McKeehen Wins 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event
In what felt like a formality, Philadelphia-area native Joe McKeehen used a mountainous chip stack and patient poker play to win the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Tuesday night, the third of three days during which the final table was contested. Along with a gaudy bracelet, McKeehen won nearly $7.7 million for his $10,000 entry.
This was the first time that the November Nine was split into three days and it worked out nicely, as neither the players nor spectators had to suffer into the wee hours of the morning on any of the nights. On Sunday, the longest day, three players were eliminated to narrow the field to six. Three more were sent to the rail Monday and the final three players – McKeehen, Josh Beckley, and Neil Blumenfield – duked it out Tuesday night for the title.
There was really never any doubt going into Tuesday’s action that McKeehen would win. With 128.825 million chips, he held two-thirds of the chips in play. Beckley and Blumenfield had 40.125 million and 23.7 million, respectively. It was going to take a series of lucky hands or poor play by McKeehen for either of the short stacks to make a comeback and unfortunately for them, the best bet was the former.
McKeehen, knowing his opponents might want to wait the other one out to move up a million dollars in prize money, opted for the small ball approach. Rather than trying to demolish Beckley and Blumenfield in one fell swoop with his truckload of chips, he used small raises to keep them at bay. With a big blind of a million chips, the short stacks knew that if they were going to play back at McKeehen’s raises, they would almost have to just commit to being all-in, so there was no reason for McKeehen to take silly chances by shoving and risk doubling the others’ up without a good hand.
Blumenfield, the lone amateur of the final three and the second oldest person to ever make the November Nine (61-years old – fellow 2015 November Niner Pierre Neuville is the oldest at 72), was the first to bow out on Tuesday. He initially ran into trouble when he couldn’t let go of Q-8 offsuit against McKeehen. He was the aggressor in the hand the whole way, but missed entirely, while McKeehen flopped top pair with K-T. The problem was, Blumenfield was just in a bad spot. If he took his foot off the gas, McKeehen would have taken the pot from him and was such a low stack and a growing pot, Blumenfield couldn’t afford to give the pot away. But since he had to bet to try to get McKeehen to fold, he was digging himself a bigger hole. McKeehen called him all the way down and won the hand, sending Blumenfield’s stack below 20 million chips.
Eventually, Blumenfield ended up all-in with 2-2 and McKeehen beat him with Q-Q.
To begin heads-up play against Josh Beckley, McKeehen had 81 percent of the chips: 155.65 million versus just 37 million. Beckley really had no chance, save some crazy Aces versus Kings double-ups. He tried to hang tough, but on the thirteenth hand, had to go all-in with 4-4. McKeehen called him with A-T, flopped a pair, and that was that.
Joe McKeehen is the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion
Complete 2015 WSOP Main Event Final Table Standings
- Joe McKeehen – $7,683,346
- Josh Beckley – $4,470,896
- Neil Blumenfield – $3,398,298
- Max Steinberg – $2,615,361
- Zvi Stern – $1,911,423
- Tom Cannuli – $1,426,283
- Pierre Neuville – $1,203,293
- Federico Butteroni – $1,097,056
- Patrick Chan – $1,001,020
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