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Joseph McKeehen surges to lead after Day 4 of WSOP Main Event

Joe McKeehen of North Wales, Pa., was one of two players to surpass the 3 million mark in chips and led after Day 4 of the World Series of Poker’s $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship.

McKeehen won a pot late in the final level to eliminate 2008 Main Event final tablist Scott Montgomery and bagged 3.122 million chips when play ended early Sunday at the Rio Convention Center.

McKeehen, a two-time WSOP circuit ring winner and the runner-up in last year’s $1,500 buy-in “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ‘em event, was followed closely by Upeshka De Silva. The resident of Katy, Texas will have 3.067 million chips when play resumes at noon Sunday at the Rio with 237 players remaining out of the field of 6,420.

The tournament runs through Tuesday, and the nine remaining players return Nov. 8 at the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater for the final table.

The Main Event winner will receive $7.68 million.

Erasmus Morfe of Highlands Ranch, Colo., had 2.502 million and sits in third place, while professional poker player Brian Hastings continued to chip up and is fourth with 2.464 million. Hastings was one of two double-bracelet winners at this year’s World Series.

Thomas Cannuli of Cape May, N.J., with 2.271 million chips rounds out the top five.

Also remaining in the field is Las Vegas resident and poker pro Daniel Negreanu, who tripled his stack on Day 4 and is in 32nd place with 1.335 million. Negreanu spent much of the day at the ESPN featured table and was responsible for eliminating 1989 Main Event champion Phil Hellmuth in 417th place.

The lone former Main Event champion still playing is Jim Bechtel, who put 1.125 million in the bag and is in 52nd place overall after he eliminated Gjergj Sinishtaj on one of the final hands. Bechtel, the 1993 winner, held ace-king against Sinishtaj’s pocket jacks and hit a king on the flop, then had to sweat out the final two cards.

WACHTER’S RUN ENDS — William Wachter became the oldest player to cash in the Main Event as the 94-year-old from of Mahopac, N.Y., was eliminated in 524th place and took home $19,500.

Wachter, wearing a T-shirt that read “I Didn’t Come Here to Lose,” was given the honor of opening play Saturday afternoon with the “Shuffle up and deal” command.

IN THE MONEY — Cai Zhen of Melbourne, Fla., won a high-card draw to become the “bubble boy” at the 2014 Main Event, giving him an entry into this year’s tournament.

Zhen turned that freeroll into a decent pay day as he finished in 366th place and collected $24,622.


1, Joseph McKeehen (North Wales, Pa.) 3,122,000

2, Upeshka De Silva (Katy, Texas) 3,067,000

3, Erasmus Morfe (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 2,502,000

4, Brian Hastings (Hanover Township, Pa.) 2,464,000

5, Thomas Cannuli (Cape May, N.J.) 2,271,000

6, Charles Chattha (London) 2,157,000

7, Jewook Oh 2,153,000

8, Jay Sharon (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) 2,118,000

9, Jake Toole (Hoboken, N.J. 2,106,000

10, Mozheng Guan (Holmdel, N.J.) 2,034,000

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