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Heavy favorite emerges in World Series of Poker

Chips at 2015 World Series of Poker
Source: Joe Giron | WSOP
Chips at 2015 World Series of Poker

Dreams of winning $7.7M and the title of 2015 World Series of Poker champion ended badly for three players last night in Las Vegas. The nine remaining players reconvened after a 4-month break to play out the final table and crown a champion.

After four months of study, hard work, and dreaming about the bracelet and the money, Patrick Chan busted on the second hand to chip leader Joe McKeehen. Things didn't go much better for Federico Butteroni from Italy. He made an extra $96,000 by outlasting Chan, but he pretty much folded every hand until he finally made his stand...and then got knocked out by McKeehen. But those two entered the Final Table with each having only about 3% of the total chips in play. Early exits were almost a given.

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What happened to Pierre Neuville was unexpected and very, very unlucky. The 72-year-old Belgian former Hasbro executive came into play 4th in chips. First, his pocket queens rivered a straight but lost to Thomas Cannuli's flush. Then his top pair, top kicker ran into Neil Blumenfield's set of fours. And the finishing blow came when Neuville's Ace-Jack lost to McKeehen's Jack-six of hearts when the turn and river gave McKeehen a flush.

McKeehen enters night two of the three-night final table with a monstrous chip lead. He holds nearly half the chips in play, while the 5 other players split the other half.

But the fun thing about poker is that anything can happen. And it often does.