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Joe McKeehen Feeling 'Antsy' During 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Run

24-Year-Old Pennsylvania Native Has Sights Set On November Nine


One of the bigger stacks on day 7 of the 2015 World Series of Poker main event is poker pro Joe McKeehen, who is hoping to secure a spot as a member of the November Nine by the end of the night.

McKeehen, who grew in North Wales, Pennsylvania and attended nearby Arcadia University, has been tearing up the tournament circuit since early 2012. So far in his career, he’s racked up nearly $2 million in earnings and he’s already guaranteed at least $262,574 no matter what happens in the main event.

McKeehen is known for being a closer on circuit. Out of his 76 career cashes, the 24-year-old has won 12 tournaments, including two WSOP Circuit rings. The highlight of his career was actually a runner-up finish in the 2014 WSOP $1,500 Monster Stack, for which he pocketed $820,863. He’ll need ninth place or better in the main event to best that score.

Joe McKeehen“Well, hopefully I can top that finish,” McKeehen said. “There’s a lot of money on the line, but I’m trying not to think about that stuff. I’m just going to play my best and hopefully all of that other stuff falls into line.”

A high percentage of McKeehen’s tournament cashes result in wins, but in the WSOP main event, you sometimes need to pass up marginal edges in order to secure a spot in the November Nine. When asked whether he’d rather play for the win or squeak into the final table, McKeehen wasn’t sure.

“Well I guess we are going to find out later,” he said. “It really depends on whether or not the spot presents itself. I don’t think I’m going to pass up a good spot to get some chips, but I won’t know for sure until I’m in that moment. If I think the best course of action is to play very tight, then that’s what I’ll do. Everyone’s goal here today is to make the November Nine.”

As one of the more experienced players remaining in the field, it would seem like McKeehen would have a good opportunity to pick on those who are trying to ladder their way up the money, but he’s not sure that’s the case.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be so easy to do,” McKeehen said. “Everyone left in this tournament is a really good player and they understand what’s going on. If the opportunity presents itself, then of course I’m going to do it, but I think everyone has that same plan and it’s going to be difficult to get away with.”

With a huge payday and a shot at the bracelet in his sights, McKeehen admitted that he is feeling a little nervous.

“I’m trying to chill,” he explained. “I’m definitely getting antsy at times just because play has slowed down so much and there’s a lot of time when you are sitting there between hands not doing anything. I like to get up and walk away from the table to settle down. It’s helping me to stay in the moment.”

The main event’s generous structure has encourage a lot of players to slow things down, but McKeehen insists it’s about making the right play and not about stalling.

“I’m slowing down as well. There’s a reason we are all doing it and it’s not stalling. I just think that these decisions are so important that none of us want to rush and make a mistake we are going to regret later. If we ended up making a bad decision after we thought it through, then at least we’d feel a little better about it. But the last thing you want to do is rush things and cost yourself a shot at winning the tournament.”

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2015 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.