2015 WSOP Main Event: Can anyone stop Joe McKeehen?

The leader of the 2015 WSOP Main Event, Joe McKeehen, has a third of the chips in play but is he nailed on to win? We look back at Main Event history to get the answer…

We need to talk about Joe…

24-year-old Joe McKeehen hasn’t won any major titles but he’s no slouch on the tables. He has close to $3m in career winnings, including the $1m he’s already banked for making the final table of the 2015 WSOP Main Event, and was runner up in the huge WSOP Monster Stack event last year.

He knows how to close as well. He’s won 13 tournaments since 2011, including a WSOP Circuit event in 2013 and the $1,500 Wynn Fall Classic in October. He might not be the most experienced player at the table but he’s got a massive chip lead and he’s good enough to make it count.

He knocked Daniel Negreanu out in 11th place which makes him the villain of the piece for a lot of neutrals, but he won’t care about that.

Joe McKeehen will start the final table with the largest percentage of chips in play of any chip leader in the last ten years. He’s rightly a short favourite to win when play resumes in November, but what does history tell us about dominant Main Event final table chip leaders?

Main Event chip leads


The portents are good for McKeehen. Three players have had similar stacks in the past ten years – Jonathan Duhamel (2010), Darvin Moon (2009) and Jamie Gold (2006). Duhamel and Gold went on to win and Moon came second. Moon was by far the least experienced player of the three and made some critical mistakes. McKeehen is an experienced player and he’ll be disappointed with anything but first or second.

Our verdict? It’s McKeehen’s to lose but nothing’s certain in poker and we won’t be backing him at 6/4.

The 2015 main event outsiders

These are the players we think have a shot at beating the odds in November.

Max Steinberg

Odds: 13/2
All-time earnings: $2,957,574
Main Event chips: 20,200,000 (50.5BBs)

Steinberg doesn’t play a massive volume of tournaments but he’s the only November Niner with a bracelet – he won a $1k NLHE event with 2,795 runners in 2012. He finished second in two other WSOP events and a WPT Main Event.

Pierre Neuville

Odds: 13/2
All-time earnings: $3,176,174
Main Event chips: 21,075,000 (53BBs)

Neuville is the oldest player on the final table, the most experienced and the player with the biggest career earnings. He’s finished second twice in EPT Main Events and with 53BBs, has a great stack to spin up in November.

Josh Beckley

Odds: 14/1
All-time earnings: $1,246,612
Main Event chips: 11,800,000 (29BBs)

If you want a big price to bet on, Josh Beckley is probably the best of the big outsiders. As well as finishing in the November Nine he cashed twice in PLO events at this year’s WSOP, but he’ll need all of his gamble here.

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