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
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.
For more on betting the November Nine, follow Paul McGuire at Tao Of Poker.