Posts Tagged ‘2015 November Nine’

Joe McKeehen wins 2015 WSOP – Let the Poker Ambassador Talk begin

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

joe-mckeehen-wsopAs you may already know, Joe McKeehen triumphed over the 2015 November Nine in dominating fashion. The Pennsylvania poker pro easily dispatched his opponents at the Main Event final table through a combination of skill and great cards. Now that McKeehen has joined the other 40 Main Event champions and collected a $7.68 million prize, it’s time for the poker ambassador discussion to begin.

To be honest, nobody is really throwing out the term “poker ambassador” any more because it’s so early-2014. But no matter how you label it, players have already begun scrutinizing every little aspect of McKeehen, from his neck beard to the goofy facial expressions that he made towards the cameras.

What’s more is that he’s followed in the tradition of other recent Main Event champs in wearing sports jerseys to the table. You can read more on this in a TwoPlusTwo thread that’s spawned on the subject, but the general consensus is that McKeehen by himself isn’t convincing recreational players to flock towards the game.

But on the other hand, the whole ‘average guy’ appearance (no well in hell I’m making the ‘average Joe’ joke) can be appealing to the typical viewer. And from a broader perspective, we should consider that McKeehen himself admitted that the unshaven/jersey-monger appearance is just part of the image he wants to portray. Here’s a look at that post:

“I wanted to give off the image that it was my table to all of the other players and that they would have to fight me tooth and nail for any little thing they could get. A lot of my table talk was to do either the same exact thing, or to make me look stupider than I actually am. Anyone that’s played with me deep in a tournament has likely experienced this one way or another. I also made a lot of faces for the crowd in between hands. They laughed more often than they didn’t. I was enjoying myself. I (clearly) didn’t care how I came off on television because I was there to win a poker tournament, not make a bunch of people all over the world think I had my life in order. Hard to argue with the results in this case. Even if, I dressed up a little. I bought sports jerseys! I followed the tradition of Merson and Riess as winners. Pro tip: wear a jersey if you make it to the november 9 and your equity gets an automatic boost.”

So there you have it: a quirky guy who purposely looked like a slob to throw his opponents off. Maybe this isn’t the dashing Phil-Ivey type who’s going to draw more people to the felt. But at least he’s got some personality and is unlikely to run from the game along with his big score.

November Niner Federico Butteroni hires Phil Hellmuth

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

federico-butteroniBack in July, Federico Butteroni became one of the proud nine poker players to make the 2015 November Nine. But the only catch is that Butteroni is sitting in ninth place with the smallest stack (6.2 million). So the young Italian is looking to improve his odds of netting a bigger score by hiring Phil Hellmuth as his poker coach.

“I’m really excited to be announcing today that I’ll be coaching Federico Butteroni,” said Hellmuth, “at the final table, the November Niner. And he’s gonna meet me in Manhattan November 1st. We’re gonna coach for 5 days in Manhattan, and then he’s gonna play in my charity poker tournament.”

The Poker Brat seems pumped to take on Butteroni as his student. However, even Hellmuth admits that the odds of Butteroni succeeding are slim since he only has 16 big blinds.

The good news, though, is that Butteroni has prior experience and cashes in live tournaments. But there are better players with larger chips stacks on the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table. So he’s going to need a little luck and a lot of Hellmuth’s help to move up to the bigger prizes.

Hellmuth has a record 14 WSOP gold bracelets, and he won the Main Event in 1989, so there’s nobody better to coach Butteroni. But just in case the 25-year-old doesn’t do so hot, at least he’ll be guaranteed a $1,001,020 payout.

Who will win 2015 WSOP Main Event?

Monday, July 20th, 2015

max-steinberg-2015-main-eventThe 2015 WSOP Main Event final table has been set for over a week now, which means there’s been plenty of time to look at the November Nine. Joe McKeehen’s name steps to the forefront since he has a massive lead with 62,100,000 chips, versus second-place Zvi Stern’s stack of 29,800,000 chips. Obviously McKeehen has a great chance to win the 2015 WSOP Main Event. But can anybody else compete with this poker pro’s big chip stack and steal the spotlight? Let’s take a look at three other players who, based on their chips stack and experience, have a good chance to win.

1. Pierre Neuville: 21,075,000 chips, fourth-biggest stack

Nicknamed the “Serial Qualifier” for having won online prize packages to 23 straight European Poker Tour events, Neuville has definitely played a lot of poker over the past several years. And the 72-year-old has really cashed in on these opportunities, accumulating almost $2.2 million prior to the Main Event. A former head executive at the Hasbro toy company, Neuville basically dedicated the remainder of his life to poker after a health scare. And this has really allowed him to build the necessary skills to be a major threat among the 2015 November Nine.

2. Max Steinberg: 20,200,000 chips, fifth-largest stack

After turning pro in the mid-2000s, Max Steinberg did quite well on the live poker circuit, accumulating over $1.9 million and winning a gold bracelet at the 2012 WSOP. It is the latter aspect that sets Steinberg apart from the other final table players, given that he’s the only one to experience winning a WSOP event. The only drawback to the San Francisco native is that, two months ago, he basically quit poker to play daily fantasy sports full-time. He’ll now be spending the next three and a half months gaining back any edge he lost during this time.

3. Zvi Stern: 29,800,000, second-largest stack

zvi-stern-main-eventNot much is known about Stern and he declined to answer when asked about his profession back in Israel. Furthermore, he had less than $50k in live tournament winnings coming into the Main Event. However, this (assumed) amateur player does have the second-biggest chip stack, which has to count for something. And he does play a fair amount of poker, given that he’s cashed in several live tournaments.

Joshua Beckley: 2015 November Niner, One Year after becoming Poker Pro

Friday, July 17th, 2015

joshua-beckley-wsop-main-eventThe modern era of the World Series of Poker Main Event is often a bit of a crapshoot, where thousands of players attempt to win poker’s ultimate title. So you get all sorts of players who make the final table, including Joshua Beckley, who’s now set to play for a $7.68 million payout with the 2015 November Nine, despite turning pro less than a year ago.

The Marlton, New Jersey man decided to become a poker pro after winning $98,000 in a Parx Casino tournament last August. Since that time, he’s managed to collect almost $220k total in live tourneys along with more winnings in New Jersey’s regulated online poker market. Beckley is a regular at sites like Party Poker under the name “asdf26.”

Based on the typical accounts of most post-Black Friday poker pros, Beckley should be having a difficult time grinding up his bankroll and making a living. But now, after navigating through a 6,420-player field in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, he’s guaranteed at least a $1,001,020 payout.

The good thing for Beckley is that he has a decent chance at earning more than this because he’s currently sitting with the seventh-largest chip stack at 11,800,000 chips. And here’s some good news for him: Pius Heinz, who won the 2011 Main Event and $8,715,638, only had the seventh-biggest chip stack heading into the final table. So this isn’t exactly the worst spot to be in for a guy who’s eyeing the $7.68 million top prize just like the rest of the 2015 November Nine.

The final nine players will meet again on Nov. 8th, where they’ll battle for a collective $27.8 million in prize money. And this will give Beckley a chance to show just what all he’s learned in his year as a poker pro.

Pierre Neuville: Oldest November Niner in History

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

pierre-neuville-wsop-main-eventOver the past decade, poker has transitioned into a young person’s game, with 20-somethings dominating the pro scene. Of course, this isn’t to say that there aren’t still some older players grinding on the felt, including 72-year-old Pierre Neuville, who’s officially now the oldest guy ever to make the WSOP November Nine.

Already an accomplished player before the 2015 WSOP Main Event, Neuville fought through a 6,420-player field to claim his spot on the final table. And the Belgian looks poised to net a huge cash since he has the fourth-biggest stack with 21,075,000 chips.

Regardless of how he finishes when the November Nine meets from Nov. 8-10, Neuville is already an inspiring story. The former president of the board-game company Hasbro, he took up poker (again) after retiring from his lofty position in the company. Neuvile had originally played Seven Card Stud in the 1960s, however, he eventually had to give the game up to keep his image clean with the family oriented Hasbro.

What motivated Neuville to begin playing poker again was when he fell deathly ill, promising his wife that he was going to quit Hasbro and concentrate on his true passion: poker. He recovered indeed and quickly began playing both online and live poker quite often. In fact, Neuville earned the nickname “The Serial Qualifier” due to winning prize packages to 23 straight European Poker Tour Main Events.

The result has been a fantastic poker career in which Neuville has earned over $2.2 million playing live tournaments. Counting the $1 million that he’s guaranteed in the 2015 Main Event, the Belgian will have at least over $3.2 million when November comes. And given all of the live poker experience that he’s racked up in recent years, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Neuville earn several million dollars.