In the two days since the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event was put on hold until November, plenty of bookmakers have priced up the “November Nine” and are now accepting bets. It’s always interesting to get the informed view of the bookmakers as, let’s face it, you never see a poor one; so let’s do just that.
Martin Staszko – 40,175,000 tournament chips – best price 9/2 (5.50), SportingBet
The favourite to take the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship bracelet is understandably Martin Staszko, as he will return to the Rio in November with the chip lead.
Staszko has burst on to the live poker scene this summer, with not only his first World Series of Poker cash, but five of them, including the Main Event. He’s known to online poker players “filfedra” and has cashed for over $100,000 on the internet, including a recent victory in a PokerStars SCOOP event.
35 year old Martin Staszko is the first player from the Czech Republic to make a World Series of Poker Main Event final table and is a rated a best price of 9/2 (5.50) by most bookmakers, though he is a short as 7/2 (4.50) with Bet365.
Eoghan O’Dea – 33,925,000 tournament chips – best price 9/2 (5.50), bwin
Irishman Eoghan O’Dea, son of former WSOP Main Event final tablist Donnacha, is widely available to back for the title at 9/2 (5.50). This reflects his sizeable chip stack, plus his experience in live poker that has seen him rack up over $700,000 in tournament earnings, including big scores at the WPT Marrakech and the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII.
26 year old O’Dea also plays online poker under the handle “intruder123” and is known for taking down the 2008 iPoker European Championship of Online Poker main event, winning $315,000 for his efforts.
O’Dea is yet to match his father in terms of winning a WSOP bracelet, but if if he were to triumph in November, he would undoubtedly surpass the efforts of his old man.
Matt Giannetti – 24,750,000 tournament chips – best price 13/2 (7.50), bwin
American Matt Giannetti launched an impressive come back towards the end of the final day’s poker at the Rio, tripling his chip stack and catapulting into third place. As a result, the bookmakers rate him as a 13/2 (7.50) chance for World Series glory.
Giannetti has cashed eight times at the World Series of Poker, including a fourth place finish in a 2009 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament, and has picked up almost half a million dollars from live tournaments.
And just in case you were doubting his staying power, Giannetti once collected $15,000 in a prop bet that saw him stand in a pool for 12 hours!
Phil Collins – 23,875,000 tournament chips – best price 6/1 (7.00), Bet365
No, it’s not the former Genesis musician, it’s the American poker pro Phil Collins. Known online as “USCphildo”, Collins has bagged over $3 million in tournament earnings, to add to the $125,000 or so in live winnings – results that include six cashes at the World Series of Poker.
Some of his biggest scores include Full Tilt’s $1,000 Monday tournament and a PokerStars $100 rebuy event. The bookmakers rate his World Series of Poker Main Event chances at around 11/2 (6.50), though Bet365 make Collins a stand out price of 6/1 (7.00).
Ben Lamb – 20,875,000 tournament chips – best price 6/1 (7.00), Bet365
Ben Lamb will need no introduction to anybody following the 2011 World Series of Poker, having already won over $1.3 million – plus a bracelet – from this series alone. And that’s before you factor in the guaranteed $782,115 from the Main Event.
The American poker pro is also a capable online player. Known as “benba”, he’s won over a million dollars from internet poker tournaments, including a score at the 2010 Spring Championship of Online Poker.
Lamb is a best price of 6/1 (7.00) with Bet365, which looks a great value be; especially when you consider that most of the bookmakers have Lamb priced at 5/1 (6.00) for WSOP Main Event glory.
Badih Bounahra – 19,700,000 tournament chips – best price , SportingBet
Badih Bounahra, known as “Bob”, is the oldest November Niner at the age of 49. A resident of Belize, he is originally from Lebanon and his day job is managing the poker room at the Princess Casino in Be14/1 (15.00)lize City.
Prior to the 2011 WSOP Main Event, Bounahra’s only WSOP cash was in 2008, when he placed 51st in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event. His biggest win came on the LAPT, when he collected $30,054 for winning an event back in 2008.
Bounahra is not particularly well fancied by the bookmakers and is generally available to back at 14/1 (15.00).
Pius Heinz – 16,425,000 tournament chips – best price 11/1 (12.00), SportingBet
Pius Heinz, known to the online poker world as “MastaP89”, is a 22 year old student from Germany – the first German player to reach the November Nine. Heinz has had plenty of success online too, winning Full Tilt Poker’s Sunday Mulligan in July 2010, as well as the PokerStars $150,000 Guarantee.
In the live poker arena, Heinz only made his breakthrough this summer; his first major cash came earlier in the 2011 World Series of Poker, when he placed seventh in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $83,286.
Heinz is a best price of 11/1 (12.00) with SportingBet, though Paddy Power make the youngster a 15/2 (8.50) chance.
Anton Makievskyi – 13,825,000 tournament chips – best price 12/1 (13.00), Bet365
21 year old student Anton Makievskyi will return to the Rio with the second shortest chip stack and as such, is rated a 12/1 (13.00) shot by Bet365. The bookmakers appear to be playing safe with the chances of Makievskyi, as he is such an unknown quantity.
With no major live tournament successes to his name, and nothing known of his online poker activities, Makievskyi could well prove to be the joker in the WSOP Main Event pack.
Should the Ukrainian win the bracelet, he would become the youngest player ever to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Sam Holden – 12,375,000 tournament chips – best price 18/1 (19.00), Bet365
The last remaining Brit in the World Series of Poker 2011 Main Event field, 22 year old Sam Holden cut his poker teeth in a student poker society. These days though, he’s a poker professional, playing online under the moniker “SamDMND” with great success.
Holden chopped the first PokerStars Sunday Million after the events of “Black Friday”, collecting $54,390 in the process and is a former winner of Full Tilt’s $200K Double Deuce event. In total, Holden has scooped almost $300,000 playing online poker. He can play live too though, taking down a side event at the Newcastle leg of the UKIPT a fortnight ago.
Sam Holden is available to back at a best price of 18/1 (19.00) with Bet365, to land the WSOP Main Event title, while Paddy Power make Holden as short as 10/1 (11.00). He may be the short stack, but as we all know, anything can happen at the poker table.