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.
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.
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.