Sam Taylor won the $1 million guaranteed Borgata Spring Poker Open $2,500 Championship for $390,103 in the early hours of Friday, topping a field of 670 for his career-best cash, which pushed him up to almost $1.2 million in total winnings.
Taylor had to defeat an extremely tough final table that featured John Racener, Kane Kalas and 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, who finished in third for $138,104.
It's McKeehen's eighth score of at least six figures in which he claimed the title of poker's world champion, including a fourth-place finish in last year's WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for almost $250,000.
Official Final Table Results
The tournament easily surpassed the guarantee, generating a prize pool of $1,675,000. Some players among the 63 who cashed included Matt Stout, James Calderaro, Johanssy Joseph, Sam Panzica, Mukul Pahuja and Will Failla, who just missed the final table in 13th place.
McKeehen was the player making the first big move at the final table, according to the live updates. With Erick But and Kalas moving all in ahead of him, McKeehen looked down to see two aces in the small blind and put both players at risk. They had and , respectively, and a board of made McKeehen sweat but gave him a double elimination and the chip lead.
Another former November Niner was next out, though it took a while for it to happen. Eventually, Racener stuck his last 16 big blinds in with ace-jack, only to lose a race to the pocket tens of Wade Meacham.
After Ricky Guan, who started the final table as chip leader, went down in sixth, Taylor got lucky for a huge double. He four-bet all in with but Simon Lam looked him up with ace-king. The flop was clean for Lam, but a four hit the turn to give Taylor a double up to almost 6 million at 50,000/100,000/10,000.
If one beat deserves another, Lam got it back soon after to send Eric Fields out fifth. He shoved over a McKeehen button open with and had Fields pick up behind him. The flop gave Lam a flush draw, but it was a river nine giving him the pot and taking all but the last few crumbs of Fields, who busted in short order.
Meacham and Taylor then got in a huge flip for a pot worth over 70 big blinds. Meacham held tens and Taylor, . A king-high flop gave Taylor command of the hand and the tournament, since he had over 100 big blinds heading into three-handed play.
Taylor's next victim was the former world champ, who shoved over Taylor's raise with and found himself racing against . Neither player hit anything on the community, so McKeehen was out the door in third and Taylor went into heads up with almost a 3-1 lead against Lam.
In a battle that played out over two-plus hours, Lam came back and took the chip lead, only to lose it. In the final hand, Lam defended his big blind from a min-raise at 100,000/200,000/25,000 and the two saw flop. Lam checked and called 400,000. On the turn, Lam fired out 600,000 and Taylor called. The river was a and Lam moved all in for 3.25 million.
Taylor tanked a couple of minutes and called, and Lam simply mucked his hand with a "good call." Taylor showed for just ace-high, but the hero call proved to be a title winner.
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