[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.
- Michael Mizrachi (The Grinder), Mike Matusow (The Mouth), Ryan Riess (The Beast), John Juanda (Luckbox), and Mike McDonald (Timex).
- An all-female team just meets the 5% rule (4.69% of the 2013 field), possibly for the last time.
- Carbon Sports has these current lines.
- 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]