What Are the Odds of That? A Guide to WSOP Betting

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WSOP World Seres of Poker 2014 prop bets
The WSOP is once again almost upon us, but is it worth a bet?

From the four corners of the earth they will come, moving silently through the multitudes, clashing in battle until only one remains. But that’s enough about my favorite movie, Highlander, because we’re here to talk about WSOP betting odds.

Yes, once again poker’s Big Dance, the greatest tournament on the planet, is almost upon us and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to spice things up with a few wagers.

Now, with 6.5 thousand-odd entrants, you’re going to have a hard time picking a winner, so don’t bother. While you may be certain that Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu is the favorite, they’ve still got to dodge a boatload of variance over five long days. So while the bookies generally have guys like Ivey or Negreanu at 200/1, they’re probably more like a couple of thousand to one.

If you consider that, in a field of over 5,000, any one random player must be over 5,000 to one, then a 200/1 price for one player is affording that player a skill advantage that simply doesn’t exist in poker. Ridiculously short odds for a ridiculously unlikely outcome does not a fun wager make, so let’s move on.

Ivey for the Final?

Perhaps a slightly more realistic proposition, although still a huge long-shot, would be to predict a player to make the final table. Online sportsbook Betvictor lists Phil Ivey as the favorite to do this at 12/1. Again, these odds are RIDICULOUSLY short, but hey, we would all like to see it happen, so let’s throw our money away in the vain hope.

You’re much better off betting on a tournament with a much smaller field, like the Big One for One Drop. Ladbrokes has a full list of odds for this, with Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Ivey both favorites at 18/1. Sam Trickett, Philippe Gruiseme and Ole Schemion could be good bets here – they all have form in small-field high buy-in tournaments, and are all at 22/1.

Fortunately, there is a whole host of other dynamics to bet on in the Main Event. For example, it would be a wonderful thing for poker if a woman won the Main Event and Ladbrokes prices the chances of that eventuality at 40/1. While only a small percentage of women make up the field in poker tournaments, in the WSOP it’s slightly higher, somewhere between 3 percent and 4 percent. This could actually be a good bet!

In a field that’s 4 percent women, 19/1 should be the price. We can only assume that Ladbrokes is expecting a low turnout or they have a low opinion of women poker players. If so, shame on Ladbrokes!

Even Money?

Bodog (Bovada) has a list of bets that might pique your interest. What will the country of birth of the Main Event winner be, asks the Bodog sportsbook. Will he or she be a) American (4/7); or b) not American (27/20)? Will a former Main Event winner make the final table of the 2014 WSOP Main Event? Yes (6/1); or no (1/12)? What will be the winning/final hand at the 2014 WSOP Main Event? Two-pair or better (2/3); or one pair or lower (11/10). Food for thought there from Bodog…

Lastly, fans of the show High Stakes Poker will remember that the players passed the time with a series of prop bets, related to colors and combinations of the flops. These poker players will gamble on anything, you tut, but wait, now you can too!

What better way to spice up a long and uneventful final table by betting on anything from the color of the first river card to the … er … color of the last river card? You can also bet on flop color-combos and suits. Off course, Betvictor has done its homework and is offering 10/11 on your ability to predict the color of the next card, an even-money proposition, perhaps the plainest example of how the bookies tweak the odds in their favor. They must think we were born yesterday! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and lump some money on black.

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