Joe McKeehen Beasts His Way to Victory in U.S. Poker Open Event #3

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Joe McKeehen turned his first US Poker Open cash into a USPO title on Sunday night in Las Vegas (PokerGO photo)

When the final table of Event #3 ($10,000 NLHE) of the 2021 U.S. Poker Open began, Joe McKeehen was sitting pretty atop the chip counts. A little over two hours later, McKeehen was posing for winner photos after adding another title to his already impressive career resume after dominating the final table from start to finish.

It took more than 38 minutes for McKeehen to find his first victim. With blinds of 40,000/80,000 (80,000 BBA), Barry Hutter raised to raised to 400,000 with JdTh leaving himself 160,000 behind. McKeehen woke up with KcKs in the cutoff and he called. The flop came Js6d2h, Hutter bet his last 160,000 and McKeehen called. The 7c turn and 6s river failed to save Hutter and he was eliminated in seventh place.

That hand pushed McKeehen to 3,000,000 in chips and just over 20 minutes later the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion sent another player home. With just less than five big blind ins his stack, Justin Saliba moved all in from the small blind for 370,000 with Kh5h. McKeehen called with Jh9c and then failed to connect on the Ts3c3d flop. He did however make second pair after the 9s turn. Saliba was unable to pick up one of his three outs after the 3h completed the board and was finished in sixth.

Just over 30 minutes later, McKeehen was a spectator in the next elimination. Blinds were 50,000/100,000 (100,000 BBA), Jake Schindler raised to 590,000 with Jd9d. Ali Imsirovic raised to 800,000 with AcTs and Schindler called all in. The board ran out 7c4h3d7hKd to give Imsirovic the pot and send Schindler to the rail in fifth place.

McKeehen needed just another 20 minutes to finish off the rest of the table. He started with the oldest player at the final table, Steve Zolotow. McKeehen opened to 200,000 with Kd8h before the 76-year-old Zolotow moved all in from the small blind for 295,000 with 9d5d. McKeehen called the addtion 95,000. The KhJc6s flop gave McKeehen a firm grasp on the hand. The Ks turn made it official and after the Qh completed the board, Zolotow was eliminated in fourth. Zolotow now has two USPO final tables this year, after his fifth place finish in the opening event.

With three players remaining, Ray Qartomy was the shortest stack with 12 big blinds when a clash between the two biggest stacks went down. Qartomy folded his button and Imsirovic called with 8d7d. McKeehen raised to 350,000 with AcTd and Imsirovic opted to call. The Ks9h6d flop gave Imsirovic an open-ender and he checked to McKeehen and he checked back. The Tc turn completed Imisrovic’s draw and he bet 450,000. McKeehen called. The Qh turn completed the baord. Imsirovic bet 170,000, leaving 1,300,000 behind. McKeehen used a single time bank before raising to 925,000. Imsirovic considered his options before folding and letting McKeehen scoop the 2,795,000 pot.

Eight minutes later, McKeehen ended the tournament in dramatic fashion by scoring a double knockout. With Imsirovic down to just 75,000, the 2018 Global Poker Awards Breakout Player of the Year moved all in with Tc6h. From the small blind, McKeehen raised to 325,000 with JdJh. Qartomy moved all in for 2,070,000 with 5d5s and McKeehen called instantly. The AsJc2s flop gave McKeehen middle set and the other two in desperate need of some runner-runner help. The Js turn ended all of that and the tournament as McKeehen made quads. The meaningless Ts completed the board and gave McKeehen his first U.S. Poker Open title for a $200,200 score.

Along with his WSOP Main Event and the U.S. Poker Open title, McKeehen also has two other WSOP bracelets, three WSOP Circuit rings, and more than $17.5 million in lifetime earnings.

The next USPO final table is Monday when Alex Foxen, Sean Perry, and Imsirovic will be battling at the final table of Event #4 ($10,000 Big Bet Mix) for $163,200 and the title.

USPO Event #3 ($10,000 NLHE) Final Table Payouts

  1. Joe McKeehen – $200,200
  2. Ray Qartomy – $146,300
  3. Ali Imsirovic – $100,100
  4. Steve Zolotow – $77,000
  5. Jake Schindler – $61,600
  6. Justin Saliba – $46,200
  7. Barry Hutter – $38,500