A few months ago we sat by and watched as Joe McKeehen stormed through Event 3 of the Borgata Winter Poker Open, besting a field of 578 runners to take down top honors - along with $69,808 in prize money.
With nine events in the books thus far at the Borgata Spring Poker Open, the Pennsylvania native figured it was high time to return to the winner's circle. McKeehen triumphed over a field of 194 here today to add another title to his résumé, along with $33,873 in prize money to push his career earnings over the $900,000 plateau. And with another week or so of events on the schedule in this series, we wouldn't be surprised if he became a million dollar man sometime soon. After all, McKeehen simply owns Atlantic City, recording his most prestigious finishes in America's original Hold'em hotbed and cashing more than a dozen times in his brief career on the felt.
Those aren't simply min-cashes either. McKeehen has made an astounding seven final tables here in Atlantic City over less than two years of live play, proving that when he plays the game he loves, he plays to win. Those final table appearances have garnered the young McKeehen a World Series of Poker Circuit ring from the 2012-13 Caesars Atlantic City Main Event, as well as yet another Borgata seasonal series win from last November's Fall Poker Open. That makes it three consecutive Borgata Opens in which McKeehen has held up a trophy, which is great news for his parents Brent and Gina.
McKeehen jokingly told the table yesterday during Day 1 that he "wanted another trophy," before adding "my mom keeps them in her china cabinet." Gina should probably consider investing in a bigger china cabinet, because at this rate the trophy case will be running out of room by the time the leaves change.
After beginning Day 2 squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of chip count with 14 remaining, McKeehen went right to work climbing the leaderboard - courtesy of a hot deck that seemed to deal him aces every hand. After reaching the final table, McKeehen tried to get over on a made man in Attilio Bitondo, betting every street with queen-high looking to scare the octogenarian off the pot. Even after absorbing a head shot when Bitando called him down with a lowly pair of deuces, McKeehen showed the perseverance of a true pro, retaining his composure and forging ahead.
McKeehen went on a heater to eliminate Brian Correro in 5th place, before sending Steve Saklad to the rail in 4th place. From there, it was just a matter of time before the Broad Street Bully hoisted another trophy (something he hopes his beloved Philadelphia Flyers can accomplish this June), as McKeehen simply steamrolled through three-handed play.
Today's runner-up put up quite the fight though. Mike Sandler repeatedly clashed with McKeehen as the two essentially traded chip stacks over a series of all-in collisions. Sandler couldn't overcome the swings, however, and after the briefest of heads-up duels he succumbed to what seems to be inevitable at the Borgata: Joe McKeehen claiming every chip in play.