Back in July, 6,420 players ponied up $10,000 to play in the biggest live poker tournament of the year – the World Series of Poker Main Event. After ten days on action, just nine players remained. Those nine players returned to the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Sunday to determine who was going to be the 2016 WSOP Main Event Champion.
Coming into the three-day climax of the event, Joe McKeehen from Pennsylvania had a substantial advantage over his eight opponents with 32.7% of the chips in play – a record for the November Nine. His stack of 63.1 million chips was almost three times the size of his closest rival – Zvi Stern (29.8 million chips) – with the game resuming half-way into Level 35 with blinds of 200,000/400,000 (ante 50,000).
Sunday – McKeehen Takes Out Three
Sunday´s action was notable for the snail´s pace at which decisions were made and the overall lack of action. It did not look that was going to be the case in just the second hand of the day, when McKeehen shoved all-in from the button with A♦ 4♥ and got a call from Patrick Chan in the Small Blind (K♠ Q♣). Chan missed all his outs on the Ten-high board and was eliminated in ninth place to McKeehen´s Ace-high.
There was also a Ten-high board when Federico Butteroni was sent to the rail in eighth place – his A♥ J♣ failing to improve past McKeehen´s A♠ K♠ – and play on Sunday was concluded towards the end of Level 37 (blinds 300,000/600,000 – ante 75,000) when McKeehen (J♥ 6♥) hit a heart flush to bust Pierre Neuville (A♣ J♣) in seventh place. In a little over 4½ hours, just seventy-two hands of poker had been played.
Monday – McKeehen Extends His Advantage
Monday saw a bit more action, which again started with an elimination on the second hand – Thomas Cannuli seeing his pocket Aces bust by Max Steinberg´s flopped set of Tens. Pocket Aces enabled Josh Beckley to double up against Zvi Stern (9♠ 10♠), and Stern was bust in fifth place when running his A♦ J♣ into Neil Blumenfield´s A♠ K♠ – the K♦ on the Turn sealing Stern´s fate.
Just one more elimination was required before play would cease for the day, and it came at the beginning of Level 39 (blinds 500,000/1,000,000 – ante 150,000) when Max Steinberg moved all-in with A♥ J♦. McKeehen had no hesitation making the call with A♦ Q♣ and, with both players missing the Nine-high board, Steinberg was sent to the rail in fourth place – leaving McKeehen with a massive advantage going into the final day´s play.
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Tuesday – McKeehen Cannot Stop Running Hot
Any chances of the chip leader´s massive advantage being overturned on the final day of the World Series of Poker Main Event received a massive dent during the early exchanges on Tuesday night. Neil Blumenfield lost half his stack in a K♣ 10♠ > Q♥ 8♦ encounter against McKeehen, and was then bust in third place when running pocket Deuces into McKeehen´s pocket Queens.
The heads-up between Joe McKeehen (157.8 million chips) and Josh Beckley (34.85 million chips) lasted just twelve hands, with the majority of pots heading in the direction of the Pennsylvanian. In the final hand of the heads-up, Josh Beckley shoved his last 19 million chips with 4♣ 4♦. Joe McKeehen made the call with A♥ 10♦ and the audience in the Penn & Teller Theatre rose to their feet as one to watch the outcome of the hand.
Those in the audience supporting Joe McKeehen went wild as the Flop delivered Q♠ 10♣ 5♠ to pair his Ten. The cheers got louder when the 5♦ was dealt on the Turn, and the venue was showered in tickertape after the J♣ on the River – signalling that the WSOP Main Event had a new champion, Joe McKeehen.
World Series of Poker – Main Event Result