October 2016

2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Odds

2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Odds - Bodog Poker Blog

By: Paul Hewson
 
If Griffin Benger wants to take that shiny gold bracelet back to Canada, he's got some work to do. The odds for the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event have been released, and at press time, Benger is way down the list at +900, well behind favourite Cliff Josephy at +225.

Those are pretty good odds for Benger, considering he'll only have 7.8% of the chips in play when the Main Event resumes October 30. It's a nod to Benger's impressive credentials: former Shark Cage winner, 10-year online poker veteran, nearly $10 million in combined online and live earnings. Plus, as a media figure and the lone Canadian in the November Nine, Benger figures to draw more action than some of the other contenders at the final table.
 
52 Pick-Up
Here are the WSOP Main Event odds as they appear at press time, with stack sizes (in big blinds and percentages) included:

Cliff Josephy, USA (149BB, 22.2%): +225
Qui Nguyen, USA (136BB, 20.2%): +400
Gordon Vayo, USA (100BB, 14.7%): +500
Kenny Hallaert, Belgium (87BB, 12.9%): +500
Griffin Benger, Canada (52BB, 7.8%): +900
Michael Ruane, USA (63BB, 9.4%): +900
Vojtech Ruzicka, Czechia (55BB, 8.1%): +900
Jerry Wong, USA (20BB, 3.0%): +2500
Fernando Pons, Spain (12BB, 1.8%): +4000

As you can see, Benger has been given the same +900 odds as Ruane and Ruzicka, even though he has the shortest stack of the three. But they all have functional stacks to work with, and Benger has the experience edge – especially over Ruane, who hasn't played many live tournaments.
 
Stack It
Meanwhile, at the top of the list, Josephy is getting considerably shorter odds than Nguyen despite having a slight lead in chips. Nguyen is no spring chicken, but he's more of a gambler than a poker player; he says baccarat is his favourite game. Josephy, on the other hand, is the only WSOP bracelet winner in the November Nine, winning the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event in 2005 and the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout in 2013.

That doesn't necessarily mean Josephy will run over the final table. This is a much more competitive situation than last year's Main Event, where Joe McKeehen took a gigantic chip lead into the November Nine before obliterating everyone in his path. Even then, McKeehen was only +175 to win the Main Event. Anything can happen once the cards hit the felt. If Benger plays his cards right, he could be $8 million richer in a few weeks.

When to Straddle in Live Poker

When to Straddle in Live Poker - Bodog Poker Blog

By: Paul Hewson
 
If you got hooked on late-night poker shows back in the 2000s, you might remember how loose the players were – opening marginal hands or worse, bluffing constantly, and making the kind of moves you just don't see online. One of those signature moves: the straddle. Before the cards were in the air, someone would call “Straddle!” and put out a stack of chips, usually twice the size of the big blind, maybe more. Then that person would be last to act preflop.

It's a baller move. While the straddle raises the stakes, it also puts the player at a disadvantage, since he's putting money in blind. That's fine for live television; it's much more important to entertain the viewers than to play optimal poker, or they won't invite you back on TV again. But what should you do when the cameras aren't rolling?
 
One Mississippi
First, you need to know the rules – including whether or not your casino or home game allows straddles in the first place. The basic “live straddle” is made from under the gun, and must be executed (either verbally or by putting in the chips) before the cards are dealt. Some casinos are more lenient, allowing you straddle before you've looked at your cards. The straddle must be twice the size of the big blind, unless “unlimited straddles” are allowed, in which case you can put in more, even your whole stack if you like.

Once the straddle is in, the person to the left of the straddler is first to act. He can call, raise or fold as usual, treating the straddle like one of the blinds; the new minimum raise is the difference in size between the big blind and the straddle. When the action comes back around to the straddler, if nobody has raised in front of him, he has the option of raising. Otherwise, he can only call or fold. Then postflop proceeds as normal, with the straddler acting first under the gun.

The rules get a bit more complicated when re-straddles, Mississippi straddles and sleepers are allowed. Take some time to learn about these variations and get comfortable with them, but in general, if you have the option to straddle, don't. Having said that, if other people in the game propose a round of straddles, play along. It's good to keep everyone happy at the table, and people who want to straddle are usually loose players that you can now exploit at higher stakes. Don't pass up this opportunity when it presents itself at the poker table.

How to Build Your Own Poker Table

By: Paul Hewson
 
If you want a proper poker table, the kind that doesn't fold up and store in your closet, you can buy the bare-bones model for about $2,000. Or you can build one for a tenth of the cost. You can get everything done over the weekend, and you don't even need a lot of tools to get the job done. Here are five simple steps you can take to fashion yourself a quality table.
 
Step 1: Choose your table
What type of poker table do you want to build? They usually come in four shapes: round, oval, elliptical, and octagonal. The racetrack oval is always a classy choice, and it let's you seat 10 players comfortably at your home game. Look at some design plans on the internet and choose one that fits both your needs and your tastes.
 
Step 2: Gather tools and materials
Unless you're going to start completely from scratch, the only basic tools you should need for your project are a saw, a drill, a spade or Forstner bit for your drill, and a router. You'll also need some 2x4 and 4x4 boards, plywood, screws and washers, glue, clamps, foam, vinyl, felt, and maybe some of that medium-density fibreboard (MDF). Your basic hardware shopping list, in other words.
 
Step 3: Sand
All your wood needs to be sanded before you start working with it. Do not skip this step. Splinters are no fun. If you're using a belt sander, wear one of those particulate respirators so you don't breathe in all that nastiness. The basic dust mask is fine when you're working with bare wood. Don't forget to sand the edges of the plywood once it's ready.
 
Step 4: Assemble
This is where the fun starts. It depends on which project you choose, but generally speaking, you'll be putting the table base together first, then adding the legs, building the tabletop, securing the felt and rails, and of course, installing the cup holders. Follow the instructions included with the design plan, and remember the golden rule: Measure twice, cut once.
 
Step 5: Test Drive
Before you invite anyone over, make sure your new table is ready for battle. Give it a stress test; put some weight on it, smooth out any remaining edges, and try out all those cup holders. If you're not satisfied with how the project turned out, either fix what you have or start over. Practice makes perfect.

These Are the People in Your Poker Room

These Are the People in Your Poker Room - Bodog Poker Blog

By: Paul Hewson
 
If you want to make money at poker, diversify. Stacy Matuson made a deep run at this year's World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing 169th; she co-founded the Mizrachi Dealer Academy with Robert and Michael Mizrachi. Kenny Hallaert made the November Nine; he's a tournament director back in Belgium. There's always work for talented people.

Dealing cards is the obvious way to go – the dealers are front and center at the poker table, and the Rio is always hiring when the World Series of Poker comes around. However, there are plenty of other jobs that need filling year-round at casinos and poker rooms around the world. Some of these positions may be more attractive to you than others, depending on your skills and your needs, but even if you don't need the work, it's good to know who these people are and what they can do for you.
 
Brush
This is usually the first person you'll speak to when you enter the room. The brush is in control of seating new players, and keeping the tables clean – which is where the name comes from. Depending on how busy the casino is, the brush may also act as a host. Larger establishments will take this position and sub-divide the duties among several assistants. If you're not sure what the situation is when you walk into the room, don't hesitate to ask, and be sure to tip these workers. They're the ones who will find you a good table if you develop a good rapport with them.
 
Floor
If there's a problem at the table, and the dealer cannot solve it, the next level of authority is the floorperson. Their main job is to keep the games running smoothly by enforcing house rules, keeping the tables balanced, and taking care of table change requests. A busy poker room will have several floorpeople; in a smaller room, the floor will take care of other responsibilities, including the brush position. If you need one, just ask the dealer to call “Floor!” Generally speaking, these people are too high up on the ladder to be tipped directly – they're not making minimum wage.
 
Chip Runner
In smaller poker rooms, you'll have to go to the cashier's cage when you want to cash out, or when you need to buy more chips. Busier locations will hire chip runners to take care of these tasks for you. They will also let you “color up” by exchanging your smaller chips for larger denominations. If you need a runner, call out “Chips!” Assuming they give you prompt service, tip them any time you color up, and consider tipping them when you buy chips, as well.