The final table of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event was determined Monday night as now just six players remain from the original field of 440 entries. Ping Liu is the chip leader with 3.330 million, but all in all, the top four players are quite close. Behind Liu is 2015 World Series of Poker Champion Joe McKeehen with 2.755 million chips, then Ian Steinman with 2.480 million, and Rayo Kniep with 2.435 million.
Liu is a self-professed cash game player, but clearly he’s doing something right this week in the tournament.
“I recently started studying tournaments a little bit more,” he told WPT.com. “I used to think that there wasn’t that much to it as I do now. I’m starting to see some of the different skills in tournaments that you need. I’m trying to work on that side of my game a lot more because I just want to be a better all-around live player.”
Liu added that he has been trying to pick up tips here and there from watching McKeehen and D.J. Alexander.
Speaking of the 2015 WSOP Champ, McKeehen’s run is that much more impressive (not that his WSOP win, just in general) because he has been battling the flu.
“I’m dead,” McKeehen said. “Fucking had the flu the whole time, but when I’m sick, I play better, obviously. It’s a proven fact. I’m one-for-one.”
Um…anyone need some Purell? I mean, we all try to put it out of our heads that poker chips and cards are disgusting, but that must be fun seeing someone coughing and sneezing and then handling chips that (hopefully) will make their way over to you. But hey, that’s life in live poker – can’t begrudge a guy for willing himself to the final table.
McKeehen has two previous final table appearances on the World Poker Tour, the first in 2016 when he finished fourth at the Borgata Winter Poker Open and second this January, again a fourth place finish in that same tournament.
McKeehen told WPT.com that some bad luck led to his downfall in those tourneys.
“Both Borgata final tables, I ended up getting bad beat, actually. I’d like to not get bad beat [Tuesday]. Both times, I was in a very good spot and the bad beat brought me back to Earth. If I won the hand, I’d be in a great spot.”
McKeehen has nearly $14.5 million in live tournament earnings, about half of that coming from his WSOP Main Event win. That also means that he isn’t a one-trick pony – he has won several million dollars aside from that.
For his part, Ping Liu has $585,709 in live tournament earnings, according to TheHendonMob.com. Most of his cashes look to be in the four-figure range, but he did win $133,110 for a third place finish in a WSOP Circuit Event in 2014. He has two cashes in World Poker Tour Main Events, both coming last year.
The final table has just gotten underway, so we will soon know who will be the newest inductee into the WPT Champions Club.
2018 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts
1. Ping Liu – 3,330,000
2. Joe McKeehen – 2,755,000
3. Ian Steinman – 2,480,000
4. Rayo Kniep – 2,435,000
5. D.J. Alexander – 1,425,000
6. David Larson – 700,000