2011 November Nine Preview and Betting Odds
For the fourth straight year, the final table of the WSOP Main Event will be played out in November. That gives the lucky "November Nine" about four months to prepare for the biggest day of poker in their lives. It also gives us fans, gamblers, and pundits a chance to analyze the final table.
In this preview, we've included each player's percentage of chips relative to the total number of chips in play, as well as their odds to win according to PinnacleSports.com. We've shared our opinion on the odds for each player, but keep in mind that the best play to make is probably not making any play at all.
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A couple things worth noting about this final table:
• Seven different nations are represented, a WSOP Main Event final table record.
• The chips are all fairly evenly spread out. The chipleader doesn't have a massive lead (Duhamel had 30% of the chips to start last year's final table) and the short stack is in no way desperate with around 25 big blinds.
• All players are in their 20s except for Staszko (35) and Bounahra (49).
• The past two final tables have had a highly marquee presence (Michael Mizrachi last year and Phil Ivey the year prior). That created some bit of value on other players at the table. This year, with the possible exception of Ben Lamb, there is really no player that will command a hugely disproportionate amount of betting action.
Martin Staszko - 19.5% - +414
The 35 year old chipleader needs only a 6th place finish or better to become the most winning poker tournament player from the Czech Republic. With nearly 20% of the chips in play, he's positioned nicely to accomplish just that. The line on Staszko is nearly exactly equal to the number of chips he has (+414 translates to a 19.45% chance). There are a lot of tough players at this final table though, so Staszko is probably a mediocre bet at best.
Eoghan O'Dea - 16.5% - +483
This highly experienced Irish 26 year old is the son of poker player Donnacha O'Dea. Plenty of people are considering him the favorite to win. Unfortunately, the +483 isn't that great of a price on Eoghan (pronounced much like "Owen"). You'd need at least 5:1 before you could start to consider this bet.
Matt Giannetti - 12% - +621
Giannetti, one of three 20-something Americans at the final table, played outstanding as the short-stack on the final table bubble and has positioned himself nicely to win this whole tournament. Although he has a lot of live tournament experience, you really can't justify a bet on Giannetti at odds of +621. You'd need at least 7:1 before Giannetti starts to look like a decent bet.
Phil Collins - 11.6% - +679
One could argue that no one has more relevant experience at this final table than 'USCphildo'. Expect Collins to be the fan favorite in November. He's a favorite of bettors too, apparently, as +679 isn't that great of a bet. But if you can get something like +750 or better on Collins, take it! He'll be as calm and confident as anyone at the final table.
Ben Lamb - 10.1% - +620
No one in the poker world ran hotter at the WSOP this year than 'benba'. Lamb's WSOP has been jaw-dropping: he won the $10,000 PLO event, finished runner-up in the $3,000 PLO event, and final tabled the $50,000 Player's Championship before busting in 8th place. Oh but why not cap it all off with a Main Event final table appearance for good measure? Lamb is a great player and will give up nothing to his opponents in November, but +620 on him is the worst bet on the board. The -739 on him not to win is far more tempting.
Badih Bounahra - 9.6% - +1026
This 49 year old from Belize is the oldest player at the final table and the biggest wildcard. If one were forced to point to the worst player at this table, Bounahra would probably be it. But making it to this final table is no joke, so he's certainly done something right. Expect Bounahra to play with less fear than the others. He could fizzle out in 9th or win the whole thing. At odds of +1026, Bounahra actually might not be too awful of a bet. He's the only player whose odds of winning (8.9%) are less than his number of chips in play. But if he winds up heads-up against someone like Lamb, he would probably be in big trouble.
Pius Heinz - 8% - +1100
This 22 year old is the first-ever German member of a November Nine final table. He appeared to be playing some pretty damn good poker en route to this final table. There are worse bets on the board than Heinz at 11:1. He will be tough come November and gives Germany a nice shot at having their first World Champion of poker.
Anton Makiievskyi - 6.7% - +1262
The Ukranian Makiievskyi has an outside chance to top Joe Cada's record for youngest Main Event champion. He was at one time the commanding chip-leader in this tournament but now finds himself looking up at most everyone else. At odds of +1262, it's hard to justify a bet on Makiievskyi. His brightest moments in this tournament appear to be behind him.
Samuel Holden - 6% - +1525
For the second time in four years, an Englishman is the short-stack to start the Main Event final table (James Akenhead was the other in 2009). This is Holden's first cash in a WSOP event. The +1525 on him is probably one of the better bets available. Although he's the short-stack, he's hardly desperate with 25 big blinds. One would expect Holden to play very carefully with this stack and not spew away value as Staszko or Bounahra may be prone to doing. If he can catch the right cards early on, he could be dangerous. Just brace yourself for some ultra-lame "Holden, Hold'em" references if he wins.
Conclusion: This is probably the worst November Nine to date from a bettor's standpoint. There are really no great bets. If you must bet, Holden or Bounahra or fading Lamb seem like the best bets.