Joseph McKeehen, the 24-year-old pro poker player from the Philadelphia suburb of North Wales, Pa., put on one of the most dominant performances in November Nine history, bringing to close the 46th annual World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas by pocketing a whopping $7.6 million.
It’s his first WSOP victory, and what a title it is, besting more than 6,400 players. “This is definitely the greatest accomplishment anyone can have in this game,” McKeehen after his win. “I was always confident I could make money playing the game professionally, but to get this really proves something.”
Josh Beckley was runner-up ($4.4M) followed by 61-year-old Neil Blumenthal ($3.3M).
Also, longtime popular pros Jennifer Harman and John Juanda were elected to the Poker Hall of Fame, becoming the 49th and 50th members. Juanda, 44, has five WSOP bracelets and more than $16M in tournament earnings while Harman, 50, has more than $2.5M in tournament earnings and two bracelets, but it’s her prowess at the world’s biggest cash games that makes her remarkable.
ORLEANS: The popular locals favorite on Tropicana Boulevard, two miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, is a worthwhile stop for visitors. If you don’t have a car, you can get there and back via a shuttle bus than runs every 45 minutes to and from the center of the Strip.If you don’t mind staying off the Strip, the hotel has some of the best room rates in town.
The poker room recently changed its tournament schedule and it’s not all no-limit hold’em.Mondays and Saturdays at noon is $75 Omaha/8. The same tournament runs Thursdays at 7.Wednesdays at noon is a $75 Omaha/8-stud/8 event.Tuesdays at 7 is $100 PLO while Sundays at 7 is a $100 HORSE tournament. All of these tournaments have 20-minute levels and 10K stacks.
There are two superstack turbo NLHE tournaments on the schedule: Mondays at 7 ($100) and Fridays at noon ($75).These tournaments have 15-minute levels and players start with 20K chips.
Bounty tournaments run Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7 for $125 ($25 bounty). Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon are $75 NLHE events.These also have 20-minute levels and 10K stacks.
The most popular regular NLHE tournament in town runs Friday at 7 p.m. ($125, 12,500 chips, 30-minute levels).
A nice variety of cash games are always available.No-limit players enjoy the $1-$3 game with a $100 minimum and a $500 maximum.During busier times, you can find a $2-$5 game ($200-$500 min-max). Multiple limit hold’em and Omaha/8 games are available, too.
Hold’em and Omaha games have progressive bad-beat jackpots. Promos change monthly, so ask about them.Recent promos have included high hands of the hour, big bonuses for high hands during certain hours, cash rewards for playing the most hours during a month and cash drawings.
MIRAGE: Daily tournaments have been added at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. to join the 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. tournaments. Most days these have a $65 buy-in for 10K chips with 20-minute levels.
“The Stack” tournament has been a popular Saturday fixture for years and is running on Fridays and Sundays, too.
It starts at 11 a.m. and offers players a 25K starting stack with 25-minute levels.The regular 7 p.m. tournaments on Fridays and Saturdays are now $100 events.Both nights the starting stack is 15K, and on Friday there’s a $25 bounty. Levels are 20 minutes.
Promos for the cash games include a bad-beat jackpot, high hands ($100 for quads, $200 for straight flushes, $500 for royals) and $75 for Aces Cracked (8 a.m.-2 p.m.).The most popular cash games are $1-$2 NLHE ($100-$300 min-max) and a $3-$6 limit game with a $30 minimum buy-in.
SUNCOAST: The locals room in Summerlin has started spreading a big cash game.It starts every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and is $2-$5 NLHE.The game has a mandatory button straddle and the buy-in is $500 minimum and $3K maximum.
HARRAH’S: The mid-Strip room is running a $10-$20 HORSE game Tuesday nights at 6. Added to the traditional HORSE mix is deauce-to-seven triple-draw. The game is being dubbed “HorseT.” The stud games have a $1 ante, a $3 bring-in and a $10 completion. The minimum buy-in is $100. After just a few weeks, it’s filling up with a healthy wait list.
VENETIAN: Berzad Teranie of California won the $1,600 Deep Stack Main Event for $66K.He outlasted Anuj Agarwal ($60K), also from California, and Nemesio Alegado of Illinois ($53K).The prize pool was $420K with nearly 290 entries.
The Winter Weekend Extravaganza will be Dec. 9-13. The highlight is a $250 event with three starting days beginning Dec. 10.
It offers a $100K guarantee. Single-day tournaments between $125 and $200 are scheduled and all events have guarantees.
New Year’s Extravaganza returns as well.It runs Dec. 25-Jan. 10.That’s a bit longer than past New Year’s events.The big event is a $400 tournament that’s part of the River Card tour and has a $150K guarantee.
The two starting dates are Jan. 1 and 2.There’s also a three-starting-flight $250 event that starts Dec. 27 with a $100K guarantee. On Jan. 6, a four-starting-flight $250 tournament features a $150K guarantee.The other tournaments are single-day affairs priced between $125 and $300.Again, all events have guarantees.
WYNN: Pennsylvania’s Joseph McKeehen, just before winning WSOP main event at the November Nine, took down the championship event of the Wynn Fall Classic, earning $90K.Seth Berger of New York earned $60K for second and Jeff Roberson of Nevada won $38K for third. The $1,600 buy-in had more than 260 entrants and a $388K prize pool.
BELLAGIO: The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic runs Dec. 4-20. The $10,400 main event begins Dec. 14 and runs to Dec. 19. If that isn’t a big enough buy-in for you, you can enter the $100K Alpha 8 event Dec.18.
Other events include a $10,400 PLO tournament Dec. 10 and a pair of two-day seniors events, one priced at $1,090 on Dec. 7 and one at $1,600 on Dec. 10. NLHE events priced between $500 and $5,000 round out the schedule.
— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.
HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE WSOPC: Robert Georato won the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event, earning his third WSOPC ring and $153,505. This is the biggest tournament cash of Georato’s career. He’s a retired math teacher that plays poker professionally. It’s also the third time he has qualified for the Casino Global Championship. He beat nearly 480 players.
OCEAN’S ELEVEN: Daniel Schreiber topped a field of 379 players to win the World Poker Tour DeepStacks Main Event on Oct. 26 at Ocean’s Eleven Casino in Oceanside, Calif. He took home $65,447 and the trophy. He also earned a seat in the WPTDS championship event in Calgary in December.
The heads-up final was decided by a chip-chop, Schreiber held 4.395M chips, just topping the 4.135M of Jon McGowan when they agreed to chop. McGowan took home $64,746 for second place. He finished 356th at the World Series of Poker Main Event this year.
The final table was a short one, finishing in less than three hours. The rest of the final table fell as follows: Richard Metcalfe (third, $34,457);Steven Silverstein (fourth,$25,524); Michael Zucchet (fifth, $19,143); Peter Hengsakul(sixth, $15,314); Huy Nguyen (seventh, $12,762); Jason Singleton (eighth, $10,209).
BICYCLE CASINO: The property will become the Bicycle Hotel & Casino this month, opening its seven-story, 117,907-square-foot boutique luxury hotel Dec. 1. The hotel’s 99 rooms and suites will make poker tournaments that much more convenient and attractive to out-of-town players.
L.A. TOURNAMENT TRAIL: The WSOPC runs Dec. 3-15 at the Bike and the Hawaiian Gardens Classic is Dec. 11-20.
CHUMASH CASINO: The bad-beat jackpot has been renamed as the Perfect 10s Texas Hold’em Bad Beat Jackpot. The requirement is quad 10s beaten and always will be seeded with a minimum $1,500, increasing daily until hit.
The Saturday event is no longer a rebuy tournament and is instead a $120 buy-in with a $6,500 guarantee. The Wednesday 7 p.m. tournament is a $50 buy-in with a $1K guarantee. The Thursday 10 a.m. event is a $40 winner-take-all tournament. Be sure to call the room for more details.
CASINO M8TRIX: The San Jose room has added tournaments with payouts based on 60 players minimum. Tuesdays feature a $160 buy-in at 7 p.m. with a first prize of $2.5K. On Thursday, the buy-in jumps to $300 at 7 p.m. and a first prize of $5K. The newest tournament is a $200 Sunday event at 5 p.m. that pays $2.5K to first.
PARK WEST CASINO SONOMA: In Petaluma, the room formerly known as The 101 Caisno has great weekly tournaments with some deep structures. There’s a $140 Progressive Bounty event Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., a $100 event on Thursdays (6:30) and a $60 hold’em/Omaha event on Sundays (3:30). The poker room also has some great cash-game promotions, including extra tournament chips for playing live. Players earn an extra 1K tournament chips for bringing in any non-perishable food item to the casino.
STONES GAMBLING HALL: Promotions at the Citrus Heights property are in full swing. The $100 and $200 Rack Attacks run at 3, 4, 9, 10 p.m. and midnight. Also, $100 and $200 Aces Cracked runs from noon-1 p.m., 6-7 and 1-2 a.m. Players can earn double points by playing midnight-noon. Stones also offers wheel spins when you hit a royal flush where you can earn 1X, 2X or 3X your winning total.
TURLOCK POKER ROOM: Santa’s No-Limit Bounty is Dec. 13 at noon. The $100 event has a $5K guarantee as players receive 10K chips and 20-minute levels with some special bounties included. For every elf you knock out, you’ll receive $50 and if you knock out Santa, you’ll get $250. Santa will be playing for the Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus County in Modesto.
PETE’S 881 CLUB: This sports bar-restaurant has the only poker room in Marin County. On Mondays, there’s an $80 event with $20 rebuys at 6 p.m. The same event runs on Saturdays at noon. On Sunday at 4, a $120 buy-in event has $100 re-entries. The main tournament is the first Sunday of the month ($220, 20K chips, $100 unlimited re-entries before the first break).
Tulalip Casino’s new 12-table poker room will have its revamped “Poker Pow Wow” on Jan. 22-31, featuring a $520 main event with $10K added and three Day 1s.
All other tournaments also have added money or guarantees, so a good time will be had by all.
The opening event will be a good preview to the main, a $235 buy-in NLHE tourney with $5K added and a pair of Day 1s (Jan. 22-23) and a final Day 2 on Jan. 24.
For those who need practice before next summer’s Word Series of Poker, Jan. 25 will be a $150 pot-limit Omaha event with a $10K guarantee. The next day is a $225 seniors event with a $12K guarantee, which was won by Ante Up ambassador Jay Zeman last year so here’s your chance to knock him off his throne.
If you didn’t get enough PLO on Jan. 25, then Jan. 27 is a $235 PLO event with a $12K guarantee.
The main event begins the next day and runs till Jan. 31.
Tulalip is the fifth-largest poker room in the region. It routinely spreads NLHE games with $1-$3 and $3-$5 blinds and PLO games with $2-$2, $5-$5 and $5-$10-$25 blinds (subject to the Washington state-mandated $500 limit per bet, of course).
Meet Brysen Jansen
Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Wash., hired Brysen Jansen as poker room manager nearly two years ago. He came to poker the way many of us did, from the outside looking in at the beginning of the poker boom. In his case, this was literally the truth as he was dealing in the pit tables just outside the enclosed poker room at Muckleshoot, watched the increasing crowds pushing through the doors.
He switched to dealing poker and liked the more convivial atmosphere of the poker table vs. the more serious gambling going on in the pit. His biggest poker thrill was dealing the hand that hit a $272K bad-beat jackpot. Three years ago, the then-poker room manager took him under her wings as a floor supervisor. His strategy for the poker room is to get all the poker business in the area with superior customer service. He often takes dealers aside to discuss how the room can improve and he also makes great use of promotional money. — Jay Zeman