In a predictable series of events, Joe McKeehen bested Josh Beckley and Neil Blumenfield on the final day of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event to take home the coveted gold bracelet and massive $7.7 million prize. He entered the final day with a massive chip lead and as the odds-on favorite, but it still took an epic 184 hands to secure the win.
McKeehen was the chip leader throughout the entire final table, never once relinquishing the lead in the three days of championship competition. On the first day, his lead increased when he knocked out the first three players: Patrick Chan, Federico Butteroni, and Pierre Neuville. On each of the first two days, the eventual winner increased his chip count by 40-percent. (McKeehen increased his chips from 91.35 million to 128.825 million by day three.)
“I love seeing a dominating force come in with the chip lead, hold the chip lead, continue to play well, continue to overcome obstacles and win,” Jack Effel, the World Series of Poker’s tournament director, told the New York Post. “That shows the true skill of the game.”
Blumenfield fell unremarkably when his pair of pocket twos didn’t measure up to McKeehen’s pocket queens. He went home in third place with $3,398,298.
In a similar tone, the first-place winner dominated Beckley with ease. Beckley had had just 37 million in chips remaining by the time heads-up play began.
“[Joe has] always been smart, he’s always been competitive,” his mother, Gina McKeehen, told the Post. “My God, has he been competitive,” his father, Brent McKeehen, chimed in.
In the coup de grace, Beckley moved all in for 19.4 million with 4♢, 4♧ and McKeehen immediately called with his own A♡, 10♢. The flop (Q♤, 10♧, 5♤) sent McKeehen to the top and left Beckley in need. After a 5♢ on the turn, the runner up was needed a J♧ on the river. It failed to materialize, sending him away with $4,470,896.
McKeehen, an unassuming player from North Whales, Pennsylvania, bested 6,419 entrants for the eventual title.
Final table results:
(Photo credit: PokerNews.)
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