– General Information –
Joe McKeehen is an American professional poker player. He was born on June 28th, 1991 in the state of Pennsylvania.
He’s best known for winning the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2015. He bested a 6,420-player field and won $7.683 million. He has two other WSOP gold bracelets: from the $10,000 Limit Hold’em event in 2017, and from the $3,200 NLHE High Roller online event in 2020.
McKeehen is also known for his scruffy look at the poker table and for often wearing the jerseys of his favorite sports teams.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2006: He finds poker during the Moneymaker boom and starts playing online underaged.
- 2010: He wins the world championship title in the board game Risk.
- 2015: He wins the WSOP Main Event. He tops a 6,420-player field and wins $7.683 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
- 2017: He wins his second WSOP gold bracelet in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em event for $311,817.
- 2020: He wins his third WSOP gold bracelet after finishing first in the $3,200 No Limit Hold’em High Roller online WSOP event for $352,985 on Natural8–GGNetwork.
– Joe McKeehen’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
According to his parents, who spoke to CBS news for a profile piece about their new WSOP Main Event champion son, the young Joe McKeehen was obsessed with numbers as a child. He would even go around the neighborhood with his father, looking for specific numbers on houses.
His passion for numerals first was channeled into board games. In 2010, he won the world championship for a game called Risk. He also went to college. He graduated from Arcadia University with a degree in – what else – Mathematics.
McKeehen found poker in his teenage years, during the years of the Moneymaker boom. Given his love for math and numbers, as well as his competitive personality, it’s no wonder the game appealed to him. He even played underaged online – and he was winning from the start. He could finally start playing live tournaments as well once he reached the legal gambling age of 18.
After getting his college degree, he went on to pursue playing cards for a living. When he announced his plans in front of the other students in a college class, many of them found it rather amusing. However, they were even more surprised when the news came that their former classmate won the WSOP Main Event…
→ Live Tournaments ←
McKeehen has cashed for over $17.154 million in live tournaments, according to his Hendon page. That makes him the second most successful live tournament player from Pennsylvania, only behind Jake Schindler.
McKeehen has cashed in 183 live events during his career, over the course of 11 years.
The first recorded score on his profile is from August 2010. He finished 16th in the $2,500 Main Event at the PokerStars.net Empire State Hold ‘Em Championships in Verona, NY for $4,100. The first time he made a 6-figure cash was at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas in 2012. He won the $2,000 NLHE Event for $116,230.
Evidently, all his largest scores come from after his 2015 WSOP Main Event victory – that $7 million can really boost a player’s bankroll.
In January 2016, he came in 4th in the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em event at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $249,267. In April 2019, he finished 3rd in the $25K High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and pocketed no less than $305,665.
His biggest score aside from his Main Event victory is from January 2016. He came in 2nd in the $100,000 Super High Roller at the PCA for $1.221 million.
In March 2021, he made a runner-up finish in the $5,000 WPT Venetian Main Event for $491,960. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to Qing Liu.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
McKeehen has won three WSOP gold bracelets so far.
His greatest achievement on the felt is winning the WSOP Main Event in 2015. He was one of the 6,420 entrants and went all the way, eventually beating Joshua Beckley heads-up for the title. McKeehen won poker’s most coveted title along with the $7.683 million first prize.
His second bracelet victory is from 2017. He took down the $10,000 Limit Hold’em event for $311,817.
In 2020, when, all World Series events had to be played online due to the coronavirus outbreak, he won the $3,200 No Limit Hold’em High Roller for $352,985.
However, he had plenty of major World Series scores apart from his bracelet winning events as well.
It seems McKeehan can really do well in a large field. In 2014, he came in 2nd for $820,863 in the $1,500 No Limit Holdem MONSTER STACK event, which had a field of 7,862 players. In 2018, he finished 3rd in the $1,500 MILLIONAIRE MAKER (7,361 entrants) for $538,276.
As for the high rollers, he has a 6th place finish in the $111,111 One Drop for $829,792 from 2016.
Overall, McKeehen has cashed in 26 World Series events for a combined $10,860,366 in total.
→ Live Cash Games ←
McKeehen has appeared on an episode of season 4 of Poker Night in America, which aired in April 2016 on CBS Sports.
On the show, he played $25/$50 No Limit Hold’em cash against players like Shaun Deeb, Mike Dentale and Bert Hanson.
He also played in one of Live at the Bike’s live streamed cash games in April 2018. The stakes were $25/$50 again, the game was No Limit Hold’em. The table featured reigning WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein at the time.
In the game, McKeehen got into a real bad cooler against a recreational player. McKeehen turned the nut straight with the nut flash re-draw to go along with – however, his opponent managed to make a straight flush on the river…
→ Online Poker ←
As we wrote earlier, McKeehen started off as an online poker player, even before he reached the legal gambling age.
He played under the screen name “dude904” on PokerStars and the now defunct poker site Full Tilt. His earliest recorded cash on his PocketFives profile is from August 2006 – he was only 15 years old then. He came 51st place in a $162 NLHE tourney on Stars for $234.
His biggest score online is from December 2010, when he topped a 1,624-player field in a $150 on Full Tilt and won $52,374.
Overall, McKeehen has cashed for $1.174 million in online MTT’s during his career. However, he hasn’t made an online cash since April 2011.
In 2020, he won an online bracelet on WSOP.com under a new alias, “fanofdapoker”. He took down the $3,200 NLHE High Roller event for $352,985.
→ Scandals ←
Criticism of his poker coaching gig
Joe McKeehen is not the most popular figure in poker.
This became apparent in November 2017, when Chip Leader Coaching announced on Twitter that their customers would be able to buy poker lessons from the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion. The responses were most uncomplimentary about McKeehen.
— Chip Leader Coaching (@ChipLDR) November 9, 2017
A common insult thrown his way is that he “looks like he smells bad” or “looks like he needs a shower”. It seems some people find it disrespectful the way McKeehen presents himself at highly publicized poker events. The frizzy hair, scruffy beard and sports gear aren’t appealing to some people.
Another criticism he tends to get is that he didn’t deserve his Main Event title. Some label him a “luckbox”. They feel he was running extremely good in the tournament and isn’t actually that good of a poker player. However, while it is undeniable that McKeehen ran very good during his ME victory, he also didn’t make any major blunders and played solid throughout the event.
Also, he’s not the only player to get the “luckbox” treatment – these critiques from people on the internet may just be coming from the jealousy of online trolls.