2014 WSOP Main Event Odds

[SS] “Obviously, the World Series of Poker Main Event is so large that it’s almost absurd to bet on a single player to win it all”, Stan the Stat opened.

[LL] “I’d still bet it’s better to bet on the better bettor”, Leroy the Lion contended.

[RR] “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck…”, Roderick the Rock joked.

[SS] “But what if you could pick a group of players? Would you guys be up for a simple pool where you get a team of players instead of just one?”

[LL] “Sounds like fantasy poker. But drafts take a long time, and we’ve got like ten minutes before we have to shuffle up and deal.”

[SS] “No, I’m proposing something much simpler, and nice and easy to track who you’re rooting for and against.”

[RR] “Do tell.”

[SS] “Each person gets a themed team of five players, like Former Main Event champs, Former Main Event Runner Ups, etc.”

[LL] “I’ll take Team USA!”

[SS] “A little too big of a pool to choose from. Let’s say your candidate pool had to be under 5% of last year’s total field; you can have any country except the USA or Canada.”

[RR] “I’ll take the WSOP Bracelet Winners team.”

[SS] “Sorry, I meant to say you couldn’t have that, or a career earnings-based team, since that would include too many of the very top players. But I’ll let you have a team where all your players have the same number of bracelets. As an exception to the 5% rule, you can even have a no-bracelets team, since that’s limiting in its own special way. For example, any of these teams would be pretty strong:

  • 0 Bracelets: Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Joseph Cheong, and Sam Trickett
  • 1 Bracelet: Ben Lamb, Bertrand Grospellier, Jake Cody, David Benyamine, and Gavin Smith
  • 2 Bracelets: J.C. Tran, Jason Mercier, Robert Mizrachi, Vitaly Lunkin, and Josh Arieh
  • 3 Bracelets: Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, Vanessa Selbst, Jeff Madsen, and Matt Matros
  • 4 Bracelets: Mike Matusow, Daniel Alaei, Huck Seed, Bobby Baldwin, and Tom McEvoy
  • 5 Bracelets: Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Jeff Lisandro, John Juanda, and Scotty Nguyen”
  • 6 Bracelets: Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack, Ted Forrest, T.J. Cloutier, and Jay Heimowitz”

[RR] “I’ll take the jewelry-less team; like rooting for one of my own kind.”

[LL] “What if none of our players wins, which seems likely?”

[SS] “How about half the money for the last player standing and refund the rest.”

[LL] “Sounds good. I’ll take Team Phil: Ivey, Hellmuth, Galfond, Laak, and Gordon.”

[SS] “Excellent. Some other first names could produce strong teams:

  • Team Andrew: Robl, Lichtenberger, Frankenberger, Black, and Bloch
  • Team Daniel: Negreanu, Smith, Alaei, Cates, and Wong
  • Team David: Benyamine, Benefield, Einhorn, Pham, and Oppenheim
  • Team John: Chan, Duhamel, Juanda, Hennigan, and Monnette
  • Team Joseph: Cada, Hachem, Sebok, Cheong, and Serock
  • Team Michael: Mizrachi, Matusow, McDonald, Watson, and Sexton”

[TT] “It’s my clear-cut inclination / To stake Team Alliteration / The Grinder, the Mouth, and the Beast / Luckbox and Timex last not least.”1

[SS] “So, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Matusow, Ryan Riess, John Juanda, and Mike McDonald.”

[RR] “Too bad, that’s only three-fifths M&Ms.”

[SS] “On further thought, I’ll actually go with the 1-Bracelet team. They’ve all proven they can do it.”

[DD] “Do you have room for one more?” asked Deb the Duchess as she joined the group.

[SS] “Of course!”

[DD] “Then I’ll take the women as a matter of principle: Vanessa Selbst, Annette Obrestad, Maria Ho, Victoria Coren, and Vanessa Rousso.”2

[RR] “We can settle up at next month’s home tourney.”

[SS] “Oh, in case you’re wondering, here are the 25 players with the best chances of winning the Main Event according to one online betting site:3

  • 150-to-1: Phil Ivey
  • 175-to-1: Daniel Negreanu
  • 200-to-1: Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Johnny Chan
  • 225-to-1: Ben Lamb, Doyle Brunson (!),4 Ryan Riess, J.C. Tran, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen
  • 250-to-1: Chris Ferguson, Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Bertrand ElkY Grospellier, Juha Helppi, Patrik Antonius
  • 300-to-1: Michael Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi, Tom Dwan, Mike Matusow, Jonathan Duhamel, David Benyamine, Gavin Smith, Eric Seidel”

[TT] “Rod’s gambling on Team Bracelets None / Stan’s topped him with Team Bracelets One / Leroy’s gone to Hellmuth with Phil / Deb has Team XX for the kill / And to end, Team Alliteration / Is my own prognostication.”

Update (July 13, 2014)

With Team Phil’s Galfond (527th for $22,678) and Ivey (464th for $25,756 after he ended Day 2 as the chip leader) bowing out on Day 4, only Team Alliteration (John Juanda) and Team XX (Maria Ho) were still alive. None of the other picks cashed.

Juanda busted out in 293rd for $33,734, so Deb won the pool with Maria Ho, who duplicated her 2007 feat as the Last Woman Standing. She ended up busting early on Day 6, as her short stack compelled her to shove under the gun with just the J♦8♦, losing to a pair of Queens to finish 77th for $85,812.

Footnotes:

  1. Michael Mizrachi (The Grinder), Mike Matusow (The Mouth), Ryan Riess (The Beast), John Juanda (Luckbox), and Mike McDonald (Timex).
  2. An all-female team just meets the 5% rule (4.69% of the 2013 field), possibly for the last time.
  3. Carbon Sports has these current lines.
  4. If it’s even possible in such a large field, Brunson was a sucker’s bet at 225-to-1. He almost undoubtedly played his last Main Event in 2013. [Footnote added July 6, 2014]
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Stan’s Lists – Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poker Main Event

[SS] “Do you two”, began Stan the Stat, addressing Mildred the Mouse and Deb the Duchess, “think it’s sexist that there’s a Ladies event at the WSOP or that we talk about the ‘Last Woman Standing’ in the WSOP Main Event?”

[MM] “No, why would we think that?” Mildred suggested.

[DD] “The topics themselves aren’t sexist, but how you talk about them could be”, added Deb.

[MM] “I’d love to play in a poker tournament with just women. I don’t think I’d have any better chance to win, but it would be more fun.”

[DD] “Yeah, I’m glad they finally figured out a practical and legal way to get those loser men out of the Ladies event.”1

[MM] “Like ladies’ night at a bar. I’m really surprised they didn’t figure it out sooner.”

[DD] “They’ve had a Women’s World Chess Championship since 1927, and I don’t remember any uproar about sexism there.”

[SS] “What about ‘Last Woman Standing’?”

[MM] “Someone has to be.”

[DD] “Until a woman wins the Main Event, it’s a reasonable thing to discuss. Once it happens, and it will happen, it won’t be very interesting anymore.”

[RR] “I’d even go so far as to say that some company should sponsor a prize for Last Woman Standing”, Roderick the Rock contributed. “If they can have a Jack Links Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand…”

[SS] “There was a Wicked Chops Last Woman Standing Cup, but that only lasted from 2009 to 2011.”

[DD] “Now that is a sexist poker site.2 I can see why that didn’t last. How about Go Girl, which sells a device to allow women to pee standing up?” Deb joked.

[RR] “And why isn’t it Last Woman Sitting anyway?”

[SS] “It’s just a twist on an old idiom, unfortunately of unknown origin.”

[RR] “But nobody stands up when they’re playing poker.”

[DD] “A lot of players stand up when they’re all in.”

[RR] “I stand corrected.”

[DD] “Glad to fix your misunderstanding.”

[MM] “I can’t stand any more of this.”

[SS] “Then it’s time for me to stand up and deliver. Here’s every Last Woman Standing and runner-up:”

Last Woman Standing at the WSOP Main Event3

Year Last Woman Place % 2nd to Last Woman Place %
1986 Wendeen Eolis 25 17.7%
1993 Marsha Waggoner 19 8.6% Wendeen Eolis 20 9.1%
1994 Barbara Samuelson 10 3.7% Annie Duke 26 9.7%
1995 Barbara Enright 5 1.8%
1996 Lucy Rokach 26 8.8%
1997 Marsha Waggoner 12 3.8%
1998 Susie Isaacs 10 2.9% Kathy Liebert 17 4.9%
2000 Annie Duke 10 2.0% Kathy Liebert 17 3.3%
2003 Annie Duke 47 5.6%
2004 Rose Richie 98 3.8% Lucy Rokach 159 6.2%
2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 0.3% Sarah Bilney 63 1.1%
2006 Sabyl Cohen-Landrum 56 0.6% Annie Duke 88 1.0%
2007 Maria Ho 38 0.6% Kelly Jo McGlothlin 95 1.5%
2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 0.2% Lisa Parsons 76 1.1%
2009 Leo Margets 27 0.4% Nichoel Peppe 75 1.2%
2010 Breeze Zuckerman 121 1.7% Dorothy Von Sachsen 273 3.7%
2011 Erika Moutinho 29 0.4% Amanda Musumeci 62 0.9%
2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 0.2% Elisabeth Hille 11 0.2%
2013 Jackie Glazier 31 0.5% Beverly Lange 86 1.4%
2014 Maria Ho4 77 1.2% Mikiyo Aoki 83 1.2%
2015 Kelly Minkin4 29 0.5% Diana Svensk 83 1.3%
2016 Gaelle Baumann4 102 1.5% Melanie Weisner 127 1.9%
2017 Yuan-Yuan Li4 105 1.5% Jessica Ngu 108 1.5%

[SS] “Some notes:

  • No women played in the World Series of Poker Main Event until Barbara Freer broke the ice in 1978.
  • In 1979, Betty Carey joined Freer, and in 1980 Colette Doherty made it a trio. That year’s field of 73 was 4.1% female, a level that wasn’t surpassed until 2013, when 298 of the 6,352 players (4.7%) were women.
  • Wendeen Eolis became the first woman to cash, partly because they went from paying only 9 players out of 140 in 1985 to 36 of 141 in 1986; she only won her entry fee back. There followed a drought of six years before she and Waggoner cashed in 1993 (albeit for just $12,000).
  • Enright and Isaacs both won the Ladies World Championship (in Seven-Card Stud) the year before they were the Last Woman Standing, and it was the second title for each (having also won in 1986 and 1996, respectively).
  • No women cashed in 1999, 2001, or 2002, which is the last year that will ever be true.
  • Annie Duke’s four appearances on this list are the most cashes for any woman in Main Event history, one more than Kathy Liebert (1998, 2000, and 2006), Jackie Glazier (2010, 2012, and 2013), and Kristy Gazes (2009, 2011, and 2013).
  • Erika Moutinho outlasted her then-boyfriend Doc Sands by one spot. They got married in 2013.”

[SS] “Barbara Enright’s fifth place finish in 1995 was the highest ever and the only final table for a woman, but as a percentage of the field, Gaelle Baumann’s tenth place finish in 2012 was the best and matched Elisabeth Hille for the largest cash. That gives us three ways to look at the best female results in the Main Event:”

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Place

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 1995 Barbara Enright 5 273 1.83% $114,180
2 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598 0.15% $590,442
2000 Annie Duke 512 1.95% $52,160
1998 Susie Isaacs 350 2.86% $40,000
1994 Barbara Samuelson 268 3.73% $26,880
6 2012 Elisabeth Hille 11 6,598 0.17% $590,442
7 1997 Marsha Waggoner 12 312 3.50% $33,920
8 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619 0.27% $400,000
9 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844 0.25% $334,534
2000 Kathy Liebert 512 3.32% $39,120
1998 350 4.86% $30,000

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Percent

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598 0.15% $590,442
2 2012 Elisabeth Hille 11 6,598 0.17% $590,442
3 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844 0.25% $334,534
4 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619 0.27% $400,000
5 2009 Leo Margets 27 6,494 0.42%4 $352,832
6 2011 Erika Moutinho 29 6,865 0.42%4 $242,636
7 2015 Kelly Minkin 29 6,420 0.45% $211,821
8 2013 Jackie Glazier 31 6,352 0.49% $229,281
9 2007 Maria Ho 38 6,358 0.60% $237,865
10 2006 Sabyl Cohen-Landrum 56 8,773 0.64% $123,699

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Prize

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598 0.15% $590,442
Elisabeth Hille 11 0.17%
3 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619 0.27% $400,000
4 2009 Leo Margets 27 6,494 0.42% $352,832
5 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844 0.25% $334,534
6 2011 Erika Moutinho 29 6,865 0.42% $242,636
7 2007 Maria Ho 38 6,358 0.60% $237,865
8 2013 Jackie Glazier 31 6,352 0.49% $229,281
9 2015 Kelly Minkin 29 6,420 0.45% $211,821
10 2005 Sarah Bilney 63 5,619 1.12% $145,875

Footnotes:

  1. After all these years, the solution was amazingly simple: make the event a $10,000 buy-in with a 90% discount for women. The Ladies World Championship started as a $100 Seven-Card Stud event in 1977, with the buy-in increasing to $1,000 by 1992. In 2000, the event switched to half stud and half Limit Hold ‘Em. In 2005, the tournament finally became No Limit Hold ‘Em.
  2. Wicked Chops Poker’s current tagline is “A daily dose of all things poker + girls”, and the header says, “Poker News, Gossip + Hot Girls”.
  3. The Last Woman Standing title is traditionally only bestowed if the player has made the money. The percentage columns are the percent of the field remaining.
  4. Table updated on July 13, 2014, as Maria Ho duplicated her 2007 feat and became the third woman to earn the crown twice (after Marsha Waggoner and Annie Duke). Updated July 15, 2015: Kelly Minkin settled for a $211,821 score. Updated July 17, 2016: Gaelle Baumann took home the crown for a second time. Updated July 17, 2017: Yuan-Yuan Li edged Jessica Ngu by just three places.
  5. Margets edged Moutinho out for the fifth spot, 0.416% to 0.422%.

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2014 WSOP Main Event Polarized Payouts

[SS] “You know what else will probably be polarized?”1 Stan the Stat teased. “The payouts for the Main Event.”

[SS] “Because they decided to guarantee $10,000,000 for first place, a larger percentage of the prize pool goes to a single player. If we’re close to last year’s 6,352 players, it won’t matter much ($1,640,768 more to first at the expense of a little from every other prize). Despite the nearly steady drop from a peak of 8,773 entries in 2006, I think they took a fairly safe marketing gamble. The four-year trend2 said that we’d have just over 6,000 players this year, which is safe enough. With the extra attraction of the ten million dollar prize, they may have managed to stop the slide.”

[LL] “But even if the number of players bounces back, we’ll never know why”, Leroy the Lion argued. “It could be because people got their Full Tilt Poker funds back.”

[RR] “Or the economy in general”, Roderick the Rock suggested.

[SS] “True enough. It’s almost impossible to analyze anything with a sample size of one.”

[LL] “And no control to compare against.”

[SS] “At least the winner will be happy! If the field size doesn’t rise or fall, everyone but first place will win 3.3% less, with the places 19 and below being hurt a little less and 2nd to 18th place hurt a little more (16th to 18th get the worst of it at -7.3%).”

[RR] “I don’t like it at all. One player gets more at the expense of every other player who cashes.”

[SS] “But it’s only recently that first place paid so little percentagewise. Until 1977, the WSOP Main Event was a winner-take-all tournament. For the next eight years, first prize was half of the prize pool. The percentage remained in the forties through 1993, then wandered lower to 25.2% in 2001 before rebounding to 33.7% in 2002 and 32.0% Chris Moneymaker’s year. Only with the following boom in field sizes did first prize drop to just over 20% before ranging from thirteen and fifteen percent ever since.”

First Prize as Percentage of Main Event Prize Pool3

Year Winner Prize Pool 1st Prize %
1971 Johnny Moss $30,000 $30,000 100.0%
1972 Amarillo Slim Preston $80,000 $80,000 100.0%
1973 Puggy Pearson $130,000 $130,000 100.0%
1974 Johnny Moss $160,000 $160,000 100.0%
1975 Sailor Roberts $210,000 $210,000 100.0%
1976 Doyle Brunson $220,000 $220,000 100.0%
1977 Doyle Brunson $340,000 $340,000 100.0%
1978 Bobby Baldwin $420,000 $210,000 50.0%
1979 Hal Fowler $540,000 $270,000 50.0%
1980 Stu Ungar $730,000 $365,000 50.0%
1981 Stu Ungar $750,000 $375,000 50.0%
1982 Jack Straus $1,040,000 $520,000 50.0%
1983 Tom McEvoy $1,080,000 $540,000 50.0%
1984 Jack Keller $1,320,000 $660,000 50.0%
1985 Bill Smith $1,400,000 $700,000 50.0%
1986 Berry Johnston $1,410,000 $570,000 40.4%
1987 Johnny Chan $1,520,000 $625,000 41.1%
1988 Johnny Chan $1,670,000 $700,000 41.9%
1989 Phil Hellmuth, Jr. $1,780,000 $755,000 42.4%
1990 Mansour Matloubi $1,940,000 $895,000 46.1%
1991 Brad Daugherty $2,150,000 $1,000,000 46.5%
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi $2,010,000 $1,000,000 49.8%
1993 Jim Bechtel $2,200,000 $1,000,000 45.5%
1994 Russ Hamilton $2,680,000 $1,000,000 37.3%
1995 Dan Harrington $2,730,000 $1,000,000 36.6%
1996 Huck Seed $2,950,000 $1,000,000 33.9%
1997 Stu Ungar $3,120,000 $1,000,000 32.1%
1998 Scotty Nguyen $3,500,000 $1,000,000 28.6%
1999 Noel Furlong $3,930,000 $1,000,000 25.4%
2000 Chris Ferguson $5,120,000 $1,500,000 29.3%
2001 Carlos Mortensen $5,946,100 $1,500,000 25.2%
2002 Robert Varkonyi $5,936,400 $2,000,000 33.7%
2003 Chris Moneymaker $7,802,700 $2,500,000 32.0%
2004 Greg Raymer $24,229,400 $5,000,000 20.6%
2005 Joe Hachem $52,818,610 $7,500,000 14.2%
2006 Jamie Gold $82,512,162 $12,000,000 14.5%
2007 Jerry Yang $59,784,954 $8,250,000 13.8%
2008 Peter Eastgate $64,333,600 $9,152,416 14.2%
2009 Joe Cada $61,043,600 $8,546,435 14.0%
2010 Jonathan Duhamel $68,799,059 $8,944,310 13.0%
2011 Pius Heinz $64,531,000 $8,715,638 13.5%
2012 Greg Merson $62,021,200 $8,527,982 13.8%
2013 Ryan Riess $59,708,800 $8,359,531 14.0%
2014 ? $59,708,800 $10,000,000 16.7%

[SS] “With 6,352 players, the winner would take home one-sixth of the prize pool. It would take a major jump to 7,000 entries for the winner to get just 15% of the prize pool, which would be the highest in the last decade but still lower than every year before that. On the other hand, the field would have to drop to an unlikely low of 5,200 players for the winner to take over 20%.”

[SS] “Doesn’t look so bad when you put it in historical context now, does it?”

[RR] “I guess we’re just going to have to live with our polarized opinions on this.”

Footnotes:

  1. See the previous discussion on the 2014 WSOP Schedule, with its polarized buyins.
  2. Main Event entries from 2010 to 2013: 7,319, 6,865, 6,598, and 6,352.
  3. In 1970, the first year of the WSOP, Johnny Moss was given a silver cup and got to keep his winnings from playing. The 2014 prize pool and 1st place percentage are hypothetical based on 6,352 entries.

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Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Streaks

[SS] “Speaking of streakers. I don’t think there’s ever been one at the Major League Baseball World Series1, but there was one at the 2008 College Baseball World Series. I wonder if anyone’s ever done it at the World Series of Poker?”

[LL] “Plenty of people have lost their shirts playing poker.”

[RR] “I’ve lost way more than my shirt playing strip poker.”

[LL] “So glad I wasn’t there to see that.”

[SS] “Poker may not be famous for streakers, GoldenPalace.com notwithstanding,2 but here are a few Hold ‘Em players famous for their Main Event streaks.”

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Wins

[SS] “I already mentioned this; four players have won the Main Event in consecutive years: Johnny Moss (1970-71), Doyle Brunson (1976-77), Stu Ungar (1980-81), and Johnny Chan (1987-88). Obviously, Ryan Riess can join them this year, which would be a phenomenally more impressive achievement.”

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Final Tables

[SS] “Technically, lots of players reached multiple consecutive final tables in the early years of the event, but let’s be stricter and restrict this list to the winners until 1977 (when the event was winner-take-all), the top five from 1978 to 1980 (when only the top five cashed), the top six from 1981 to 2000, and the top nine since 2001 (when the final table expanded from six to nine players).”

[SS] “Under these rules, only Jesse Alto (1984-86) and Johnny Chan (1987-89) have reached three consecutive final tables. Seven players have reached back-to-back final tables: Berry Johnston (1985-86), Bill Smith (1985-86), Dan Harrington (2003-04), Doyle Brunson (1976-77 and 1982-83), Jay Heimowitz (1980-81), Johnny Moss (1970-71 and 1979-80), and Stu Ungar (1980-81). Ryan Riess and the other 2013 November Niners can become the first to repeat since Harrington in 2004.”

Update: July 15, 2014

Mark Newhouse made the 2014 November Nine to join this list of Final Table repeaters. His impressive back-to-back runs were in fields of 6,352 and 6,683 players.

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Cashes

[SS] “Ronnie Bardah set a new record by cashing in his fifth consecutive Main Event in 2014.3 Six players have cashed in four in a row: Robert Turner (1991-94; 6th in 1994), Bo Sehlstedt (2004-07), Theodore Park (2005-08), Chris Bjorin (2008-11), Diogo Borges (2008-11), and Christian Harder (2010-13). Only 34 players have cashed more than four times in their entire careers (41 more have cashed exactly four times).4

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Tournaments Played

[SS] “Howard Andrew has played in 40 consecutive Main Events (since 1974), which is also tied with Doyle Brunson for the most Main Events total (every year since 1971 except 1999-2001; Brunson also played in 1970 when there was no Main Event per se).”

Footnotes:

  1. Even Morganna, the Kissing Bandit, never crashed the World Series; she was arrested after jumping onto the field at an All-Star game, however.
  2. Online poker site GoldenPalace.com ran a streaker marketing campaign and stayed in the news in early to mid 2000s by purchasing various random items at auctions.
  3. Updated on July 11, 2014, when Bardah reached the final 693 players. {July 9, 2015: He failed to cash in 2015.}
  4. See the Hendon Mob’s career cashes list. Bjorin is tied for 5th place with seven. Bardah and Harder are incorrectly listed with just three cashes, however [before the 2014 Main Event].

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