LAS VEGAS (21 June 2017) – Pennsylvania's Joe McKeehan, winner of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, captured his second WSOP gold bracelet Wednesday evening by taking down Event #38 of the 2017 WSOP, the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship.
McKeehen seized the lead during three-handed play after grinding upward on the leaderboard through most of the final day's action, starting the day near the bottom of the counts. McKeehen closed out the win by finishing off Houston's Jared Talarico.
This event's $311,817 first-place prize was the fourth-largest of McKeehen's WSOP career and swelled those career earnings to $10,116,337, moving him into ninth on that list. McKeehen also has won two WSOP Circuit rings to accompany his two bracelets.
McKeehen entered heads-up play with a small lead over Talarico but closed out the win with relative speed. McKeehen's extended run lasted most of Day 3, after he started the day with less than 100,000 chips and was 14th of 15 surviving Day 3 players.
Talarico's near miss here was his second-runner up showing at the WSOP in as many years. Talarico, from Houston, specializes in limit and mixed-games events, and he was the runner-up in the WSOP's $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. His strong showing here was worth $192,717.
Third place went to Toronto, Canada's Sorel Mizzi. Mizzi earned $135,985 for his effort here. Mizzi's run ended when he shoved the last of his chips in from the small blind, holding A-Q. Talarico called from the big blind with , and had made a winning flush on the turn as the board ran out .
McKeehen held roughly a 5:3 edge in chips as the duel for the title began, and his day-long run of hot cards continued. McKeehen took down most of the pots, though Talaric survived his first all-in showdown. That didn't occur a second time. Talarico was soon forced to push in his lst chips holding a meager . McKeehen called blind and opened , which held up as the board ran out .
McKeehen talked about his great final-day run. "I won a few hands right off the bat. It's limit hold'em. You can get really short, but if you win some hands, you'll have all the chips again. I just won all the hands at the beginning of the day. I had a great run."
There may not be many experiences that compare with winning a WSOP Main Event, but McKeehen wasn't complaining. "It felt good!" he offered. "I like this game! This game's fun."
McKeehen also had compliments for Talarico, the last foe between McKeehen and a second bracelet win. "He played really good, he played aggressive. He's tough. I started making a lot of good hands in heads-up, and a lot of my bets were getting through."
McKeehan's road from next-to-lowest to first on Day 3 ran over some of the game's best players, too. As he noted, "It's a $10,000 tournament. Here, they're all going to be really tough at the end. All the good players come out for them."
Day 3 in the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship began with 15 players in the running, though that number was quickly pared with six eliminations in the first two levels. Among those hitting the rail early were prior multiple-bracelet winners Daniel Negreanu, Ian Johns, and Shaun Deeb. Tom McCormick's exit in 10th set the official nine-handed final table, with JC Tran expanding at that point on his start-of-day lead.
Aaron Sacks finished in ninth place when his pocket kings were beat on the river by Terrence Chan's A-K, with Chan finding a needed jack to fill a Broadway straight. Chan, though, was next to fall, when his was outrun by Mizzi's on a board. Mizzi himself was short on chips at this point, but he'd soon triple up to kick off an extended surge.
Seventh place instead went to Ray Henson, who three-bet Robert Campbell pre-flop while holding , then pushed the last of his chips in after a Henson call and a flop. Henson called again and showed his , and his pair of kings stayed ahead as the turn and river blanked.
Campbell, though, was eliminated in sixth after grinding his own short stack through much of the day's play. Campbell got all his chips in before the flop with and faced Ben Yu's . Campbell moved ahead on the flop and stayed there through the turn, but the river gave Yu the better pair and the knockout.
What started out as a great day for JC Tran went the other way during the middle stages of the final table, and he was eventually sent to the cashier's window in fifth. Tran's late downturn ended when he pushed the last of his chips in with K-7, but couldn't overtake Mizzi's A-2 on a dry board.
“BYU” Yu's pursuit of a second bracelet in the 2017 WSOP ended in fourth place here, when he went all in pre-flop with . Mizzi claimed this knockout, catching a queen on the flop to go with his . Mizzi was in second place as three-handed play began, trailing Talarico, who dragged big pots throughout the final table without being involved in any elimination hands. McKeehen at that moment wasn't far off the pace in third.
Three-handed action found McKeehen continuing his surge and Talarico holding his own, which left Mizzi's stack waning. Mizzi's run ended in the hand where Talarico rivered the seven, setting the table for heads-up play.
This year's $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship drew 20 entrants, building a total prize pool of $1,128,000. 18 players cashed in this event.
Among the other well-known players cashing in Event #38 were Ian Johns (11th), Shaun Deeb (12th), Daniel Negreanu (13th), Jon Turner (14th), Phil Hellmuth (16th), and Robert Mizrachi (17th). Hellmuth's cash was the 125th of his career, while Negreanu's cash was his 101st.
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Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Joe McKeehen, $311,817 (146.0)
2nd: Jared Talarico, $192,717 (124.4)
3rd: Sorel Mizzi, $135,985 (110.7)
9th: Aaron Sacks, $26,000 (63.8)