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Top-10 World Series of Poker prop bets

23 May 2014

For several years, I have written a top-10 World Series of Poker prop bets column, scouring through online sportsbooks to find the best bets they had to offer. Unfortunately this year, for some reason, there aren't very many bets available. Sure, there are some standard odds offered on players to make the final table of the Main Event or to win the Big One for One Drop, but none of the fun stuff that I'm used to seeing.

This year, I've decided to act as the oddsmaker and offer my top-10 prop bets for the WSOP. And if you think you can beat me, let me know via Twitter.

The first tournament at begins Tuesday, May 28, with the $500 Casino Employees event.

10. Over/under number of events with fewer than 100 players
Last year there was just one event that drew fewer than 100 players: the $10,000 no-limit 2-7 single draw event. This year, there is at least one event that will have fewer than 100 players, as the $1 million Big One for One Drop has a cap of 56 entries.

Last year, six tournaments drew between 100 and 200 players. One of those events was the $111,111 One Drop High Roller, which is replaced this year by the $1 million event. The $50,000 Poker Players Championship, which drew 132 players last year, will almost certainly eclipse 100 entries again this year (it fell below 100 just once in its eight-year existence), and the $10,000 heads-up no-limit Hold'em event (162 entries last year) is also likely to break the 100-player mark.

However, the $5,000 limit Hold'em event drew just 170 players last year, and this year's scheduling philosophy — which offers tournaments at the $1,500 and $10,000 levels in most poker disciplines — sees that tournament's buy-in double. The $10,000 limit Hold'em event will also run in the afternoon of the $1,500 no-limit Hold'em Monster Stack event, which will have a huge draw and likely create the second-largest first-place prize for a $1,500 event this summer. There's a chance that may reduce participation enough to see entries slip below 100. The $10,000 2-7 triple draw event may suffer a similar fate; the game drew just 282 players for the $2,500 buy-in tournament last year, and with the a buy-in four times as large, turnout may be sparse for this event.

One the whole, however, I still think it's a bit of a long shot to say there will be more than two events that draw fewer than 100 people, especially since there's no guarantee that the $10,000 no-limit 2-7 single draw event won't see an uptick in players and eclipse the 100-player mark.

I'm going to set the over/under at 2.5, with payouts of +160 on the over and -200 on the under.

9. Players in the Big One for One Drop
As mentioned previously, the cap for this tournament is set at 56 players. Two years ago, the tournament had a 48-player cap and that cap was hit. However, if the cap had been 56 then, it's doubtful the tournament would have sold out, as only a small handful of players were left on the sidelines.

That said, the hype behind this tournament is huge, and with 33 players already committed, I think the odds favor another sellout. I'm setting the over/under line at 55.5 players, with odds of +500 on the under and -700 on the over.

8. Players disqualified for taking chips off the table
There has been a lot of talk about people removing chips from tournament play lately. Some say they are doing it because they are looking to keep a souvenir. Other contend that these chip thefts are really an attempt to gain an edge, either by using the chips on another bullet in re-entry events, or to use in another event at a later date.

There's no doubt in my mind that some idiot is going to do this at this year's WSOP, and my guess is that idiot will be caught and thrown out. The question is, will more than one do it? I'm setting the over/under at 1.5 players, with the line at -110 on both sides.

7. Will a former Main Event champ win a bracelet?
Of the 29 living former Main Event champs, there are really only 10-12 that will play an intense schedule at this year's WSOP, by my count. Of those, I think Jonathan Duhamel, Phil Hellmuth, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen and Greg Raymer are the most likely to win a bracelet. (I'm leaving Joe Hachem off this list because he hasn't cashed in a WSOP event in Las Vegas in the last two years as he's scaled back his schedule a great deal.) Many of the recent champions will be focusing on no-limit Hold'em events, which draw much larger fields and are more difficult to navigate. However, the list above is a pretty impressive one, so I'm going to put the price on a "Yes" bet at -150, with a "No" bet at +110.

6. Daniel Negreanu/Phil Ivey bracelet bet
As discussed on a recent edition of the Casino City Gang podcast, Daniel Negreanu is offering even-money odds on a bet that either he or Phil Ivey will win a bracelet at this year's WSOP. Casino City Associate Editor Dan Podheiser and I crunched some numbers, and we think Negreanu is overestimating his and Ivey's chances a bit here.

Say both players enter 25 events this year, excluding the Big One for One Drop and the Main Event. And let's assume an average of 300 entries in those 25 tournaments, since they'll be playing a lot of the $10,000 mixed-game events. If tournaments were completely random, either Negreanu or Ivey would win one of these tournaments 1/150 times. But we know that there's a great deal of skill involved, so let's say Negreanu and Ivey are twice as likely to win as the rest of the field and put their chances at 1/75, or 1.3 percent.

If they both enter 25 events with those odds, there's a 71.5 percent chance that they finish the summer without any hardware. Of course, this doesn't take into account the Big One for One Drop, which has a 56-player cap. And let's be more than generous and give them a 4x advantage over the field, giving the duo a 14.3 percent chance to win. Combined with the 71.5 percent fail rate for the other 25 tournaments, Negreanu and Ivey still won't finish the summer with a bracelet 61.3 percent of the time. Let's again be generous and say that they have a 1 percent chance of winning the Main Event. This brings their odds for failure for the summer down to 60.67 percent. I'm not saying they won't win a bracelet, but I am saying I don't think they're favorites to do so.

So if I were a bookmaker, I'd offer even sweeter odds on Negreanu's end of the bargain. I'd take "Yes" bets at +150 and "No" bets at -200.

5. Level in which the $1,500 Monster Stack ends
Event #51, the $1,500 no-limit Hold'em Monster Stack, is a first for the WSOP. Instead of players starting with the standard chip stack of three times the buy-in, players will start with 15,000 in tournament chips. That's quite a stack for a tournament with 25/25 blinds in the first level.

I think this tournament will be a big draw, bringing in close to 4,000 entries. The best part of the structure sheet for this event is that it has just 30 levels outlined, with the blinds at level 30 reaching just 50,000/100,000. This event may need to reach blinds of 500,000/1,000,000, and I'm sure updated structure sheets will reflect that later. (The tournament is scheduled for four days, with 10-11 levels planned for each day.)

Based on what I think the structure will look like beyond level 30, I'm guessing blinds will be 250,000/500,000 at level 37, 300,000/600,000 at level 38, 400,000/800,000 at level 39 and 500,000/1,000,000 at level 40. I think the tournament will end somewhere during that time period, so I'll give 5/1 odds on it ending in level 37, 4/1 in level 38, 3/1 in levels 38 and 39 and 4/1 in level 40.

4. Players in the Millionaire Maker vs. the Main Event
Last year's inaugural $1,500 no-limit Hold'em Millionaire Maker made history as the largest single-day entry event in poker history, drawing a total of 6,343 entries. The Main Event last year drew just nine more with 6,352.

I don't think the bloom has faded off this rose, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this tournament eclipse 6,500 entries. I know the Main Event is creating a bit of hype with its $10 million guarantee for first place this year, but the Main Event is trending down lately, with entries falling by an average of 4.6 percent per year in three post-Black Friday tournaments.

I think the Millionaire Maker is going to outdraw the Main Event this year, but it's going to be close. I'll offer odds of -140 on the Millionaire Maker to draw a bigger field than the Main Event, with +100 odds on the Main to draw more entries.

3. Who is Anonymous Asian Businessman?
The WSOP recently announced that 10 more people had registered for the Big One for One Drop, including one "Anonymous Asian Businessman." The announcement drew the attention of Dan Shak, who tweeted this response.




Of course, the intent was to signal to professional players that at least one of the high rollers that play in the games in Macau is going to be making the trip to Vegas for this event, so they should try to jump in to take advantage of the dead money.

Obviously the most likely person is Richard Yong, who finished eighth in this event two years ago and who has not appeared on the list of confirmed players. I'll list him at -2000. Other nominees include Jian Yang (2013 PokerStars Asia Player of the Year), who I'll list at +400 and Winfred Yu, who I'll list at +600.

2. Will second place in the Main Event pay $5 million?
Last year, Jay Farber won more than $5.1 million for finishing second in the Main Event. This year, with a $10 million guarantee for first, the payout equation changes.

In order to get to a $5 million second-place prize, the Main Event will need to eclipse more than 6,400 entries. I think it's going to be close, but I think the WSOP is a dog to get there. I'll offer -140 on "No" and +100 on "Yes."

1. Over/under 6,352 in the Main Event
Of course, the most watched number of all this year will be the number of entries in the Main Event. Will the $10 million guarantee stop the slide in Main Event entries this year? I think the guarantee will help, but I don't think it's enough to make the over here a slam dunk. I think it's a toss up, so I'm offering -120 on both sides of this one.

Think you can beat my odds?
Then follow me on Twitter and send me your bets. You have a $5,000 fictional bankroll. Split your money up any way you like, but you must make at least three bets of at least $500. The person with the biggest profit at the end of the WSOP will win a prize TBD.
Top-10 World Series of Poker prop bets is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.