The World Series of Poker, a month and a half of high-stakes poker action in Las Vegas, winds down starting on Saturday when the epic Main Event gets underway. That’s where literally thousands of people pay $10,000 each for a shot at winning it all — millions of dollars and fame in the poker world. The Main Event is the biggest event on the poker calendar, though it has been muted somewhat this year since Antonio Esfandiari just won more than $18 million in the richest poker tournament ever — a $1 million buy-in event that finished on Tuesday.
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The Main Event will be lucky to pay half that much to the winner this year, but it will still be exciting. More importantly, you can bet on it. Bovada has a wide range of props on offer for the Main Event. Here’s a look at three of the more interesting:
Which of these past champions will last longer — Jonathan Duhamel, Pius Heinz, Joe Cada, Peter Eastgate, Jerry Yang?
That list represents the last five winners of the Main Event. Yang, the 2007 Champion, is the longest shot in the field at +400. He should be. Outside of his Main Event win he has never really been a serious player, only plays rarely, and typically plays in much smaller buy-in events than pros do. He’s an amateur who had a very good day, and lightning isn’t likely to strike twice.
When Heinz won last year it was just his second cash in a live tournament. He hasn’t done a whole lot since, and really doesn’t justify his +300 price — he’s tied with Duhamel as the favorite, and that just doesn’t make sense.
Cada won in 2009. He struggled to put together any real success after that, though he has had a good WSOP this year — a second-place finish in an earlier event netted him more than $410,000. He’s not a top-level player on a consistent basis, though, and is no bargain at +350.
That leaves us with Duhamel and Eastgate. Eastgate won in 2008, added some nice scores in the following year, then announced his retirement from the game. That didn’t last long, and a $200,000 cash at the beginning of July shows that he is shaking off the rust. He’s a decent option at +350. Duhamel at +300 is much more attractive, though. He won in 2010, and has had a lot of success since — including three six-figure scores worth more than a million dollars in total in a week in January. He has cashed three times at the WSOP, played in the million dollar buy-in tournament at the beginning of July, and is by far the most successful in this field.
The most talented doesn’t always last the longest, but Duhamel is the clear choice.
Who will last longer — Viktor Blom or Tom Dwan?
These two are known not for their tournament play but for the dizzying amounts they have made — and lost — online. Dwan is known as Durrr while Blom is Isildur1. The prices for both are -120.
Both are extremely talented, though their Internet success is due in large part to their nearly reckless aggressiveness. That means either could be out in the first minutes of the tournament and it wouldn’t be a surprise.
I would give Blom the edge in this bet. It is his first World Series, so he should be more focused and captivated by the tournament. Dwan has played before, and he has a habit of losing focus and playing poorly if he isn’t interested. He played in the million dollar buy-in tournament and plays regularly for massive stakes in cash games, so unless he builds a big stack early he is likely to get bored and take unnecessary risks.
The biggest problem with this prop is that one player must cash in order for it to have action, and only the top 10 percent of the field cash. With the aggressive style they both play it’s far more likely that neither will cash than any other possibility, so chances are that this is a bet that won’t amount to much in the end.
Will a woman make the final table?
There will be nine players at that table. Only one woman has ever made the last group of players — Barbara Enright was fifth in 1995. The field is traditionally made up of about three percent women, so it’s an uphill battle for sure. The level of play amongst women is growing rapidly, though, and players such as Vanessa Selbst are among the best in the world regardless of gender. At some point it is going to happen again, and the fact you can get 10/1 to bet that this is the year is attractive on multiple levels.
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