The World Series of Poker was concluded in Las Vegas with Joseph McKeehen winning the Main Event and taking home $7.68 million.
If ever you needed a definition of “Average Joe”, look no further than Joseph McKeehen. Nothing dramatic stands out when describing McKeehen, he’s just a regular guy who is 24 years old and hails from the outskirts of Philadelphia. He’s proof that you don’t have to be a good looking movie star or a big time professional athlete to excel at poker. His relentless wear-‘em-down playing style and a love of numbers was just too much for the competition.
The final head-to-head showdown featured McKeehen and Joshua Beckley, another youngster at only 25. Beckley drew a pair of fours which gave him a slender edge over McKeehen’s Ace-10. He decided to go for it and went all-in. Then came the flop and a 10 gave McKeehen the hand and the tournament. Jack Effel, the World Series of Poker tournament director said, “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. That shows the true skill of the game.”
A total of 6,420 players entered this years’ World Series of Poker Main Event. The entry fee was $10,000 for which anybody could enter who had that kind of cash. The World Series started in May and to make it to the Main Event, a player had to get through 68 events in 51 days. Making it that far put a player in the Main Event starting during the summer where the field was whittled down to nine players, for the “November Nine”. McKeehen started his competition in the November Nine with the chip lead, having a total of 63.1 million chips. With the leverage that the lead brought him, he just started knocking off players one-by-one, winning six of eight head-to-head showdowns. By the time he got to the final two remaining opponents, he had three times as many chips as them, with 128 million. Game over!
Beginning as an invitation only event, the World Series of Poker started in 1970. Now, anyone can enter, as long as they can pony up the five figure entry fee. Tournament poker hit it’s heyday in the mid 2000’s when it was extremely popular and the subject of countless books and movies. Then, the federal government’s crackdown on internet gambling with the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), really curtailed interest in poker online. But now, almost ten years later, with legislation against online gambling starting to loosen up, and the fact that an ‘average joe’ can win, tournament poker seems to be making a comeback.