2016 WSOP Main Event Odds

[SS] “Do you guys know what’s really odd?” Stan the Stat opened.

[RR] “Three, five, seven, and every prime number besides two?” Roderick the Rock suggested.

[LL] “Rod’s sense of humor?” Leroy the Lion countered.

[FF] “All of you guys”, Figaro the Fish corrected.

[SS] “Well, I can’t disagree with you Figaro, although you’re included too.

But I’ve been looking over these Las Vegas odds on particular players winning the Main Event, which starts tomorrow, and the numbers are just bizarre…, like it’s a popularity contest, not a poker tournament.”

[LL] “Well, the betting public is going to back the players they know, right?”

[RR] “Almost by definition, people place long shot bets just for fun. They enjoy a smidgen of a hope for a little while, but really don’t expect to win.”

[SS] “You’re right. ‘Cause otherwise, what kind of fool would take Phil Ivey at only 40-to-1?”1

[LL] “He’s usually to busy raking it in playing cash games to be bothered to even show up, right?”

[SS] Exactly! The second highest player is more reasonable; Daniel Negreanu’s at 60-to-1. He’ll definitely play and has finished 11th twice (2001 and 2015). Allen Cunningham is fine at 100-to-1 (4th place in 2006), but Gus Hansen isn’t (his best finish is 61st, and that was back in 2007).”

[RR] “But he’s still gaining fans from High Stakes Poker reruns on television.”

[SS] “Jason Mercier is one of the summer’s hottest players, so he could be the bargain of the lot at 125-to-1.”1

[LL] “It’ll be amazing if he runs deep, needing his third bracelet of the summer to win his huge side bet with Vanessa Selbst, or whoever she ended selling off her action to!”

[SS] “Other overpriced players include Tom Dwan at 200-to-1 (has never cashed), Doyle Brunson at 400-to-1 (almost undoubtedly not playing), Howard Lederer at 600-to-1 (the amount of pressure on him if he runs deep would be overwhelming given his status as persona non grata due to the Full Tilt Poker meltdown; Chris Ferguson is probably also overvalued since his price is 200-to-1, but at least he still has a lot of fans), Chris Moneymaker at 700-to-1 (hasn’t cashed in any WSOP event since 2007), Darvin Moon at 1,000-to-1 (hasn’t cashed in any WSOP event besides his 2009 WSOP ME runner-up finish), and Jennifer Tilly at 1,000-to-1 (Phil Laak at 700-to-1 is no better, as his only money finish was 412th last year).”

[RR] “Even the best bets are bad bets though, I think.”

[SS] “Selbst is the top woman is of course, at 400-to-1. Maria Ho and Vanessa Rousso are 800-to-1, while Cindy Violette, Jennifer Harman, and Mimi Tran are 1,000-to-1 (and all much better bets than Tilly).”

[LL] “Was there a line for any female winning?”

[SS] “Unfortunately not. I think they missed a good opportunity there, too, because I think a 15-to-1 line could have brought in a lot of bets from women.”2

More interesting to me than the player bets are four new bets I hadn’t seen before.”

Winner’s Birthplace

  • U.S.: 1-to-2
  • Europe: 3-to-2
  • Canada: 11-to-5
  • South/Central America: 5-to-1
  • Australia: 10-to-1
  • Other: 10-to-1

[SS] “Before Johnny Chan in 1987, every WSOP ME winner was born in the U.S. Since then, 16 of the 28 winners were born in the U.S., 6 in ‘Other’, 4 in Europe, 1 in Australia, and 1 in Canada. ‘Other’ looks like the best bet here by far.1

[LL] “Definitely! All the Asian-born players.”

Age of Winner

  • Over 27.5: -120
  • Under 27.5: -120

[SS] “Noel Furlong was the last person older than 41 to win a championship in 1999. Since then, it’s been a young man’s game, but especially since the November Nine began in 2008. Every single winner starting with Peter Eastgate has been under 27.5. Take the ‘Under’.”1

[RR] “That seems like a really bad line. I’d seriously consider that bet despite the vig!”

Winning Hand at Final Table

  • One Pair or Lower: -150
  • Two Pair and Higher: +110

[SS] “Of the 44 winning hands from 1972 to 2015, only 13 have been as weak as a pair (9 pairs and 4 high cards). Take the ‘Two Pair and Higher’ bet.”1

[RR] “Also weird.”

Number of U.S. Players at Final Table

  • Over 4.5: -150
  • Under 4.5: +110

[SS] “Since 2008, the final table has contained 5, 7, 6, 4, 8, 5, 4, and 6 Americans, an average of 5.6; or more importantly, six were ‘Over’ and only two were ‘Under’. Take the ‘Over’.”1

[RR] “And that also seems odd! How do I get in on these bets?”3

Footnotes:

  1. Please don’t take gambling advice from a fictional character in a blog written by an iPhone app developer.
  2. Less than 4% of last year’s Main Event field was female. Even if that increases to a record 5%, the bookies would easily be getting the better end of the bet.
  3. The initial odds were posted in 2016 WSOP Main Event Odds on May 27, 2016 but are subject to change.1

    { July 19, 2016 Update: The results of two of the bets are now known: none of the mentioned players made the final table, so “the field” would have been the right bet if it existed. And 5 U.S. players reached the November Nine, so “Over” was the correct bet. }

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