Top Poker Stories of 2015 Pt 3 - July to September

Welcome back to part 3 of our round up of the biggest and best poker-related stories of 2015. In part 1 we looked at the major stories to emerge from Q1 of 2015, and in part 2 we covered Q2; in this recap we'll cover our pick of the stories from July through to September.


Joe McKeehan Dominates WSOP Main Event

Never in recent memory has one man dominated the WSOP Main Event so completely with Joe McKeehan's performance outdoing Jamie Gold's convincing win back in 2006.

McKeehan first took the chip lead on Day 4, going in front quite early on and managing to hold onto the lead at the day's end with 3.122m chips after winning a monster 1.1m pot where he put a bad beat on Scott Mongomery with his AJ spiking an Ace on the river to topple the Canadian's QQ.

Although he had slipped out of the top 10 by the end of Day 5, McKeehan was back at the business end of the field at the end of Day six, sitting in 4th place out of the final 27.

It was on day seven, the last day before the four month pre-November Nine hiatus where McKeehan really stepped on the gas, putting in a huge performance to grow his stack from 12m up to an incredible 63m by the day's end - a full 33.3 million ahead of his nearest rival, Israel's Zvi Stern.

McKeehan's stack grew considerably in the run-up to the final table after winning a +20m pot to eliminate Justin "Stealthmunk" Schwartz in 14th place in a cruel set-over-set scenario, before busting Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu in a +13m chip pot, crushing Negreanu's November Nine dreams after hitting a gutshot straight draw on the river to beat Negreanu's flopped top pair. It was Negreanu's second 11th place finish the Main Event.

It seem's a shame to split the story, so we'll use a little creative licence and skip to November where McKeehan cremated the final table. He eliminated the first three players to grow his monster stack from 63m to 92.35m. After allowing someone else to knock out the next two players, McKeehan finished the job in style by taking the final three scalps at the table to win the 2015 Main Event and the $7.7m prize money.

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Ben "Sauce" Sulksy Backs Isildur1 and durrrr for online poker hall of fame

We wouldn't generally put forward a poker podcast as a major piece of news for the year, but it's not often you get to spend over 3 hours listening to the thoughts and wisdom of one of the most revered minds in online poker. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky has dominated at the highest stakes online for several years, and battled long and hard against the best in the business at the NLHE and PLO tables.

During the podcast with Joe "ChicagoJoey" Ingram, Sulsky talks strategy, $1m sessions against Isildur1, his NLHE challenge against Doug "WCGRider" Polk, and why he would pick Isildur1 and durrrr as his top picks if there were ever nominations for a genuine online poker hall of fame.

Check out the podcast in its entirety below:



Big Wins for Jason Mercier and John Juanda

It was a good Summer for a couple of the biggest names in live tournament poker. Jason Mercier had already enjoyed a stellar Summer, having made three six-figure scores prior to taking down the Seminole Hard Rock $25k Super High Roller for $517k on August 19th.

In fact, this half million dollar score was only his third biggest win of the Summer, having already won $633,357 for picking up his 3rd WSOP bracelet in June in the $5k 6-handed NLHE event, before going on to take $572,989 for finishing runner-up in the $10k PLO event. Mercier's other six-figure summer win came in the $50k Poker Players event at the WSOP where he finished 7th for $139,265. Mercier's live tourney winnings are now just under $16m.

Just ahead of Mercier in the all-time biggest live tourney money winners is 5 time WSOP bracelet winner, John Juanda, who now has over $18.1m in live tourney winnings after taking down this year's EPT Barcelona on August 30th for over $1.1m.

It was an impressive showing for Juanda who had been absent from the poker scene for a year (his last tourney prior to this being the same one, EPT Barcelona, exactly 12 months earlier). He showed he had no "ring rust" as he tore through the record-breaking field at the €5,300 buy-in event. Juanda even turned down a guaranteed €500k when he sat 5th out of 5 at the final table, coolly saying “what, and forfeit the chance for a million!?”. Just a couple of eliminations later Juanda was chip leader and was then able to do a deal guaranteeing himself the million he was after before cruising to victory.

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Isildur1 Begins Epic Upswing

On the second to last weekend of August, Viktor "Isildur1" Blom started what turned out to be an epic upswing at PokerStars between August and October which peaked at +$4.3m (since then he has dropped around $1.25m, although remained PokerStars biggest winner of the year with a $3.5m profit).

Some highlights from Blom's highly entertaining run include a +$1m session of $200/$400 PLO against WithColor, some great heads-up PLO matches against Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky, and a great comeback in October after hitting a seven-figure downswing, ending the month up $1.8m

You can read more about Isildur1's $4m upswing in our special article here

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Ben "Ben86" Tollerene Wins PokerStars Inaugural $51k WCOOP Event

Back in July, PokerStars announced their first ever $51k buy-in WCOOP Super High Roller event, which had the railbirds licking their lips at the prospect of watching the best in the business competing for a big prize.

The event took place on September 19-20 and attracted 46 buys ins (including 13 rebuys), creating a $2.3m prize pool. By the end of Day 1 the likes of Doug "WCGRider" Polk, Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Dan "mrGR33N13" Colman had all fallen by the wayside.

The final table, however, was still stacked with talent with Mike "Timex" McDonald, Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy, Ben "Ben86" Tollerene, Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz, David "dpeters17" Peters, and Andy "cuffme" Mosley all making the cut.

Tournament phenom McDonald started the day as chip leader but was soon caught by Tollerene after he eliminated cuffme in 8th place. The 7th place bubble took a while to burst before dpeters17 was brutally eliminated after his AK was beaten by fish2013's AQ which made a flush on the river. After this, Timex, CrownUpGuy and Nopaleva all fell within the space of just 12 hands.

With play three-handed the players did a deal before fish2013 made way for Ben86 and Jose "Cejakas14" Angel Latorre to fight it out heads-up for the title and the glory.

In the end it was PLO superstar Ben86 who took the title, finally winning a huge pot in which Cejakas14 had flopped a set of 9's and Ben86 had turned a straight. Ben86 won the title and took $616.5k in prize money after the 3-way deal.

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Come back tomorrow for the final part of our Best of 2015 news recaps.


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