Name: Joe McKeehen
Hometown: North Wales, PA
There have been chip leaders that have come to the final table of the World Series of Poker Championship Event with dominant chip stacks, but arguably none of them will have the advantage that Joe McKeehen will enjoy when the “November Nine” reconvene. At the end of the festivities in July, McKeehen bagged up a staggering 63.1 million in chips, more than double that of the second place player Zvi Stern.
It’s been a long trek for McKeehen to reach this pinnacle of the poker world. His first tournament cash dates back to 2010 when, as a 19 year old, McKeehen took advantage of the Turning Stone casino in New York for his first live tournament cash. Over the next couple of years, McKeehen would rack up seven more tournament finishes at Turning Stone (with a side trip to Pompano Beach, FL, for the Florida State Poker Championship) before reaching 21 and attacking full force.
McKeehen’s coming out party was the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where he won a $2000 Turbo event and finished 10th in the $10,000 Six Max High Roller event. McKeehen’s first WSOP cash also came in 2012, a min-cash in a $1500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, and he would earn his first WSOP-Circuit ring by winning the March 2013 stop in Atlantic City. McKeehen’s best performance on the WSOP stage (prior to 2015 that is) was finishing in second to Hugo Pingray in the “Monster Stack” last year, up until now his largest cash ever ($820,863).
HOW HE GOT HERE
Day 1(C): 33,225
Day 2(B): 162,100
Day 3: 1.052 million
Day 4: 3.122 million
Day 5: 3.66 million
Day 6: 11.975 million
After getting through the first two days with a workable stack, McKeehen exploded after Day 3. He earned the lead on Day 4 and stayed around the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the tournament’s play. But his actions on Day 7 that pushed him to his massive lead are the things that many will remember McKeehen for.
With 11 players remaining, McKeehen was dominating his table with his chip stack, pushing out an 800K bet off the button. Daniel Negreanu defended his big blind and, on an A-K-10 flop, checked his option over to McKeehen. McKeehen bet out and Negreanu pulled a “stop and go” check-raise for the remainder of his stack, which McKeehen called after some deliberation. Negreanu, holding A-4, was in the lead over McKeehen’s J-3, but a trey on the turn opened up a couple of outs for McKeehen. The river Queen, however, was a crushing blow for the fan favorite Negreanu as it gave McKeehen the straight and knocked Negreanu from the tournament in eleventh place.