Pennsylvania Native Crowned 2015 World Series Of Poker Main Event Champion
November 15, 2015
The 24-year-old, who hails from North Wales, breezed through the final table of the esteemed event, all the while possessing an ample chip lead over the eight remaining competitors. On Sunday, McKeehen started out strong by busting out the first three players himself, adding to his already substantial chip stack.
On day two of the action, McKeehen busted just one opponent, but continued amassing chips, while the remaining players dropped one by one. On day three, the action was down to three players: Neil Blumenfield, Josh Beckley and McKeehen.
The PA native continued making solid moves and eventually knocked out Blumenfield, who went home with a $3.3 million check. That left McKeehen and Beckley heads-up to vie for the massive $7.7 million first-place prize and coveted gold bracelet.
After just 13 hands, the tournament was over, after McKeehen’s AhTd hit a pair against Beckley’s pocket fours.
Not a big spender
But the WSOP champ isn’t planning to splurge using his newly won poker cash. McKeehen is the son of a deliveryman who always instilled him with a good work ethic. “I’m not a very big spender,” he told NJ.com. “I bought a car last year, so I’m not going to buy another one for a few more years hopefully. I would like to support my parents in some way.”
Possessing a special talent for mathematics, McKeehen decided early on that he didn’t want a standard full-time job working in an office. “I decided I don’t want a normal type of job,” he said. “What I have on the side is lucrative for me and it’s my passion. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I hadn’t found this game.”
This is hardly McKeehen’s first success at the poker tables. Before claiming the WSOP ME crown, the 24-year-old had already won around $2 million in live tournaments. In fact, only a few weeks before the Main Event, McKeehen took first place at the $1,500 buy-in Wynn Fall Classic for a respectable $90,000 score.
McKeehen is so frugal that he doesn’t even have an apartment of his own. As he travels so frequently around the world to play on the tournament circuit, he decided that it would be easier to make his parent’s house is permanent home base.
He related that it’s almost unbelievable that he won the tournament, and that reality has not yet set in. “Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll look back and say, ‘oh my God, I can’t believe I did that.’”
It’s clear that McKeehen has a knack for strategy-based games. In 2011, Wired Magazine featured the young poker pro in an article after he had become the world champion of the board game Risk.
“I can spot someone else making a plan,” he said. “Sometimes I can ruin it myself by putting them in the position of trying to relocate on the spot. Always put pressure on opponents to respond to you.”