Joseph McKeehen enjoyed a dream day as a poker player on Sunday, rocketing up into the chip lead in the Main Event Championship, currently taking place at Caesars Atlantic City.
The poker player from North Wales, PA is on the verge of what could be his biggest career victory ever, should his momentum continue one more day, which will ultimately determine the next WSOP Circuit Main Event champion.
McKeehen ended Sunday's playing session with more than 1.9 million in chips. By contrast, his closest rival among the 18 other players (Raymond Morgan) currently stands at just shy of 1.3 million. McKeehen has all but three players in the field covered my more than a 2.5 to 1 margin. Indeed, all eyes will be on the young man who could very well take an important step up the ladder in prize money and prestige.
McKeehen has more than two dozen major cashes on his resume, including a $100K-plus victory at the PCA (Bahama's) in 2011. However, most of his cashes have been in relatively small events. Monday's final day undoubtedly will be the biggest test for McKeehen, especially in light of the opposition he's about to face.
Aside from Morgan who ranks second, Dennis Thurman is also going to be a force. He's currently at 1.2 million in chips.
Then, there's two-time gold ring winner Dave Fox, who currently ranks in fourth place. Fox won his second WSOP Circuit title four nights ago. He hopes to add to his jewelry collection and is undoubtedly going to be a challenge to the chip leader.
Among the remaining players, keep an eye on at least three battle-tested pros. First, John Holley is playing the best poker of his life at the moment. The duel gold ring winner from Florida is coming off the Casino Champion title won two months ago at Tunica. He's also posted final tables in each of the last two WSOP Circuit stops.
Another player to watch is Bob Panitch, from Chicago, another gold ring winner. He finished second to Christopher Leong three nights ago. Then, there's Allie Prescott the always-dangerous tournament pro from Memphis who's posted big-time results for the past ten years, including nearly $1 million in overall tournament earnings.
However, these rival all face challenges, as they are relatively low on chips compared to McKeehen and others.
While 19 players will return to action Monday at noon and will play to the winner, several other well-known players were not as fortunate.
Matt Glantz, one of the Philadelphia area's best poker players, busted out in 57th place. Christian Harder, with half-a-million in WSOP earnings, was eliminated in 35th place.
1 Joseph Mckeehen NORTH WALES, PA, US 1,904,000
2 Raymond Morgan NEW YORK, NY, US 1,257,000
3 Dennis Thurman FISK, MO, US 1,157,000
4 Dave Fox CORAM, NY, US 1,033,000
5 Gregory Masters KENOVA, WV, US 547,000
6 John Holley DESTIN, FL, US 514,000
7 Antonio Walker WILLINGBORO, NJ, US 495,000
8 Thomas Sheets NORFOLK, VA, US 466,000
9 Robert Panitch NORTHBROOK, IL, US 453,000
10 Gregory Burns NEW CANAAN, CT, US 378,000