2014 WSOP Schedule and the Ivey/Negreanu Bracelet Bet

[LL] “At long last, the World Series of Poker starts on Tuesday!” Leroy the Lion announced.

[RR] “Not for me”, Roderick the Rock differed. “I consider it to begin when ESPN starts showing new episodes in late July.”

[SS] “I’m in between you guys. I don’t pay much attention until the Main Event starts, which is July 5 this year.”

[LL] “What do you think of this year’s schedule?”

[SS] “At first glance, it doesn’t look like much has changed, with 65 total events, up just 3 from last year. But if you look closer, there’s been quite a shift…

Do you like polarized hand ranges? How about polarized buy-in ranges? Compared to last year, the schedule now features eight more low buy-in events (one $1,000 [Pot-Limit Omaha] and seven $1,500) and nine more $10,000 buy-in events at the expense of the middle buy-in events (eight fewer $2,500, three fewer $3,000, and five fewer $5,000). And that’s ignoring the return of the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, which alternates every other year with a $111,111 buy-in event.”

[LL] “Seems like the WSOP has decided to separately target the amateurs, who prefer the lower buy-ins, and the pros, who prefer the larger buy-ins.”

[RR] “Sure, except the Main Event, which stands alone as a high buy-in event that amateurs love to play.”

[SS] “Amateurs also prefer Hold ‘Em, which lost four events but still accounts for over half of the tournaments (33 of 65 for 50.8%, down from 36 of 62 for 58.1%). The variety of games has improved, with three more Razz/Lowball events, one more Omaha, two more Mixed, and one more Stud.”

The Ivey/Negreanu Bracelet Bet

[RR] “Stan, what’s your analysis of the Ivey/Negreanu bracelet bet?”

[SS] “You mean, even money that neither of them wins a bracelet at this summer’s WSOP?”1

[RR] “Yes.”

[SS] “Negreanu hasn’t won a bracelet in Vegas since 2008 and Ivey since 2010, so it sure seems like a good bet. But I wouldn’t take it.

[RR] “Why not?”

[SS] “If you count just their Las Vegas bracelets — Negreanu has four in 16 years, and Ivey has eight in 14 years — the odds seem to be strongly in your favor. But throw in the three bracelets they’ve won outside the U.S. (both have one at the WSOP Asia, and Negreanu has one at the WSOP Europe), and you’re talking exactly one per year in just a few more events. Then add in the fact that neither, especially Ivey,2 has always played a full schedule, and it seems pretty clear that it’s a sucker’s bet.”3


  1. CardPlayer says that Negreanu will take bets from $5,000 to a million, but he later said that it’s mostly Ivey’s wager, not his.
  2. Ivey even sat out the entire World Series of Poker in 2011, publicly explaining that he was protesting Full Tilt Poker’s failure to pay back funds to U.S. players.
  3. Indeed, Ivey won his tenth bracelet in the $1,500 Eight Game Mixed event on June 27, 2014 to win the bet.

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