Thursday, November 03, 2011

Betting Guide to the 2011 November Nine

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

In case you were wondering, and I know many of you degenerates are always looking for excuses to gamble, here's the latest odds for the 2011 WSOP Main Event final table, otherwise known as the November Nine...
2011 November Nine Odds
Martin Staszko 4/1
Eoghan Odea 9/2
Ben Lamb 5/1
Phil Collins 5/1
Matt Giannetti 13/2
Pius Heinz 10/1
Badih Bounahra 12/1
Anton Makievskyi 12/1
Samuel Holden 15/1

** Odds courtesy of The Camel and

2011 November Nine Seating Assignments:
Seat 1: Matt Giannetti
Seat 2: Badih Bounahra
Seat 3: Eoghan O'Dea
Seat 4: Phil Collins
Seat 5: Anton Makievskyi
Seat 6: Samuel Holden
Seat 7: Pius Heinz
Seat 8: Ben Lamb
Seat 9: Martin Staszko

November Nine Chip Counts:
1. Martin Staszko - 40,175,000
2. Eoghan O'Dea - 33,925,000
3. Matt Giannetti - 24,750,000
4. Phil Collins - 23,875,000
5. Ben Lamb - 20,875,000
6. Badih Bounahra - 19,700,000
7. Pius Heinz - 16,425,000
8. Anton Makievskyi - 13,825,000
9. Sam Holden - 12,375,000

November Nine - Final Table Payouts
1st - $8,711,956
2nd - $5,430,928
3rd - $4,019,635
4th - $3,011,661
5th - $2,268,909
6th - $1,720,396
7th - $1,313,851
8th - $1,009,910
9th - $782,115
This is the first year that Las Vegas casinos allow proposition wagering on the World Series of Poker. Sports betting on poker is not a precise science yet because oddmakers and gamblers have a very small set of numbers to worth with. This is not like professional football in which oddmakers have models and algorithms to consult in addition to the old fashioned "eye test" to see if a team can legitimately cover a point spread on both paper and in real life. Poker is not like MMA or boxing, and you can't just look at Puis Heinz and say he won't be able to handle Anton Makievskyi.

So what do you look for? Stack sizes? Betting the chip leader isn't always the best strategy. It's only panned out once in the last three final tables.

The luck factor adds difficulty into making a sound decision. You're essentially betting on the guy who puts himself in the best situation to get lucky -- and often times luck is not coming from behind to win a hand or hitting all your draws, but rather, avoiding misfortune by winning all of your coinflips and evading suckouts at advantageous moments.

You're also looking for value and a player who will pay off something close to what he's really worth if goes deep and wins it all.

Will the major betting syndicates get in on this racket? I doubt they'll make a major play because of the uncontrollable variables which makes it tough to minimize their risk. Rather, the majority of action will be wagered by hardcore poker fans and the curious tourist that happens to be in Vegas this weekend. He/she probably watched a few episodes of the WSOP on ESPN and decided to drop $25 on a player.

The WSOP Main Event is not like the Superbowl when amateur bettors flock to the windows to place bets on random things like the coinflip or the length of the national anthem. If the November Nine odds lures in a few drunks on The Strip, they'd probably place bets on a whim will go with familiar names like Phil Collins or Ben Lamb. It's a pick driven by psychology. The European names are just too weird for anyone to pronounce, especially with a few Irish car bombs pumping through their system. Based on that assumption (drunks don't like complicated names), if anyone wants to bet a longshot, it'll be Sam Holden due to the simplicity of his name.

Ben Lamb is overvalued because everyone and his mother who is easily swayed by "awards" will take into account his most-recent Player of the Year victory. Lamb and Phil Hellmuth were neck-and-neck going into the Main Event, but Lamb finally locked up the title with a deep run in the Main Event. Numbers/awards aside, Lamb certainly played well enough across the entire summer to deserve the POY honor, but he could have won a Nobel Prize and the Westminster Dog Show and it still wouldn't alter the randomness of the hands he'll see at the final table and how he'll choose to play them.

The chip leader and most popular guy have been historically overvalued. But, the long shots should be much higher in excess of +1500 and closer to +2000. That's why you have to analyze the guys in the middle. They have the potential for most value if they win the Main Event. With that said, I like Matt Giannetti at +575 and love him of the line moves northward of 600.

* * *

2010 November Nine Odds:
Jonathan Duhamel +180
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi +250
John Dolan +250
Joseph "subiime" Cheong +350
Matthew Jarvis +700
John Racener +700
Soi Nguyen +1200
Filippo Candio +1200
Jason Senti +2000
In 2010, the overall favorite and chip leader Jonathan Duhamel won the Main Event -- the only favorite to ever do so. His odds were listed at +180 and he beat John Racener (+700) heads-up. The bookies gave the popular "Grinder" the second favorite at +250.

The Grinder embarked on a remarkable run at the 2010 WSOP and edged out Frank Kasella as Player of the Year, which was anchored by his victory in the 50K Players' Championship. The Grinder eventually finished the Main Event in 5th place. His real odds were much higher, but don't forget the bookies adjust lines to accommodate their positions after the original lines are released. The +250 they set for the Grinder didn't equate to what place they thought he'd finish. The +250 line was in place protect themselves just in case the most popular guy won and they'd be on the hook for almost twice as much cash. Similar thing happened with Phil Ivey in 2009.

Last year, I bet on Joe "subiime" Cheong at +350. I felt that he offered the best value for his price. Cheong finished in a disappointing third place. If he didn't imploded on the infamous hand that sunk his Main Event dreams, who knows what could have happened.

John Racener at +700 ended up being a sound wager because the bubblegum chewing Racener lost to Duhamel heads-up. He was listed as the 6th favorite (or 4th longshot if you want to look at it in those terms). The year before, Joe Cada was in a similar spot and took down the Main Event.

* * *

2009 November Nine Odds:
Darvin Moon +225
Eric Buchman +350
Phil Ivey +350
Happy Shulman +500
Steven Begleiter +500
Joe Cada +1000
Kevin Schaffel +1200
James Akenhead +1200
Antoine Saout +1500
Phil Ivey's numbers were tweaked because he's Phil Fucking Ivey and everyone with a pulse put down a bet on him. I bet on him at crappy odds because he's Phil Fucking Ivey. He should have been listed much higher, but so much money was put down on Ivey that the bookies wanted to minimize their losses just in case he pulled off a victory. Alas, the living legend never got any momentum going and despite the pro-Ivey crowd, he busted in 5th place. Seconds after his elimination, the majority of the Penn and Teller Theatre emptied and energy level fizzled out to a faint whimper.

The Luddite logger Darvin Moon was listed as 2/1 because he held an overwhelming chip lead and the poker gods seemed to have blessed him during his journey to the final table. Moon found himself pitted heads-up against the baby-faced kid from Michigan Joe Cada. Cada getting 10/1 odds would've paid off handsomely if you had the balls to pull the trigger on the unknown player. Alas, it wasn't one of the chip leaders like Moon or Buchman who prevailed. Nor was it the consummate professional in Phil Ivey. Nope, it was one of the random guys at the back of the pack.

* * *

2008 November Nine Odds:
Dennis Phillips +425
Ivan Demidov +425
Scott Montgomery +475
Peter Eastgate +525
Ylon Schwartz +800
David Rheem +850
Darus Suharto +900
Craig Marquis +950
Kelly Kim +2500
In the inaugural November Nine the books erred on the side of caution because the November Nine has never happened before, so no one knew what to expect. The big question marks surrounded the layoff -- would it benefit some players more so than others? And more importantly, how would that affect the betting odds?

Dennis Phillips was the people's choice. He had the "aww shucks" attitude from the moment the spotlight got turned onto him, which is a rare form of charm mostly found in prairie statement politicians and door-to-door insurance salesmen. The fact that he was also the chip leader tweaked his numbers. Don't forget when someone who is not a savvy bettor wants action, they usually go with what is familiar to them. Hence, why the public loved betting on Phillips.

Chino Rheem was the "pro's favorite" that year and most of the people associated with the poker industry put their money on Chino because based on time logged at the live tables, he had the best chance to win. Besides, he also owed the most money to everyone else in poker, which is why everyone was rooting for him. The higher he finished, the better the chances all of his debt collectors would get paid.

The 4th highest favorite, Peter Eastgate, won the championship and became the youngest player to do so in the process -- smashing Phil Hellmuth's record. It's fitting that five years after the Moneymaker Effect, a Scandi who barely shaves, took down the WSOP Main Event.

* * *

So what does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing.

But if you like small sample sizes.... since the inception of the November Nine, only one favorite (Jonathan Duhamel) won the Main Event. Your best bet is someone in the middle of the pack like Joe Cada (2009) or Peter Eastgate (2008). That's why I like Matt Gianetti at +575 or 13/2 at online sportsbooks according to The Camel. Besides, Giannetti won a WPT event on my birthday, so I take that as a positive sign.

I've already placed wagers on O'Dea (safe bet) and Gianetti (value play).

I know I haven't specifically spoken about Eoghan O'Dea, but I like the Irishman's style of play and more importantly, he's a second generation gambler. Poker is in his blood. His father is one of the godfathers of Irish poker Don O'Dea. It's hard to bet against royalty and someone who's been breathing poker since he popped out of his momma's womb.

That's it for now. Consult your local bookie, online sportsbook, or check the betting windows in Vegas for the latest odds. Get your bets in before Sunday! Good luck.

The November Nine kicks off semi-live with hole cards on ESPN2 at 3:30pm ET. You can also view it online at ESPN3.


  1. "Lamb finally locked up the title with a strong performance in Cannes. "

    Lamb had no cashes and zero points in Cannes. He survived two great runs by Buchanan and Moorman, but both of them fell short. If Lamb had stayed home from France, he'd still be Player of the Year.

  2. Totally correct. I fixed that sentence.