a World Series of Poker bracelet.

Koon, a high-stakes standout with more than $32 million in career tournament earnings, won Event 11 of the WSOP, the $25,000 buy-in Head-up No-limit Hold’em Championship, early Friday at the Rio.

Koon prevailed in a single-elimination bracket of 57 players, earning $243,981. Gabor Szabo finished second for $150,790.

“It’s one of those things when you’re on an airplane and a person is like, ‘Do you have a bracelet?’ I’m just like, ‘Nope.’ At least I can finally say yes to that,” Koon told PokerNews. “I love coming here. I think I’ll play poker forever, and when it’s all said and done, I think it’s inevitable I’ll have several of them.”

Koon had 50 cashes for more than $2.2 million in WSOP events but had never finished off a victory. (The WSOP awards trophy bracelets for tournament wins.)

Koon’s previous best finish was second place in a $3,000 Heads-up No-limit Hold’em/Pot-limit Omaha event in 2012.

At another final table Thursday, Ari Engel claimed his second WSOP bracelet, taking down Event 9, the $10,000 Omaha High-Low Championship. He prevailed in a field of 134 entries, earning $317,076. Zachary Milchman finished second for $195,968.

Phil Hellmuth missed a chance to extend his WSOP bracelet record, finishing fifth for $80,894. He remains the all-time leader with 15 bracelets, five more than any other player.

Other recent bracelet winners include:

— Jaswinder Lally won Event 7, the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice six-handed (307 entries), for $97,915 and his first bracelet.

— Zhi Wu won Event 8, the $600 No-limit Hold’em Deepstack (4,527 entries), for $281,406 and his first bracelet.

— Michael Perrone won Event 10, the $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-limit Hold’em (1,640 entries), for $152,173 and his first bracelet.

— Yuval Bronshtein won Event 12, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em (422 entries), for $124,374 and his second bracelet.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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World Series of Poker Online returning

The WSOP Online will feature official gold bracelet tournaments on WSOP.com in the U.S. from Sept. 10 to Oct. 18 and on GGPoker for international territories starting Aug. 14.