WSOP Main Event Champ Joe McKeehen Wins First Philadelphia Poker Championship

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The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion is $94K richer after winning the inaugural Philadelphia Poker Championship at Rivers Casino this weekend. Joe McKeehen, who grew up just outside of Philadelphia, won the $2,200 $250K guaranteed event, which was the largest buy-in tournament in the casino’s short history.

Joe McKeehen
Joe McKeehen, the 2015 Main Event Champ, took down the inaugural Philadelphia Poker Championship in his hometown. (Image: Rivers Casino)

The headliner brought in 187 entries, some of which came from five $240 satellites that awarded packages. McKeehen hasn’t slowed down since he won $7.6 million in the Main Event in 2015, and will most likely surpass the $20 million in lifetime tournament winning’s mark this year.

He continued his hot January by cashing in back-to-back events at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida for nearly $90K — a $67K payday for sixth place in the $25K high-rollers event, and $25K for a 25th place finished in a $3,500 event the next day.

The self-described professional mind-sports player started the year with his biggest cash since 2021, a $440K payday for finishing third at $5,300 buy-in event at The Return: Borgata in January. He won his fourth ring online last May, and along with his Main Event bracelet, owns two more: His second was won in the $10K limit championship in 2017 ($311K), and his third came online in a $3,200 in 2020 held internationally on GGPoker ($353K).

In WSOP events, he has cashed 77 times for more than $11 million. He’s made 22 final tables since 2012.

The Philadelphia Poker Championship Series final event, a $560 buy-in mystery bounty with a $200K guaranteed prize pool, begins tomorrow (March 8) with the first of five starting days. Day 2 begins March 2. See the schedule for more details.

East cost tournament poker slowly waking up

The series at the Borgata in January marked a return for big buy-in events that could be easily accessed by players living in the Northeast United States. It’s a trend players living in the area hope to see continue. At least they should expect to see more big buy-in events at Rivers casinos in Philadelphia and Maryland.

The WSOP brings it’s circus to Turning Stone Casino and Resort in upstate New York next week, the first time it’s been in that neck of the woods since pre-COVID. A $25K guaranteed $400 buy-in event kicks-off the series March 16.

The first of three starting days of the $1,700 main begins March 23. Day 2 is March 26. A $1,100 buy-in $50K guaranteed event takes place the same day, and the series closes with a $400 event a day later.

But outside of online series in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there isn’t much in the way of live events in the Northeast besides the weekly schedules in the casinos in Philly, Baltimore, and upstate New York.

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