Joe McKeehan wins 2015 WSOP Main Event and $7.7M

Beckley only lasted a dozen hands in his showdown with McKeehan, and had to settle for second place and an almost $4.5 million payday.

He may have boasted a record breaking chip lead going into the November Nine, but holding onto that initial lead is certainly no walk in the park where poker’s biggest stage is concerned.

Before Joe McKeehan, who never once relinquished his chip lead through the three days of final table play, became poker’s new world champion and claimed the $7.7M top prize last night, only Jonathan Duhamel had converted a chip lead into the title in the history of the Main Event’s November Nine format.

“It was just my day for three days”, said McKeehan in his post-game interview. “I was never really at risk.”

“Even if I’d have lost a few of those big pots I’d still have had a huge lead. It hasn’t really hit me properly yet, but it feels good.”

On Day 1 of the final table action, McKeehan notched all three of the session’s eliminations to take his chip lead to an almost insurmountable level. After short stacks Patrick Chan, Federico Butteroni and the oldest November Niner ever in Pierre Neuville all found the exit at his hands; by day’s end McKeehan had over 90 million in his stack - nearly half the total chips in play with six still remaining.

Neuville was desperately unlucky to lose with AJ of clubs against McKeehan’s J6 in hearts when a flush spiked on the river, which was perhaps a defining moment in the new champion’s path to glory. Though losing that pot would’ve caused minimal damage to both his stack and confidence, a small swing in momentum is sometimes all it can take under the game’s biggest spotlight for disaster to strike.

Day 2 saw the demise of Thomas Cannuli, Zvi Stern and Max Steinberg, the latter being McKeehan’s fourth final table elimination. That pot, his AQ holding up against Steinberg’s AJ, took him into last night’s final showdown with Neil Blumenfield and Joshua Beckley with two thirds of the table’s chips.

Yesterday’s final showdown was no less dominant, with McKeehan first taking out closest rival Neil Blumenfield.  Blumenfield started in second place but was soon the short stack after losing a few big pots to McKeehan, and in his final hand decided to risk his remaining chips with pocket deuces.

Unfortunately for him, McKeehan woke up with two queens, and took play into a heads-up showdown – which only ended up lasting 12 hands - against Beckley holding a 4-1 chip advantage.

In the tournament’s final hand, Beckley moved in pre-flop with pocket fours and was quickly called by McKeehan with A 10. A ten arrived on the flop leaving Beckley needing a miracle two outer on either the turn or river, that didn’t arrive, and that was that.

Here’s a look at the full 2015 November Nine payouts:

1. Joe McKeehen - $7,683,346
2. Josh Beckley - $4,470,896
3. Neil Blumenfield - $3,398,298
4. Max Steinberg - $2,615,361
5. Zvi Stern - $1,911,423
6. Thomas Cannuli - $1,426,283
7. Pierre Neuville - $1,203,293
8. Federico Butteroni - $1,097,056
9. Patrick Chan - $1,001,020




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