When the World Series of Poker’s Main Event final table reconvenes, the November Nine will be playing for high stakes: the winner will ultimately walk away with $10 million and become a household name among poker fans. But for the rest of us, there’s still a way to make a little money on the outcome, even if you’re not at the table.
Over the past few years, it has become traditional for sportsbooks to offer odds on the Main Event final table, especially since there’s plenty of time to debate the outcome between the summer tournament and the November finale. That betting season is once again underway, as the first odds have been posted for this year’s championship table.
The first odds, posted at Carbon Sports, are mostly based on the chip counts of the players, though a few adjustments have been made based on the perceived skill of the competitors. The chip leader is the Netherlands’ Jorryt van Hoof, who comes into the final table with 38,375,000 chips. Not surprisingly, that has also made him the betting favorite: the Carbon Sports odds have him at +250, meaning a $100 bet would win $250 should he ultimately take down the crown.
From there, the odds get longer as the stacks get shorter. Felix Stephensen (32.775 chips) is second choice at +350. Meanwhile, back-to-back November Nine member Mark Newhouse is 3rd in chips and the betting at +400, though those odds seem a little shorter than they would otherwise be, thanks to his pedigree of having been to the final table before.
The most dramatic difference between chip counts and betting odds comes from Martin Jacobson. The Swedish poker pro is entering the final table with just 14.9 million in chips, making him the second shortest stack. However, Carbon has made him sixth choice at +750 odds, similar to the +700 odds on Andoni Larrabe and Dan Sindelar, who are in the middle of the chip counts.
This is likely due to the fact that Jacobson has the most impressive resume of any player still in the competition. He has over $4.8 million in lifetime tournament earnings, much of which has come from success on the European Poker Tour. Jacobson also cashed three times at this year’s WSOP.
But while it can be tempting to bet on the players you think are best, it’s also true that the skill level gap is quite small at this level. After all, just by getting to this point, the nine remaining players have proven that they have a reasonably high level of poker skill, meaning that chip counts are more likely to determine a player’s chances of winning at this point rather than the small edges they may have over their opponents.
That may not cause too many problems for bettors this year, but it has in the past when big names have made the final table. Just last year, J.C. Tran entered the final table with a chip lead, causing Bovada to post him as an early 9-5 favorite, far shorter odds than his share of the chips would suggest. In the end, it was the much more reasonably priced Ryan Riess (6-1) who ultimately took down the title, earning himself over $8.3 million in prize money, not to mention a few bucks for anyone who placed a bet on him.