The first day of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event final table took place on Sunday, with the November Nine returning to the Penn & Teller Theatre inside the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The bunch played down to six players, and Joe McKeehen could do no wrong, extending his chip lead and finished out the day with over 91 million in his stack.
There were 72 hands played on Sunday. During that batch, three players were eliminated. Patrick Chan was the first to go on Hand #2, Federico Butteroni was next to the payout desk on Hand #35, and Pierre Neuville busted on Hand #72 to finish play for the evening. All three eliminations were handled by McKeehen.
While McKeehen handled sending the first three players to the rail, was he actually the most aggressive player on Sunday? Thanks to the live coverage team at WSOP.com, we're able to look back at every one of the first 72 hands to find out. Here are the stats:
|Player||Hands Dealt||VPIP||PFR||PF 3-Bet||PF 4-Bet||PF 5-Bet||Walks|
As you can see, McKeehen voluntarily put money into the pot more times than anyone else at the table, and he also had the most preflop raises as you could expect from such a commanding chip leader. He wasn't the most often three-bettor, though. That title belonged to Neil Blumenfield, who three-bet six of the 20 times he entered a pot. McKeehen's first three-bet wasn't until the 19th hand of play, whereas Blumenfield got started early, three-betting three hands in a row on the third, fourth, and fifth hands. He won all of those, and also raised to take the blinds and antes on the sixth hand of play.
Additionally, Blumenfield was both the first person to four-bet and five-bet.
Josh Beckley waited until the 10th hand to get involved, but won two in a row, and Thomas Cannuli waited until the 16th hand to get involved. With Cannuli, he first got involved by calling a raise out of the big blind from Pierre Neuville, who was in the cutoff seat. It's interesting to note that Cannuli's second hand played was on Hand #32, again calling a raise from Neuville out of the big blind.
Cannuli's first raise was on Hand #36.
As anticipated, Butteroni was very snug early. Butteroni's first hand played was the 21st hand when he moved all in from the cutoff seat. His shove went uncalled. The second hand Butteroni was played was also his last, coming on Hand #35.
Including all-in pots, there were 10 showdowns. One of those resulted in a chopped pot, but other than that it was McKeehen winning when the hands were revealed. Including the all-in pots he won the bust the first three players, McKeehen won six showdowns. Only Ofer Zvi Stern, Blumenfield, and Cannuli won others, with each winning one.
McKeehen did not lose a single hand he went to showdown with. The hands that McKeehen showed down were the , , , , , and .
Of the 72 hands dealt, three of those were all-in preflop showdowns and 45 of the other 69 were hands that didn't make it to a flop. Of those 45 hands that didn't see a flop, 23 were won with a single preflop raise.
Now, we all know McKeehen started with a extremely large chip lead — the largest in the history of the final table — but was he the biggest beneficiary of an upward trend on Sunday? Let's see.
|Player||Chips at Start of FT||Chips at End of Day 1||% Change|
As you can see, McKeehen added the most chips based off what his stack was to start the final table, but Blumenfield had an equally impressive showing, albeit with less chips. Blumenfield was very active and aggressive on Sunday and his position benefited from it, as he improved his stack with a 43.18-percent increase to finish neck in neck with Stern.
Looking at the stacks movements of the top three players heading into Monday — McKeehen, Stern, and Blumenfield — when compared to the bottom three — Max Steinberg, Beckley, and Cannuli — it appears that aggression and willingness to get involved pays. The top three put money into the pot on the most occasions and raised the most preflop. The bottom three of the remaining six were much more selective with their play.
Heading into Monday, the final six are guaranteed $1.426 million with the first pay jump being worth an additional $485,140. This is certainly when the jumps in the pay scale get more and more important, and we'll see how that affects play, as they're only going to grow.
It also looks as though this is clearly McKeehen's tournament to lose. Whether or not he'll run out the wire-to-wire victory is left to be seen, but as it stands right now, it's going to take one heck of a performance from someone else in the field to overcome him.
The second day of play will take place starting at 4:30 p.m. PT, with the plan to play from six players down to the final three. Stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage of the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table.