WSOP Howard Lederer/Chris Ferguson Recap

[RR] “Yuri, are you still mad at Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[YY] “Not really. I got my money back. And they’re not the ones who killed internet poker on Black Friday.”

[RR] “I guess you didn’t have five or six figures locked up for a few years.”

[YY] “I played more on PokerStars, which returned my money almost immediately.”

[SS] “I think they waited just long enough before returning to play in this year’s WSOP”, Stan the Stat contributed.

[RR] “Yeah, I heard that a few people confronted them, but nothing physical happened.”

[SS] “Lederer is definitely the more hated of the two of them, and he only played three events. Perhaps more importantly, he didn’t cash in any of them, which made a lot of people happy. $70,000 back into the poker economy.”

[LL] “It’s a start.”

[SS] “He actually came very close to cashing in the Poker Players Championship. He was second in chips at one point, but ended up busting in 17th, just three spots short of the money.”

[RR] “And the crowd roared.”

[SS] “Ferguson, on the other hand, had an excellent series. I don’t know exactly how many events he played,2 but regardless, he cashed an impressive ten times, two above his previous career high of eight in 2003. His best result and only final table was in the $10,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em 6-Handed Championship, where he placed fourth for $183,989. His total haul for the summer was $253,519, with his other cashes ranging from $3,551 in the Millionaire Maker to $17,760 in the Crazy Eights.

In fact, Ferguson did well enough to rise from unranked to #1,046 in the Global Poker Index3 and #200 in the GPI Player of the Year rankings. He also moved back into the top ten in career WSOP cashes (tied for ninth with David Chiu at 73).”

[SS] “Lederer and Ferguson were variously given the silent treatment or sworn at, but no physical altercations occurred.”

[RR] “One player posted a video where he told Ferguson off.”4

[LL] “I hope that made him feel better, but this Whatzit? puzzle from last week is fitting:

✗✗=✓ ✗

Got it?”5

[SS] “There’s also ‘forgive and forget’.”

[YY] “Yeah, I’m chill with that. But I wish I could play on PokerStars again without moving to another country, or worse, New Jersey.”


  1. Lederer played the $10,000 2-7 Single Draw, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship Six Max, and the Main Event.
  2. By my count, Chris Ferguson entered just 19 events, cashing in 52.6% of them (pretty impressive even if I missed a couple events).
  3. The Global Poker Index will be covered in another blog post later this year.
  4. StanObv delivered his NSFW message to Chris Ferguson during a break in the action.
  5. The Whatzit answer is “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

2016 November Nine Odds

[SS] “Do you guys want to bet on this year’s WSOP Main Event winner? We can divide the nine players into three pretty even groups”, Stan the Stat offered.

[RR/LL] “I’m in!” Roderick the Rock and Leroy the Lion agreed.

[SS] “Okay, here are the odds from the first place I could find them:

2016 November Nine Odds

Player Sportsbook
With Vig1
Cliff Josephy 9/4 30.8% 26.1% 22.2% 3.9%
Qui Nguyen 4/1 20.0% 17.0% 20.2% -3.2%
Gordon Vayo 5/1 16.7% 14.1% 14.7% -0.5%
Kenny Hallaert 5/1 16.7% 14.1% 12.9% 1.3%
Michael Ruane 10/1 9.1% 7.7% 9.4% -1.7%
Vojtech Ruzicka 10/1 9.1% 7.7% 8.1% -0.4%
Griffin Benger 12/1 7.7% 6.5% 7.8% -1.3%
Jerry Wong 20/1 4.8% 4.0% 3.0% 1.0%
Fernando Pons 30/1 3.2% 2.7% 1.8% 0.9%
Totals 118.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Using the True Percent, the closest groups are:

  • Josephy and Benger: 32.6%
  • Nguyen, Hallaert, and Pons: 33.8%
  • Vayo, Ruane, Ruzicka, and Wong: 33.5%

Any strong preference?”

[RR] “You know I always like the favorite. Worked for me last year!”

[SS] “You got it. But Josephy is more like J.C. Tran, who bombed out in fifth three years ago than McKeehen last year. Josephy has a smaller chip lead, and he’s the only player with two bracelets.”

[LL] “I’m a pure numbers guys when I don’t have a good reason not to be, so I’ll take the middle group, which has the highest odds by a tiny bit.”

[SS] “Okay, I’m more than happy to take four players to two for each of you, since you know, Leroy, that Pons winning would be a miracle. Not only is the Spaniard the only amateur at the table, but no November Niner has ever come back from 9th position or less than 6.8% of chips to win.”

[LL] “I don’t really understand the markup on him.”

[SS] “Everyone loves a long shot, I guess.”

[RR] “Same stakes as last year? I really enjoyed collecting on that.”

[LL] “Sure, our serving you all night didn’t help you win the tournament in any case.”

[SS] “It just means that we’ll take extra pleasure in knocking you out!”


  1. The Percent With Vig is simply the denominator of the odds divided by the sum of the numerator and denominator. The True Percent normalizes this by dividing by the total of 118.0%.
  2. ICM stands for Independent Chip Model.


Stan’s Lists – WSOP Team Events

[RR] “I heard the new team event at the WSOP was a huge success!” Roderick the Rock announced.

[SS] “By sheer numbers alone, it was awesome!” Stan the Stat confirmed. “The old Mixed Doubles event never topped 52 pairs:”

WSOP Mixed Doubles Champions

Year Teams Winners Notes
1979 25 Starla Brodie & Doyle Brunson Even though this is one of Brunson’s ten bracelets, everyone still considers him tied with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey.
1980 41 Lynn Harvey & A.J. Myers Event was contested in No Limit Hold ‘Em (every other year was 7-Card Stud, in which Myers won a solo $5,000 Limit event the next year!).
1981 52 Juanda Matthews & Frank Cardone Neither player ever cashed in any other WSOP event (or any tournament the Hendon Mob Database tracks).
1982 44 Dani Kelly & David Sklansky Kelly never had another WSOP cash, while Sklansky has won over $1.3 million at the WSOP.
1983 25 Donna Doman & Jim Doman They were the first husband and wife to win WSOP bracelets.

This Tag Team tournament crushed that with 863 teams and around 2,100 players!”

[LL] “Sounds like people had a lot of fun, too”, Leroy the Lion added.

[RR] “Poker is usually such an individual sport that I can see people really getting into being on a team for a change.”

[FF] “It’s always nice to have someone else to blame when things go wrong”, Figaro the Fish noted.

[RR] “But you also let at least one other person down if you make the mistake.”

[FF] “I’m used to that.”

[SS] “The low entry fee also helped — just $250 each for a team of four.”

[RR] “Were there a lot of larger teams though?”

[SS] “I haven’t seen a breakdown of all the team sizes, but among the 130 teams that cashed, 11 had four players (14.3%), 24 had three players (23.5%), and 95 had two players (62.1%).

The winning team was a pair of pros, Doug Polk and Ryan Fee ($153,358 for the team), while second place was a trio, Adam Greenberg, Niel Mittelman, and Gabriel Paul ($94,748). The top quad squad, finishing sixth, was Owais Ahmed, Bart Lybaert, Adam Owen, and Benny Glaser ($24,982).

The top all-in-the-family team, finishing ninth, was Jonathan Little and his parents, Rita and Larry ($10,724). They were also the top mixed-gender team and the top team that included a married couple.

The top all-female team, finishing 33rd, was Fatima Moreira de Melo (the Dutch field hockey player who was the last celebrity standing at last year’s Main Event) and Leo Margets (the last woman standing at the 2009 Main Event).

Some other notable cashes included:

  • 22nd Place: Ryan Laplante and Leo Wolpert, earning Laplante his record 12th cash of this year’s WSOP.
  • 26th Place: The four Mizrachi brothers (Robert, Michael, Eric, and Donny) quadrupled their buyin.
  • 28th Place: Brian Rast, Antonio Esfandiari, Jeff Gross added negligibly to their $47+ million in combined career winnings.

A few of the higher-profile teams that went home empty-handed included:

  • David Williams, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, and Maria Ho
  • Niall Farrell and Safia Umerova, who teamed up a week after Umerova beat Farrell heads up for the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout bracelet
  • Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis, the founders of Thinking Poker.”


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


  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. }


Women in Poker Hall of Fame Induction

[SS] “The long wait is almost over…”, Stan the Stat stated cryptically.

[RR] “For July, your favorite month of the year?” Roderick the Rock proposed.

[LL] “No almost about that”, Leroy the Lion rejected. “It’s already July.”

[SS] “And I hate July. It’s too hot. It’s too humid. And the neighbors set off fireworks pretty much the entire month after our kids have gone to bed.”

[RR] “You can’t hate it that much. The World Series of Poker runs through more than half of it.”

[LL] “Stan can’t wait for the Coney Island hot dog eating contest in a few days.”

[FF] “I didn’t think he was such a fast eater”, Figaro the Fish commented.

[LL] “Not as a contestant! Stan likes anything with lots of counting. And records.”

[RR] “And patriotism. What’s more American than hot dogs and gluttony?”

[SS] “Can’t argue with either of you. Joey Chestnut wolfing down a record 691 hot dogs in 2013 certainly made me smile. As did Sonya Thomas’s 45 the previous year. But another event later in the week has had a longer wait.”

[FF] “It’s not the soccer World Cup, that’s still two years away.”

[RR] “Or the Summer Olympics; that’s not until August.”

[LL] “Although I’ll bet the Rio organizers wish they had a couple more years to prepare.”

[SS] “Two years is right though. It’s a biennial event.”2

[RR] “Does it have something to do with poker?”

[SS] “Yep.”

[LL] “You can’t possibly be talking about the Women’s Poker Hall of Fame induction.”

[SS] “Why not? The Women in Poker Hall of Fame is on Wednesday after a two-year wait.”

[RR] “Oh, now I remember you talking about it last year. So who did they vote in?”

[SS] “Funny you should phrase it that way. They, as in the Internet voters, selected Shirley Rosario, founder of the website, but the committee nullified the result on a technicality that may or may not have actually affected the vote.”

[LL] “And what was that?”

[SS] “They claimed that the voting rules limited people from voting once per IP address, but since this was enforced via a trivially deletable cookie, illegal votes may have been cast.”

[RR] “And Boaty McBoatface should have been the name of that new British ship!”3

[LL] “If you’re foolish enough to allow internet voting, you should abide by the results.”

[SS] “Well, I’m pretty sure they didn’t think a web site named ‘Poker Babes’ was the right image they wanted to project. And no, don’t bother trying to go there; the domain was sold to PokerStars in 2010, undoubtedly for the traffic, then the plug was pulled late last year.”

[RR] “And so the committee just chose whoever they wanted, as usual.”

[SS] “Indeed. Although I’m happy to report that the main, poker-playing inductee was Victoria Coren Mitchell, whom Leroy suggested last year.”

[LL] “A fine choice.”

[SS] “The other selection I’d never heard of, because I’ve never subscribed to Poker Player Newspaper. Debbie Burkhead penned a column called ‘Debbie Does Poker’ for over a decade. She’s won ten tournaments in Hold ‘Em, 7-Card Stud, and H.O.R.S.E. since 1996, and apparently is famous enough to have had a $10 Debbie Burkhead Challenge tournament back in 2000.”

[LL] “Sounds like a much more safer choice than Rosario.”

[SS] “Or Annie Duke, the other player you proffered last year.”


  1. { July 4, 2016 update: Chestnut broke his own Nathan’s record by ingesting 70 hot dogs in ten minutes. }
  2. Alas, “biannual” means both “occurring every two years” and “occurring twice a year; semi-annual”, so it should be avoided.
  3. Boaty McBoatface won the internet vote, but the Natural Environment Research Council chose to name their new research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

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