LEILA NAVIDI / LAS VEGAS SUN file
Friday, June 12, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
Sanctioned betting on the outcome of the World Series of Poker, now in full swing at the Rio, is not permitted under Nevada gaming regulations, though a lively market exists in other jurisdictions.
Even if you have no intention of betting any World Series propositions, following the betting lines can be valuable in gaining a feel for how the tournament is expected to play out.
Following is a sampling of intriguing props from the worldwide betting marketplace ...
The prop: Will a woman finish in the top 25 of the World Series of Poker main event?
The odds: No, minus 177 (risk $1.77 to win $1). Yes, plus 157 (risk $1 to net $1.57), according to the offshore betting shop Pinnacle.
The skinny: The 55 “bracelet events” at last year’s World Series of Poker attracted 31,146 players who composed a total of 58,720 entries. Of those, 91.4 percent were male. The best finish by a woman in last year’s main event, which drew 6,844 players, was 17th place.
The prop: Will a woman make the final table of the main event?
The odds: No, minus 840. Yes, plus 740.
The skinny: The top nine make up the final table. The top finish by a woman in a World Series main event was by Barbara Enright (fifth in 1995), when the tournament had 273 entrants. Susie Isaacs placed 10th in 1998, when there were 350 entrants. Annie Duke placed 10th in 2000, when there were 512 entrants.
The prop: Will the winner of the main event be a player who was born in the United States?
The odds: No, minus 135. Yes, plus 119.
The skinny: Last year’s final table had five players from the U.S. and one each from Canada, Denmark, Indonesia and Russia. Argentina (89th place), Brazil (55th place), Romania (22nd place) and Venezuela (33rd place) all had their best main event finishes to date in last year’s tournament. Besides the U.S., past World Series main event champions have been natives of Denmark, Iran, Ireland, Lebanon, Ecuador, Laos, Vietnam and China. Players from 124 countries and territories participated in last year’s World Series, up from 87 in 2007, 54 in 2006, 41 in 2005 and 24 in 2004.
The prop: Will Jerry Yang cash in the main event?
The odds: No, minus 860. Yes, plus 760.
The skinny: Of the 50-plus individual players on the board at Pinnacle, Yang commands the highest price on the “no cash” side. Yang won the 2007 main event, which had 6,358 entrants, but busted out early last year. Jamie Gold, the 2006 champion, also fails to command much respect from oddsmakers or bettors, with odds of minus 850 he will not finish in the money. The payout structure depends on the number of entrants.
The prop: Will Phil Ivey cash in the main event?
The odds: Yes, plus 380. No, minus 460.
The skinny: The odds on Ivey making the money are the shortest on the board at Pinnacle, meaning he is given the best chance of all players listed. Ivey won his sixth career World Series bracelet this year in a $2,500-entry deuce-to-7 tournament. He’s closely followed by Barry Greenstein at plus 400 and several players at plus 420, including Chris Ferguson, Bertrand Grospellier and Erick Lindgren. Defending champ Peter Eastgate also has the respect of oddsmakers, at plus 430 to cash.
The prop: Who will last longer in the main event, Barry Greenstein or Joe Sebok?
The odds: Greenstein, minus 138. Sebok, plus 122.
The skinny: Given the short odds attached to Greenstein’s chances of cashing in the main event, it’s no surprise he’s heavily favored against Sebok, his stepson. Of the 22 head-to-head matchups on the board at Pinnacle, Greenstein is the biggest favorite. Also heavily favored are Allen Cunningham, minus 137 against Matthew Glantz; and Kathy Liebert, minus 133 against Vanessa Rousso.
The prop: What will be the age of the winner of the main event?
The odds: The favorite is age 31-35 at odds of 7-2, followed by 26-30 (4-1); 36-40 (4-1); 21-25 (9-2); 51 or older (5-1); 41-45 (11-2); and 46-50 (13-2), according to the Irish betting operation Paddy Power.
The skinny: The average age of last year’s final table participants was 31.8 years, with five finalists in their 20s. The median age of the entrants in all World Series events last year was 37, with 31.7 percent of entrants ages 30-39; 23.9 percent ages 21-29; 22.4 percent ages 40-49; 13.3 percent ages 50-59; 7.2 percent ages 60-69; and 1.4 percent age 70 and up.
The prop: Which player will last the longest in the $50,000-entry HORSE mixed-games championship tournament?
The odds: Of nine players on the board at the offshore betting operation Bodog, defending champ Scotty Nguyen is a 5-1 favorite.
The skinny: Freddy Deeb, the 2007 winner, follows Nguyen at 11-2 along with Justin Bonomo and David Williams, also 11-2.