Joe McKeehen Wins $25K High Roller In Heads-Up Deal

2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard rock Hotel & Casino 

Hollywood, Florida 
Event 39 
$25,500 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller
$2,000,000 Guaranteed 
Entries: 91 
Prize Pool: $2,247,700
August 9-10, 2021

Joe McKeehen

Joe McKeehen added another title to his already lengthy poker resume on Tuesday evening at the Hollywood Hard Rock after taking down one of the largest buy-ins of the series.

The 2015 World Series of Poker main event champion bested a field of 91 entries in the $25,000 no-limit hold’em high roller event to earn $550,990 in a heads-up chop with four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias.

Over the course of his decade-long career as a poker pro, Tuesday’s victory was his 24th of his career. And in his words, it was a smooth ride to victory.

“I came in with a lot of chips and had a lot of hands early. I made some nice hands, won some pots and kind of just stayed afloat from that point on,” said McKeehen. “I got to three-handed and had some chips. I got a little lucky and that was that.”

McKeehen made his mark on the poker world with his WSOP main event win worth $7.68 million. Unlike several other main event champs, the Pennsylvania native has proven himself to be more than a one-hit wonder.

Since then, McKeehen has cemented himself as one of the best in the game and will play the highest stakes available if he’s at the tournament stop.

The victory is a continuation of his success from the summer. In June, McKeehen won the $10,000 no-limit hold’em at the U.S. Poker Open for $200,200 and then turned around two days later and finished third for $102,000 in another $10,000 U.S. Poker Open event. His latest six-figure score bumped his career live tournament earnings to more than $18 million.

“I love playing the high rollers here,” said McKeehen. “They get good turnouts usually and they’re good fields. They end in two days so the structure is pretty good. There’s a decent amount of play, but I also like the one-day ones as well. I just like to play. I play what’s offered.”

McKeehen came into the final table with 56 big blinds and the chip lead. He extended it as he eliminated Nadya Magnus in eighth, Joseph Cheong in sixth and Thomas Boivin in third.

After Boivin was eliminated in third, McKeehen was left heads-up with Darren Elias. The two were very close in chips, but agreed to a deal that saw McKeehen take home $550,990 and Elias $539,135.

PlaceFirst NameLast NamePrize Amount

*Reflects Heads-Up Deal

High Roller: Joe McKeehen Wins! ($550,990); Darren Elias Eliminated in 2nd Place ($539,135)

$25,500 High Roller (Re-Entry)
$2,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 21:  30,000/60,000 with a 60,000 ante
Players Remaining:  1 of 91

Joe McKeehen
Joe McKeehen

Darren Elias (4,870,000) and Joe McKeehen (4,230,000) agreed to a deal, giving each $539,135 and leaving $11,855 left to flip for.

On the first hand, Elias had Jc2c on the button against McKeehen’s 9h4h in the big blind. The board came 8dJh7h7c10d, giving McKeehen a jack-high straight to double up and take the lead.

On the second hand, McKeehen held Jc3d on the button against Elias’ 5c3c in the big blind. The board ran out Qd7d6s10hKh, no help to Elias, locking up the victory for McKeehen and a first-place payday of $550,990.

Elias finished runner-up for $539,135.

A recap of the event will be posted later tonight.

Darren Elias

High Roller: Thomas Boivin – 3rd Place ($285,460)

$25,500 High Roller (Re-Entry)
$2,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 21:  30,000/60,000 with a 60,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 91

Thomas Boivin

Joe McKeehen raised to 120,000 from the button, Thomas Boivin three-bet all in for 660,000 from the small blind and McKeehen called.

McKeehen: KhKd
Boivin: Ah8c

The board ran out 9cJd3h4sJc, no help to Boivin, ending his tournament in third place.

Joe McKeehen – 4,230,000 (71 bb)
Thomas Boivin – Eliminated in 3rd Place ($285,460)

High Roller: Jake Daniels – 4th Place ($197,800)

$25,500 High Roller (Re-Entry)
$2,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 21:  30,000/60,000 with a 60,000 ante
Players Remaining:  3 of 91

Jake Daniels
Jake Daniels

Darren Elias opened to 125,000 from the button and Jake Daniels moved all in from the small blind for around 900,000. Joe McKeehen folded his big blind and Elias called.

Elias: KsKc
Daniels: 3c3d

Daniels ran into a monster and the 7s6h5h2s8h board could not save his High Roller, going out in fourth place for $197,800.

Darren Elias – 4,225,000 (70 bb)
Jake Daniels – Eliminated in 4th Place ($197,800)

High Roller: Joe McKeehen Leads the Final Four at Break with 2.85 Million

$25,500 High Roller (Re-Entry)
$2,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 21:  30,000/60,000 with a 60,000 ante
Players Remaining:  4 of 91

Joe McKeehen
Joe McKeehen

The final four players returned from break to begin Level 21, with increased blinds of 30,000-60,000 and a big blind ante of 60,000. Here are the official chip counts, followed by the remaining payouts:

Seat 1.  Darren Elias  –  2,415,000  (40 bb)
Seat 2.  Jake Daniels  –  1,375,000  (23 bb)
Seat 3.  Joe McKeehen  –  2,845,000  (47 bb)
Seat 4.  Thomas Boivin  –  2,465,000  (41 bb)

1st:  $629,345 + SHRPO Trophy
2nd:  $460,780
3rd:  $285,460
4th:  $197,800