Between 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who will you pick in a recent major World Series of Poker main event?
LAS VEGAS – Poker is famous for prop bets between players, but what about the rest of us?
As I walked through the Rio Convention Center on Wednesday, Day 2AB of the World Series of Poker Main Event, I kept wishing I could make some prop bets and wondering why I couldn’t do that here in Vegas has enforced.
Up until 2010, the sportsbook here was not allowed to take bets on the WSOP (there are legendary stories of legal and illegal bookmakers having run WSOP promotions in the past, but that’s another story entirely) as it doesn’t take place on a sports ground. However, in 2011, the Nevada Gaming Control Board took what was then considered a big step by removing this restriction.
Most of the sportsbooks in the city started offering odds for the final table of this year’s Main Event (aka the November Nine), while Caesars Entertainment, host Rio’s parent company, offered a few props like “Will the first flop have more reds or black cards?” (-110 each way), “Who will finish ninth?”, “What will be the last winning hand?” (Pair was the 1-3 favourite) and “How many hands will be dealt at the final table?” ( with segments from “less than 180” to “301 or more”).
In the years that followed, Caesars dropped the other props and, like the other casinos, only offered odds for the 9th of November. Howard Greenbaum, vice president of specialty games at Caesars Entertainment, told me the props didn’t generate enough interest, so they decided to just focus on the odds.
Looking back, I wonder if the props didn’t attract bets because of several outside factors.
- I don’t think the casinos have talked about this enough.
- The time we are talking about was before the explosion of smartphone apps that now allow Nevada bettors to bet from anywhere in the state; You would now have access to all lines without having to be physically at the Rio or any other book.
- Maybe the props just weren’t interesting enough.
If I kept a sports journal (which I don’t), these would be the prop bets I wanted to make for this year’s World Series of Poker.
Will Colossus II have over/under 25,000 players?
This prop would have been a huge win for any casino willing to book it as EVERYONE predicted the event would break last year’s record of 22,374, but it only attracted 21,613 instead.
Will the Main Event go over/under 6,240 players (the total number of entries from the 2015 Main Event)?
This is a much-discussed prediction every year at the WSOP and would certainly result in a solid hold – the over would have gone in the money with 6,737 players this year.
Over/under the second break on Day 4 (Friday 15th July) to burst the money bubble?
The WSOP.com updates page is projecting it to “burst very early on day 4” so I’ll make it below -150/above +130
Will at least two players make the final table in Ben Keeline’s ‘last longer’?
It sounds like this has to be a far-fetched price for the yes, but Keeline’s competition had two players at the final table on Colossus I and II, so you might get a few takers at the right price.
Will the Main Event Champion be over/under 30?
The median age in this year’s field is 40.08, but the youngest champions were all much younger.
Which continent will the Main Event Champion come from?
Eighty countries are represented in this year’s Main Event, but that’s too many to make a quota. North America would have to give less than money here.
Which Past Main Event Champion Will Last Longer?
That would be a great conversation starter, but I think it would also spark action – including the former champions themselves who might be willing to bet on themselves at decent odds. Former champions in this year’s field: Tom McEvoy, Johnny Chan, Huck Seed, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson, Robert Varkonyi, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Cada, Greg Merson, Ryan Riess, Martin Jacobson and Joe McKeehen.
Of course, this opens the door to all sorts of head-to-head bets, just like we see in golf and auto racing. See if you think any of these would attract bets:
Howard Lederer vs. Chris Ferguson (Former Full Tilt Board Members)
Phil Hellmuth vs. Phil Ivey (Battle of the Phils, the top two players on the WSOP bracelet list of all time)
Ray Romano vs. Brad Garrett (Sibling Rivalry from “Everybody Loves Raymond”)
Richard Seymour vs Antoine Winfield (former NFL player)
Vanessa Self vs. Mario Ho (there might also be a “Last Woman Standing” prop)
Again, if I were running a sportsbook (which I don’t), I would welcome bet suggestions from customers. What prop bets or head-to-head matchups would you like to see on the board? Reply in the comment section below if you have some ideas.
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