2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Winner Joe McKeehen
In 2014, Joseph ‘Joe’ McKeehen went to the World Series of Poker and went deep in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event. He eventually finished 2nd and pocketed more than $800,000. Little did anyone know at the time, but this was a good indicator of just how good a player McKeehen was. A year later, he got to show off that ability on the biggest stage of all – the WSOP Main Event.
In June 2015, McKeehen had just turned 24 years old - and took his seat at the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. The event featured a field of 6,420 players who had all paid the $10,000 entry fee. There was a total prize pool of more of more than $60 million and the eventual winner would pocket more than $7.5 million.
33% of Chips Starting the November Nine
Throughout the event Joe McKeehan was on top. When the final table was reached and the ‘November Nine’ was set, the Pennsylvanian player had nearly a third of the total chips in play. He was favourite, but could he go on to win it?
From the first hand to the last on that final table Joe never once relinquished the chip lead and would find himself heads up against Josh Beckley, a pro from New Jersey.
The pivotal and final hand saw a classic race situation. McKeehen held the ace and ten of diamonds, while Beckley had a pair of 4s. On the flop came a 10, and there was no 4 to help Beckley on the turn or the river. McKeehan was the 2015 WSOP Champion.
Joe McKeehen’s Other Major Wins/Cashes
Joe McKeehen can be considered one of the modern greats in the poker world. Following up his Main Event win in 2015 with two further WSOP bracelets. In 2017 he won the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, pocketing $311,817 for the win. In 2020 he won the No Limit Hold’em High Roller event, in the pandemic affected series, which saw the event move online.
He has shown great consistency in other WSOP events. Alongside those wins, he has picked up four pay outs of more than half a million dollars when going deep in other tournaments.
Outside of the World Series of Poker, Joe McKeehen has seen great success. A few months after his main event win, he won $1.2 million for his 2nd place finish at the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Eight Max on the European Poker Tour. A second-place finish on the WPT DeepStack showdown saw McKeehen win almost half a million dollars.
Joe McKeehen Poker Strategy: Big Folds and Big Calls
In winning the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, McKeehen would seemingly make every decision correctly. He navigated perfect to make both big calls and big folds at exactly the right time.
To do this, McKeehen would use the whole range of his skills – reading the board, knowing his opponents’ tendencies, looking at the body language of his opponents and their propensity to bluff. He did this perfectly in 2015 and continues to do so today.
Before and After the WSOP 2015
Joe McKeehen is from North Wales, Pennsylvania and would graduate from Arcadia University with a degree in maths. At the age of 19, McKeehen would show his world-class competitive ability in a completely different game - winning the World Championship of the board game ‘Risk’.
His first live tournament cash came at just 19 years old, making the final two tables of the 2010 Empire State Hold’em Championships $2,500 main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino. He won his first poker title at the age of 21. Playing in a side event at the PokerStars Caribbean adventure, McKeehen pocketed a six-figure pay out. He cashed for the first time at the World Series of Poker in 2013.
Since his life changing win at the Main Event, Joe McKeehen has continued to play at all of the biggest events in poker. Up until 2021, he has enjoyed an incredible 43 cashes at the World Series of Poker. Card Player magazine asked the question, ‘Is Joe McKeehen Poker’s Best Modern WSOP Main Event Champion?’ in 2021.
Could you be the Next WSOP Champ?
One of the joys of poker is that any player in the world can win the main event and claim that life-changing win. Many online poker sites offer satellite events to the main event, with some of these starting at just a couple of dollars. Show off your skills at these tables and you could eventually find yourself sitting down with some of the best players in the world at the main event. Can you follow in Joe McKeehen’s footsteps?
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More WSOP Pages:
- WSOP Qualifiers (win a seat in the Main Event)
- Greg Merson WSOP Poker Strategy (2012 winner)
- John Cynn Poker Strategy (2018 winner)
- Ryan Riess Poker Strategy (2013 winner)
- Scott Blumstein (2017 winner)
- Martin Jacobson (2014 winner)