Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Let The Market Decide

One reason I have decided not to bother making a lot of football bets this season is that, the vast majority of the time, Betfair simply settles itself down to round about the right price. In fact, betting markets can prove to be the best indicator available for uncertain future events. According to urban myth, the US version of the Secret Service used to run internal markets with real money to determine the probability of this regime being toppled or that dictator being assassinated, until word of this slipped out and there was a public outcry, Middle America clearly feeling that this kind of gambling is much more offensive than stuff like killing thousands of people in illegal invasions.

Anyhoo, what I'm leading to here is the eternal question, how much of an edge does a top player have in the WSOP main event ? Well, Terrence Chan and some friends of his entered into an interesting bet with an unnamed pro. The pro undertook to pay a certain proportion of the entry fees of the official Full Tilt team (which numbers around 40 players), multiplied by five. Chan & co undertook to pay the same proportion of the final winnings of those players. It's basically a cross-book. The pro believed that the team's collective expectation was more than 5 x average, while Chan & co felt that is was less than 5. Unfortunately for them, Cunningham's presence in the final as second chip leader is going to leave them substantially on the wrong side.

In a subsequent comment on his blog, Chan reckons that he would be uncomfortable laying 5x to a group including only the likes of Ivey, Ferguson etc., but given that the overall Full Tilt stable includes many good but not outstanding players, he thought maybe 3.5x was about right. I'm inclined to agree with this view. Also in Brandon Adams' novel Broke, which is very good but I have to say on the short side, he reckons that the top player's edge is only 3x, which may be pessimistic (I know it's a work of fiction but I doubt he's saying anything he doesn't believe here).

As for the final itself, all reports indicate that the chip leader is something of an arse. Poker has perhaps been lucky that the last two winners are such nice guys, and certainly the previous two are inoffensive enough, these constituting the winners since poker really "took off" [1]. That luck's bound to run out sooner or later, given the number of arses who play ... but we'll just have to wait and see.

[1] So I'm not saying that all the previous winners are cunts or anything :-)


Blogger MadYank said...

I've been watching the last few days and I think Jaimie Gld has been far from an arse.

Hes not signed by fulltilt erg cardplayer/pokerwire wont like him. He also has been hounded every break for more and more interviews.

AT hte table he seems to have been rather genial and he might come off a bit disturbing to some only thu his dominance. I have now seen at least 6 players simply thrw themselves at him

2:31 PM  

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