Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 WSOP November Nine, Day 3: Kudos to Joe Cool

Don’t have a heckuva lot to add to last night’s finale at the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event where Joe McKeehen took care of things with little difficulty. Definitely enjoyed the show last night, although I’ll admit I was a little confused by ESPN’s “What to Look For” tips once they got to heads-up (wink).

Tomorrow I’ll share some nerdy stuff regarding the hands shown during the three nights’ worth of shows, but for today I just wanted to share one quick thought.

I was frankly pulling for McKeehen to win even back in July when Daniel Negreanu was still among those left in the sucker. It goes back to that WSOP Circuit event I covered in early 2013 in which McKeehen similarly entered the final day with the big chip lead and cruised to victory without much resistance, at the time the biggest cash for the Philadelphian.

From that event (at Caesars Atlantic City) I remembered a few things about McKeehen. One was the fact that he had an iPad at the table and was following our coverage, occasionally interacting with us as he reacted to some of the hands being reported. I remember getting the sense that he enjoyed especially whenever we’d include table talk or other details that went beyond the cards (in other words, the stuff I, too, tend to find more interesting a lot of the time).

I also recall how he arrived early for the last day, the first of the 19 players still left in the event to show up. As we didn’t have a photographer for the tournament, I got him to pose for a quick iPhone photo for us to use in the blog. He also did kind of a mock-muscle pose in his winner’s photo, I’m remembering, which produced some grins.

The main thing, though, that I remember about the tournament was how McKeehen seemed not just in control and especially cool at the table, but also how amiable he was with players who were clearly less confident and/or experienced. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was something positive about the guy I ended up taking away from the event.

Watching three-handed last night -- and also some the night before -- you could occasionally see McKeehen being similarly friendly with Blumenfield sitting on his left, and really with everyone. Those exchanges reminded me of how I’d first encountered McKeehen, and like I say made me glad to see him do well this summer and then take it all down this week.

Saw just a few truly dumb responses over Twitter last night to McKeehen’s win and his short post-tourney interview (including a burst of bitter, embarrassingly unfunny heckling from the mostly dormant Wicked Chops Poker account). When asked about being poker’s “ambassador,” McKeehen very reasonably responded “we’ll see,” which to me went right along with his matter-of-fact demeanor and playing style.

All of which is to say I was glad to see McKeehen win, thought Josh Beckley and Blumenfield were pretty likable, too, and on the whole was both entertained, enthused, and even encouraged by the WSOP’s finale.

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