2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe McKeehen won his third career bracelet on Tuesday, taking down Event #14: $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller at the 2020 WSOP Online. The tournament had a prize pool of more than $1.5 million after 368 players entered and 128 re-bought. It took him a grueling 14 hours – something he got very used to five years ago – but McKeehen finally emerged victorious to win $352,985.34.
Playing under the very appropriate screen name, “fanofdapoker,” McKeehen began final table play in third place with 1.7 million chips. Clayton “nevarlucky” Maguire was way ahead with 3.3 million, while the other seven players were bunched up with stacks ranging from just over 1.7 million to just under a million.
It was a bit of a roller coaster at the final table, with “SoccerDJ” knocking out the first two opponents to grow his stack to 4.1 million and Maguire going from the chip lead to the rail in sixth place. “SoccerDJ” himself followed in fifth place and by the time it was three handed, Frank “thewholefunk” Funaro was suddenly the runaway leader with 8.5 million chips.
When heads-up play began, McKeehen was in a sizeable hole, down 9.2 million to 3.2 million.
But in online poker, things can turn around in a hurry. In only about 15 minutes, McKeehen went from a fairly big dog to the “big dog.”
On the final hand, McKeehen raised pre-flop and then called Funaro’s 2.8 million chip all-in. McKeehen had A-9, while Funaro held 7-6 suited, not the worst hand to have in that situation. The flop was 8-4-K, giving him a gutshot and a backdoor flush draw. The 4 on the turn took away the backdoor draw and the Q on the river sealed it for McKeehen.
McKeehen rose to poker prominence when he won the 2015 WSOP Main Event in dominant fashion. Going into three-handed play on the final tables last day, he had double the chips of his two opponents combined. He proceeded to hit his cards as one needs to do in those situations, but he also played incredible poker, making correct decision after correct decision. With his massive stack, he was content to play small ball and just chip away at the other two players.
In 2017, he broke the “Champion’s Curse” to capture his second WSOP bracelet. Before McKeehen, just two other players had even won a single additional bracelet after their Main Event win since 2003: 2009 champ Joe Cada and 2010 champ Jonathan Duhamel. 2014 victor Greg Merson won and additional bracelet the same year he won the Main Event.
McKeehen hasn’t been a slouch outside the WSOP. Not even counting this bracelet, since it was won online, he has about $16.7 million in live tournament winnings, less than half of which is from his Main Event triumph.