Back in August, we reported that two California natives made the November Nine of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event. Max Steinberg and Neil Blumenfield both came to the final table on November 8th ready to play and both played well at the final table. One of the two would make the final day of play and inspire a generation of poker players.
Steinberg Finishes Fourth – Ran Cold During Event
Oakland native Max Steinberg came into the November Nine fifth in chips with 20.2 million. The first day of action saw very little movement from Steinberg as the two short stacks tried desperately to survive.
Patrick Chan went out on the second hand of play and Federico Butteroni folded his way to 8th place. After an unlikely downward spiral by Pierre Neuville, Steinberg managed to make Day 2 with 16 million.
On the second hand of play on Day 2, Steinberg eliminated Tom Cannuli when his pocket tens outflopped Cannuli’s pocket aces. This gave Steinberg new life early on but that was the only thing he really got going all day. Ultimately, he fell in fourth place and took home $2.61 million.
While Steinberg didn’t win the bracelet, his profit margin was insane on the Main Event. He won his entry into the tournament on the Daily Fantasy Sports site DraftKings for just $27. This made his Main Event score pure profit. That is before the IRS got their cut of course.
Blumenfield Surprises With Third Place Finish
Heading into the November Nine, many felt that San Francisco’s Neil Blumenfield had two things preventing him from performing well. First, he was 61. Only three senior citizens had ever made the November Nine and none were very competitive. The other was the Blumenfield was a rank amateur.
Most figured that Blumenfield would be outclassed and would be eliminated somewhere around 6th or 7th. Well someone forgot to tell this to Blumenfield. He came into Day 1 of the November Nine and played one of the most impressive games in recent memory to go from fifth chip position to third place after Day 1.
Blumenfield admitted that he didn’t play his best game on Day 2 of the November Nine, but he still managed to pick up some chips and move up to second chip position with three players remaining in the November Nine.
Day 3 presented a different challenge for Blumenfield. Joe McKeehen had over 66% of the chips heading into the final day and his other opponent, Josh Beckley, was a skilled pro that was playing well.
Blumenfield was unable to get anything going on the final day and McKeehen was being smacked in the face with the deck as exhibited by Blumenfield’s elimination hand. Blumenfield found pocket deuces as the short stack and shoved, only to find McKeehen wake up with pocket queens. The queens held and Blumenfield was out in third place.
Blumenfield didn’t win the bracelet, but he did take home $3.39 million. More importantly, he showed the amateurs of the world and especially senior citizens that everyone has a shot to perform well in the Main Event under the right circumstances.
McKeehen Becomes Just the Second Wire-to-Wire November Nine Winner
Ultimately, Joe McKeehen defeated Josh Beckley heads-up for the 2015 WSOP Main Event title and $7.8 million. McKeehen ran hot on the final day and nobody could come close to catching him.
This is just the second time since the creation of the November Nine that the chip leader has been able to win it all. For the next year, Joe McKeehen is the world champion of poker. The question now is whether he will embrace the role of ambassador or take his money and run.