Joseph Cheong, who turned 24 in June, was born in Seoul, South Korea but immigrated to the United States at the age of six. He attended the University of California at San Diego and graduated with a degree in psychology last year. Cheong, who now lives in La Mirada, California, is no stranger to poker. Not including his November Nine appearance, Cheong has amassed $461,436 in career tournament winning, which included a WSOP Circuit preliminary event victory at Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego) in April. He took home $17,541 and a gold circuit ring for his win. Cheong’s performance in the Main Event marked his third cash at the WSOP this past summer when he finished 24th and 29th in two six-handed no-limit hold’em tournaments. Cheong enters the November Nine final table third in chips with 23,525,000 and will be positioned in Seat 2.
How He Got There
Day 7 proved to be a crucial time for Cheong as he vaulted to the top of the chip counts; however, it was not all smooth sailing as he found his tournament life at stake early on. In the hand, Soi Nguyen and Cheong put in a series of preflop raises and then watched the flop come . Nguyen bet 650,000, and Cheong responded by moving all-in for his last 2.62 million. Nguyen called and created a pot worth nearly 8 million.
Cheong: (top pair, top kicker)
The turn and river changed nothing, and Cheong got an early double. There was no looking back as Cheong continued to chip up.
He eliminated Evan Lamprea a short time later when his pocket tens held against . A little later in the day, Cheong squared off with another opponent after Nicolas Babel opened with a raise from under the gun and Cheong reraised to 420,000 from the button. After the blinds got out of the way, Babel called and watched the flop fall .
Babel checked, Cheong bet 680,000, Babel check-raised all in for 3.19 million total, and Cheong called. Babel showed but was behind Cheong’s . The turn was the and the river the , sending Babel out in 38th place ($206,395) while Cheong chipped up to 18.7 million.
By the end of the day, Cheong had captured the chip lead with 24,490,000, an amount he would ultimately ride all the way to the final table.
What to Watch For
In an interview with WSOP.com, Cheong said: “The entire table is experienced. They are all good players. I guess if I had to say what is my biggest concern, it would be both John Dolan and Jonathan Duhamel. They both have big stacks and they are very experienced online players. The other players I really do not know too well. They seem to be decent and good players.”
Cheong’s biggest concern will be all-to-present at the final table -- both Dolan and Duhamel, the two big stacks, are seated in Seats 3 and 4 respectively. This is not good news for Cheong, who sits in Seat 2 with the table’s third largest stack; both players will have position on him throughout.
On the other hand, this will allow Cheong the first opportunity to jump in and take control of a pot. This will be especially handy considering the two short-stacks at the table, Jason Senti and Soi Nguyen, are seated directly to Cheong's right, which means he’ll have the chance to push them around if they limp into too many pots. Given his chip stack and position, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cheong be either the first one out or the last one standing.