We got a chance to catch up with the 2015 WSOP November Nine dominant chip leader, 24-year-old Joe McKeehen from North Wales Pennsylvania.
McKeehen is an experienced live tournament poker pro with two WSOP Circuit rings and almost $3 million in total career earnings. McKeehen enters the November Nine with 63.1 million, more than twice as much as his nearest player. In 2014, McKeehan notched the biggest score of his career when he finished runner-up in Event #51: $1,500 Monster Stack for $820,863 at the WSOP. When Joe was just 20 years old, he notched his first six-figure score when he won the $2,150 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo side event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $116,230.
Known for keeping a low profile and being an all around laid back dude, in his own words he’s “just chilling” and doesn’t let the pressure of being the WSOP Main Event chip leader get to him. With skill, experience and a massive stack Joe McKeehen has a great chance at winning the $7.68 million first-place prize and becoming the next world champion of poker.
When did you start playing poker?
Joe McKeehen: I started playing poker a long time ago, but I started seriously playing when I turned 18.
What was the turning point of your poker career?
Joe McKeehen: Winning a PCA turbo ($116,230) and having money was a pretty good start. The monster stack ($820,863) was another good turning point, and obviously final tabling the main is pretty good too.
Do any hands stick out in your head from the Main Event?
Joe McKeehen: I had AQ beat AK for all my chips on day six. That one was pretty important.
What was it like knocking out Daniel Negreanu?
Joe McKeehen: He’s just a guy. The moment was big enough as it was making the final ten. The fact that he got 11th didn’t mean much to me. It would have been great to have him there but at the same time I’m not sad that he isn’t.
How does it feel having the largest chip lead going into the final table in WSOPME history?
Joe McKeehen: Feels good man. But there’s a lot of play left and I can’t get unfocused or else I’ll lose it fast.
Who do you feel will be the toughest to play against at the final table?
Joe McKeehen: Ofer Zvi Stern owned me all of day seven, he’s tough. They’re all tough. I haven’t played with a few of the guys so it’ll be interesting to see how they play.
What plans do you have until playing the WSOPME final table in November?
Joe McKeehen: I plan to play more poker to stay sharp, get some coaching, do some things. Nothing too much that I wouldn’t already do.
How often do you play online poker?
Joe McKeehen: Rarely. At Borgata if I’m super bored, or maybe on an off day Sunday. No more than like five times a year.
Do you have any plans with your winnings?
Joe McKeehen: Not thinking about that at all.
Drink of choice?
Joe McKeehen: Water. Beer, if you were looking for alcohol.
Hobbies outside of poker?
Joe McKeehen: Playing Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Advice or words of wisdom for up and coming poker players?
Joe McKeehen: Work hard, play hard. Experience is worth more than you imagine.
Football fan? If yes, who’s winning the Super Bowl this year?
Joe McKeehen: Eagles, duh.
Do you play fantasy Football?
Joe McKeehen: Haven’t for a couple years, probably couldn’t focus this year if I did. Maybe I’ll fire some Draftkings on Sundays.
It’s your last day on Earth and you’re allowed one last party before you ship off to space. You have unlimited access to the world. Tell us the bands, celebrities, and food you would have there?
Joe McKeehen: I’ll just take my Pandora station. Don’t really care about celebs, no one I’d care to really meet. Maybe some comedians. I’d probably be eating chicken Parmesan and pasta.