The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event resumed action on Monday evening in Las Vegas with the November Nine returning to play down to the final six competitors.
PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Las Vegas for the duration of the final table. As a part of our coverage, that is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" from each day of play.
Joe McKeehen's dominance in the 2015 WSOP Main Event has increased more and more the deeper the tournament gets. When he returns on Tuesday for the third day of the final table, his impressive stack of 128.825 million will be more than three times that of the man in second place, Neil Blumenfield. Both McKeehen and Blumenfield are sponsored by 888poker, making the following two hands fitting as the 888 Hands of the Day.
Blumenfield Busts Stern in Fifth Place
It was no secret that Blumenfield played one of the more aggressive and open styles of poker on Sunday. He continued some of the same on Monday, but it wasn't until Hand #121 of the final table that he truly helped his position, both by adding a chunk of chips to his stack and knocking out an opponent.
It was the 49th hand of the day with the blinds at 400,000/800,000/100,000, and Ofer Zvi Stern moved nearly all of his chips into the middle from the under-the-gun position. Blumenfield reraised all in from behind him, and then Stern called for the rest of his stack to put himself at risk. He had the , but was in rough shape against the for Blumenfield.
Thanks to a run out of , Stern was eliminated in fifth place and Blumenfield worked his way back into the thick of things.
McKeehen Knocks Out Steinberg To End the Day
Blumenfield's 888poker teammate, chip leader Joe McKeehen, was the man in charge of sending the next player to the rail and ending play for the evening. The blinds had moved up to 500,000/1,000,000/150,000, and it was on Hand #143 of the final table that Max Steinberg's tournament came to an end.
After McKeehen opened with a raise to 2 million from first position, Steinberg reraised all in for 16.5 million from the big blind. McKeehen quickly called with the , and it was another dominating position for the chip leader as Steinberg held the .
The board landed McKeehen the win and solidified the final three competitors.
It was these two hands that allowed McKeehen and Blumenfield to enter the third day of the final table with the most chips. The other part of the trio, Josh Beckley, bagged up 23.7 million, but this one is very much looking like it's going to be an 888poker duel for the most coveted gold bracelet in the game and $7.7 million.
McKeehen's masterful command of the final table and his continued hoarding of masses of chips was very much expected going in. After all, he entered the final table with the largest chip lead dating back to 2004. For Blumenfield, however, his play has been a welcomed surprise to all. The 61-year-old veteran of the software industry has exuded an outstanding table presence. He's certainly been playing the final table to win and will be McKeehen's stiffest competition on the final day. Plus, Blumenfield has direct position on the big chip leader, which could very much play into his hands.
Knowing Beckley has about half the chips he does, it'll be interesting to see how Blumenfield approaches Tuesday. Will he come out with the same aggressive style that's got him this far and helped him build up his stack? Will he sit back and wait, hoping McKeehen takes care of Beckley? Or could we see a Joseph Cheong-like explosion that gifts Beckley a seat in the heads-up finale? Only time will tell, and we'll see it all come to a head in a few hours.
As the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.
*Photo credit: 888poker