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iSeriesLIVE Kick-Off: Best Bets

By Paul McGuire

With a relatively fast structure, many think Maria Ho at 10/1 is good value.

The kick-off iSeriesLIVE event in Dublin, Ireland is almost here. Ten players are vying for $100,000 in a winner-take-all format. What makes iSeriesLIVE “different” from other events is the ability to wager (or in-action bet) while the tournament progresses – something that has never been done before and is a degenerate’s wet dream.

I’m about to share my half-baked thoughts, but please understand that betting on poker is not an exact science. Unlike betting on football matches, poker is not a physical sport so you cannot attempt to predict an outcome by matching up the rosters. With poker, all you can do is check out past performances (which of course have zero relevance on future performances) and hope that your player doesn’t run into a bad beat. Although poker is a skill game over the long haul, short-term luck often plays a tremendous role, especially in tournaments. That will be the X-factor at the first-ever iSeriesLIVE event – if all you are betting on is the winner and/or specific finishing positions.

With a variety of different things to bet on, you don’t have to just pick a champion. You can gamble it up and bet on the next elimination or the winner of the next hand.

You also don’t have to watch the event from start to finish. The best aspect of iSeriesLIVE is that you can start betting on the action whenever you decide to fire up the live feed.

So let’s get down to business. I want to focus on the eventual winner and give you two best bets and two value bets. I’m also including my “long shot” of the day, and who will win a last longer between Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.

Best Bets: Eoghan O’Dea and Tobias Reinkemeier

I love Eoghan O’Dea at 8-1 because he has home field advantage. The Irishman does not have to travel far to play in the event and will be surrounded by the comforts of home, not to mention having the entire Emerald Isle rooting for him. O’Dea is coming off an appearance at the 2011 November Nine, where he finished in sixth place in the WSOP Main Event. I’m sure nothing will be sweeter for O’Dea than winning the iSeriesLIVE kick-off event on his home turf.

Germany’s Tobias Reinkemeier is an SNG machine. If there’s one player that is well-versed in a single table format, it’s certainly Reinkemeier. Sure, Reinkemeier is playing a live event as opposed to online, but he gains an edge due to his vast experience grinding out SNGs over the last few years.

By the way, I know I’m going to get flamed in Daniel Negreanu’s next video blog for not mentioning him at all (especially if he ships the event). However, Negreanu just happens to be the overall favorite and I’m a gambler that avoids betting chalk (a.k.a. the favorite). So, Danny Boy, it’s nothing personal… it’s just chalk talk. Besides, initially I did not want to include any North American players as a potential “best bet” because of the travel factor. Whenever you fly internationally and jump time zones, it’s difficult to predict how your body will handle jet lag.

Bet on  Eoghan O’Dea and Tobias Reinkemeier outright here.

Value Bets: James Dempsey and Faraz Jaka

James “Flushy” Dempsey seems to rise to the occasion whenever there’s pressure. He amassed the bulk of his career earnings since the 2010 WSOP, when he won his first bracelet and finished second in another event. Flushy also ended 2011 on a high note with a victory at the Bellagio when he won his first World Poker Tour event. Flushy has the killer instinct and knows how to finish off a final table.

Of course, Faraz Jaka goes against my “don’t bet on Americans and Canadians because of the jet lag factor.” Partly because Jaka has already been in Europe for almost a month, so he’s not suffering from the jet lag factor.  However, Jaka is the lone exception because he began 2012 on a heater by amassing $867,000 in earnings, including a third-place finish at the PCA High Roller’s Event in the Bahamas and a runner-up finish at a side event in the Aussie Millions. Jaka will be riding a huge wave of momentum going in and that will trump any fatigue he might encounter.

Bet on James Dempsey and Faraz Jaka outright here.

Long Shot: Maria Ho

Maria Ho is listed as the long shot on the board at 10/1. Never underestimate the underdog factor, especially in an SNG format when everyone begins with the same starting stack. Maria is used to garnering a significant amount of media attention and played at a significant amount of “TV tables”, so she won’t get easily flustered by the production crew’s bright lights. If Maria can accumulate chips early, definitely consider her a deep threat.

Bet on Maria Ho outright here.

Negreanu vs. Hellmuth – Match Bet: Negreanu

Who doesn’t want to bet on a last longer between Negreanu and Hellmuth? Right now, Hellmuth is EVEN money and Negreanu is 5/6. Hellmuth is paying out more, but the bookies give Negreanu the slight edge. Let’s face it, YouTube is not filled with videos of Negreanu’s implosions because he’s usually even keel at the tables. Rather, it’s Hellmuth who is the most prone to blow up after a bad beat, especially in a televised event, when he likes to ham it up for the cameras.

Bet on Negreanu over Hellmuth here.

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The first iSeriesLIVE event kicks off on Thursday, April 5th. Visit Paddy Power for the latest up to the minute odds, and don’t forget that you can watch the live stream and participate in prop bets and other in-game wagers.