No matter how far he goes, Koon finds way home

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Jason “Novasky” Koon is a pro from West Virginia who stormed onto the scene in 2008. Since then, he has made five final tables, cashed at the World Series of Poker 13 times and has more than $2 million in career winnings. I caught up with him at the WSOP.

How’s the poker life treating you these days? Life has been pretty awesome. This year I’ve traveled a lot more than I’ve done in the past. I have really enjoyed it. I obviously wish that I still had the freedom and convenience of being able to play online in the U.S., but given the circumstances I am extremely happy with where I am.

How have the live tournaments been going? I’ve had a pretty good year, almost a great one. I can’t complain about the deep runs I made in the PCA $25K, Aussie Millions main and the $3K heads-up WSOP, but thecompetitor in me clearly isn’t satisfied without an outright win.

How did you mentally prepare for the WSOP? I’m in the gym four to five days a week; that helps. I find it helps me clear my head and get out a lot of the built-up stress grinding can cause. This is my fourth WSOP and I just have more experience now. I understand the variables that I have control of and that is where I center my focus.

Have you made any non-poker trips to relax? I commonly make trips back to West Virginia. That is home to me. I have a great group of family and friends who I couldn’t go more than three months without seeing. I have a 6-year-old nephew who always cheers me up and reminds me what’s important. There is no other trip I would rather take.

— Mike Owens is the Ante Up Ambassador for Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. You can follow him on Twitter @Holdemag and check out his blog at CheckRaze.com. He can be reached at anteupowens@gmail.com.