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A Statistical Look at the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table

Joe McKeehen Wins 16 Showdowns En Route To Title

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We don’t need to look at the numbers to see that Joe McKeehen dominated the 2015 World Series of Poker main event final table, but the stats produced from the 184 total hands dealt do offer some insight into how the 24-year-old poker pro managed to go wire to wire for the title.

Take a look at how each player navigated the final table below.

Patrick Chan – Ninth Place

It must be sickening to wait nearly four months to play at the most important final table of your life and have it end in just two hands. The only hand Chan played started off innocently enough, with everyone folding to McKeehen on the button. But he shoved, putting Chan at risk in the small blind, and Chan had to make a tough decision.

Looking at his face as he thought over his options, call or fold, you could see that Chan was wrestling with what his head was telling him to do and what his gut wanted him to do. Ultimately, he listened to his head, and it cost him his tournament life.

Federico Butteroni – Eighth Place

While Chan played his short stack aggressively, the Italian played his short stack as passively as one could. The result was much the same. In the 35 hands Butteroni was dealt, he only played two, including his elimination.

It wasn’t until a couple orbits in that he finally got involved, moving all in and taking down the blinds and antes, but by that point it was too late. He finally got it in again with just five big blinds and no fold equity, giving McKeehen an easy call to end Butteroni’s tournament run.

Pierre Neuville – Seventh Place

The 72-year-old Belgian businessman was fearless back in July en route to the November Nine, but at the final table, where he was dealt 72 hands, he looked like a completely different player. Although Neuville was eventually taken out by McKeehen, he clearly had trouble with Blumenfield, who seemed to hold over him in the four big pots they played together.

After getting reraised so many times, Neuville got gun shy, and played just three hands during his final 40, twice just calling preflop. Although he did get it in good, he was so short-stacked at the time that, even if he did double up, he still would have been in trouble. Neuville lost all three times he went to showdown.

Tom Cannuli – Sixth Place

Given the very slight pay jumps from ninth place to fifth place, it’s hard to understand why Cannuli refused to get involved at the final table early. In fact, he only played one hand the first three orbits and it took him until hand no. 32 to drag his first pot.

Once Butteroni was eliminated, however, the 23-year-old New Jersey native got more aggressive, even with chip leader McKeehen on his immediate left. Between hand no. 36 and hand no. 74, Cannuli was the preflop aggressor nine times. Who knows what could have been had his aces not been cracked by Steinberg?

Ofer Zvi Stern – Fifth Place

The Israeli businessman was statuelike on day one of the final table, giving nothing away in terms of physical tells by tanking 30 seconds or more for even the simplest preflop decisions. The second day, however, he sped up his play significantly, and one has to wonder if that cost him.

Despite his infuriatingly slow process, Stern was one of the more active players at the table, voluntarily putting chips into the pot on 40 of his 121 hands dealt. The 36-year-old amateur was one of the only people to challenge McKeehen early on, and could have made a deeper run if he didn’t shove into Beckley’s pocket aces.

Max Steinberg – Fourth Place

The only player with a bracelet at the final table played like the pro he is for most of the final table. Steinberg won the first hand dealt and stayed involved, keeping ahead of the mounting blinds and antes with a couple preflop raises and three-bets per orbit. In total, he played 27 of the 143 hands he was dealt, being the preflop aggressor on 23 of them.

After cracking Cannuli’s aces, the 27-year-old appeared like the likely heads-up contender against McKeehen, but a big loss to Blumenfield had him struggling with a short stack. On his final hand, he became the fourth player at the final table to lose with A-J.

Neil Blumenfield – Third Place

The 61-year-old software executive shocked everyone by coming out of the gates strong at the final table. In fact, Blumenfield won hand nos. 3-6 with either a preflop raise or a three-bet to move into second place overall.

His well-timed aggression continued until the third day of the final table for three-handed play, where he was run over by Beckley and McKeehen. In his first 147 hands played, Blumenfield lost only one showdown, but in his last 24 hands, he lost three huge showdowns, including a bluff gone wrong against McKeehen.

Josh Beckley – Second Place

It’s hard to fault anything about Beckley’s play, considering he came into the final table seventh in chips. When he came in for a raise or a three-bet, his opponents usually respected it. Although he stayed out of the way early on, he really picked up the pace once the tournament became five handed.

Beckley was handcuffed by Independent Chip Model (ICM) considerations for most of the final table, because there was always at least one player sitting on the short stack for him to move up the pay ladder. As a result, he faced a huge chip deficit going into heads-up play. But had he won the flip that sent him to the rail, he may have been able to pull off the upset.

Joe McKeehen – First Place

Given his huge chip lead, it’s no surprise that McKeehen was the most active player at the table, even before short-handed play began. He saw a total of 184 hands, and voluntarily played 93 of them. In the 41 hands of three-handed and heads-up play, McKeehen won 26 of them.

What is surprising about the stats, however, is that McKeehen clearly had no problem playing post-flop poker. Of the 93 hands he played, McKeehen was a preflop aggressor in only 67 of them. If someone raised his big blind, he didn’t mind defending light. If the action folded around to him in the small blind, he didn’t mind completing and taking a cheap flop.

The other important stat from McKeehen reveals that he was the showdown king of the final table. Of the 19 times he was forced to show his cards, McKeehen won 16. To put that into perspective, 2014 WSOP main event champion Martin Jacobsen was dealt 328 hands, and won only 10 out of 20 showdowns. ´