The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event has run its course – almost. The first 7 days of action are complete, and we are left with an elite group of 9 remaining players, known affectionately as the November Nine. As we await the commencement of the final table nearly four months from now, we’ll take an in-depth look at current chip leader, Joe McKeehen.
As of right now, Joe McKeehen is the heavy favorite to win the Main Event this year. Not only does he have 63,100,000 chips to his name, accounting for about 1/3 of all chips in play and more than twice that of his nearest competitor, Zvi Stern, he is considered the most experienced live tournament player among the 2015 November Nine with $1,995,070 in career winnings across 85 live tournament cashes.
The Rise of Joe McKeehen
Hailing from North Wales, Pennsylvania, 24 year old Joe McKeehen has been interested in the game ever since the poker boom of 2003. He dabbled at home and among friends for a few years, and when he turned 18, Joe became a regular of the poker room at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY.
McKeehen earned his first cash of $4,100 that year by finishing 16th in PokerStars.net 2010 Empire State Holdem Championships. In 2011, he raked in another 8 cashes ranging from as little as $200 to as high as $18,006 for a 2nd place finish in the Verona leg of the Heartland Poker Tour.
Joe McKeehen Turns Pro
It wasn’t until 2012 that Joe McKeehen achieved ultimate success, leading to a full time career as a professional poker player. He raked his first 6-figure cash in January in a $2k NLHE Turbo event at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, eliminated in 10th for $116,230. He would go on to finish in the money at 15 live poker tournaments that year alone.
Up until now, 2013 was the highlight of the young poker pro’s short but illustrious career. Joe McKeehen would head to the cashier cage a phenomenal 30 times, collecting over $375,000. The largest payday was the result of a 1st place routing at the 2013 WSOP Circuit Main Event in Atlantic City, which netted him $174,147, a WSOP Circuit Ring and an automatic seat in the 2013 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.
McKeehen would go on to cash in the Main Event that year, eliminated in 489th place for $24,480.
2014 was another stellar year for Joe McKeehen, collecting 23 paychecks from live poker venues all over the nation. Although Joe didn’t finish in the money at the WSOP Main Event that year, he did collect his largest score to date in Event #51, the $1,500 NLHE Monster Stack, pocketing a massive $820,863 after losing in heads-up to Hugo Pingray of France.
Now halfway through the year, 2015 has been equally kind to the young poker pro. Prior to the Main Event, Joe McKeehen cashed in 8 live tournaments, including 3 WSOP events, for over $40,000. His November Nine title guarantees him a minimum of $1,001,020 for 9th in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, scaling to as high as $7,680,021 for a Championship win.