Ever since the World Series of Poker (WSOP) adopted the November Nine format for the final table of its main event in 2008, the finalists have been in the habit of taking part in live poker tournaments in the months before the WSOP Main Event final table to sharpen their skills.
Some of them have succeeded in making deep runs into live poker tournaments. For example, poker pro Ivan Demidov finished in the third position in the WSOP Europe Main Event before emerging as the runner up of the WSOP Main Event final table in 2008. Both Steven Begleiter and Kevin Schaffel reached the final table of the main event of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker a month after they reached the final table of the main event of WSOP 2009.
Somehow the tradition has been maintained. Joseph McKeehen, the chip leader of the WSOP 2015 Main Event took part in the $1,600 buy-in, $300,000 guaranteed Wynn Fall Poker Classic early this week. He beat an impressive field of 267 players and defeated Seth Berger in the heads-up match before winning the championship title. He got to take home a large first-place prize of $90,125 and 432 Card Player Player of the Year (POY) Points.
McKeehen will be playing the final table of the WSOP 2015 Main Event with a stack of 64,100,000 or 158 big blinds. The final table play will begin with 200,000 – 400,000 limits and a 50,000 ante. McKeehen became the chip leader when the final table of nine players was just set. Daniel Negreanu, one of the biggest poker stars in the world, finished 11th, but he was close to grabbing 32.76% of the total number of chips in play, more than any other WSOP Main Event chip leader so far.
It is also worth noting that Dennis Phillips, the November Niner of WSOP 2008, was also at the final table of the Wynn tournament, in which McKeehen emerged as the champion. Phillips, who had finished in the third place in the WSOP 2008 Main Event and taken home a prize of $4,517,773, finished in the fourth place in the Wynn tournament.
The runner-up Seth Berger took home $60,992. The players who finished third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth were Jeffrey Roberson ($38,849), Dennis Phillips ($27,194), David Levi ($19,813), Hani Awad ($15,539), Sean Burson ($13,403), Guiseppe Pantaleo ($11,460), and Joey Weissman ($9,712), respectively.