World Series of Poker 2011- enter the prop bet [Editorial]
Monday, 16 May 2011
It’s quite frankly ridiculous to be saying this but we have two weeks until the 2011 World Series of Poker begins the first of 58 events across eight weeks at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
It seems that the longer I spend in the poker media, the quicker the WSOP comes around every year. The $25,000 Heads-Up NL event, new for this year, is sure to kick things off in style with a bucketload of US online players with a heads-up fix to get after Black Friday.
I’ve been following the WSOP since Joe Hachem won in 2005 (it’s just hit me that’s it’s been six years. Christ.) and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the WSOP isn’t just a series of poker tournaments. It’s a reunion for the best players in the world as they come together from the high stakes cash games all over the world; it’s the one chance a year Joe Everyman has a shot of playing with his poker heroes; hell, it’s the one chance a year Joe Everyman has a chance of becoming one of those heroes. Look at Chris Moneymaker.
The WSOP is an event in every sense of the world and just one aspect of this multi-faceted spectrum of poker joyousness is the prop betting. Cross-booking, last longers, must wins – these bets happen among gamblers at every poker tournament but the ones that the poker world hears about and follows are the bracelet bets; the prop bets made on World Series of Poker tournaments.
Players like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu need this six- and seven-figure side action to keep them interested in entering a tournament worth one small blind in their cash games, playing for four days and final tabling for the size of a decent pot in their side games. Ivey famously had to ask how much the first prize was when he won his eighth bracelet – he simply wasn’t all that bothered about the $300,000 plus he had just made when he was up two or three times that in bracelet bets.
It would be hard to pick my favourite moments as a railbird of this WSOP, though I can say that in my top three for sure would be Tom “durrrrr” Dwan final tabling Event #11, a $1,500 NL Hold ‘em event. He maintained his focus across a week to reach the final table of an event where the buy-in was literally the cost of the small and big blinds in his online cash games because of his bracelet bets. Dwan, an online cash game legend with – then – little live experience and even less tournament play under his belt, stood to win millions of dollars if he secured a bracelet at the WSOP. When asked if the bet was worth eight figures to him, he had to think about it before replying in the negative and speculation was that the difference between his eventual 2nd place prize of $381,885 and the bracelet was over seven million dollars. The biggest names in the poker world abandoned their $10,000 Stud 8 event to rail the event, biting nails as Dwan came within one player (New Zealand’s Simon Watt) of doing more damage to the high stakes poker community than anyone since Andy Beal.
With Negreanu’s bets now declared expect to see a lot of action. True, a lot of money has been taken out of the US poker community which may affect the action but if Phil Ivey picks up his tenth bracelet this year then Howard Lederer is still out $5,000,000. Speaking of the man himself, Ivey is a fiend for prop bets in the WSOP and we can certainly expect him to be one of the players taking Negreanu up on the KidPoker v. Anyone Else bracelet bets. I don’t know who I’d pick; I believe that Ivey, Negreanu and Erik Seidel are the most likely contenders to win a bracelet this year.
For the Brits, I would back Sam Trickett. The boy’s due. My dark horse for a bracelet? I hate to say it, but Phil Hellmuth – Black Friday might work in his favour by reducing the Online Players With Solid Fundamentals > Hellmuth’s Reading Abilities factor in the NL events. I still wouldn’t bet on him winning #12 for any less than 6-1 though. Anyone wanna book it?