In my last post, I promised I’d dig into some of the value plays that I see for the iSeriesLIVE Kick-Off Event taking place in Dublin on Thursday evening. And while I’ve broken plenty of promises in the past (ask any of my ex-girlfriends), this is one I intend to keep. There are definitely a few plays you can make that are better than others so let’s get on with it.
1. First Elimination: Daniel Negreanu (10/1): You might think I’m crazy for saying this is a good value; Daniel is one of the all-time tournament greats. But there are two very important factors that cut against his greatness and make this a solid value play.
First, the structure. The players will be starting with 100 big blinds and playing 40-minute levels. The blind progression doubles every three levels (there’s actually one spot in the middle of the event where they’ll double in two levels). So every two hours, the effective stack will be cut in half. There’s certainly plenty of room for creative post-flop play, but the fact is that players who lose a few chips in the early going are going to have to start gambling before 100 hands have been dealt. That could easily include Daniel.
Second, this is a winner-take-all tournament. There is no prize for nitting it up and squeezing down to the final three players or final two players (not that anyone could ever rightly accuse Daniel of being a nit). Daniel knows this and thus will be playing to win. He may be more willing to get his stack in early as a result, trying to build a chip stack that he can use to bludgeon his way to the title. And when you get your chip stack in the middle, there’s always the chance that it doesn’t come back out.
All the players know this. If you believe that their relative skill levels are roughly equal (and remember, even if you don’t, the structure will help level the field), that makes them all as likely to go broke first, a 9/1 proposition for any of them. So take Daniel at 10/1.
Bet Daniel first eliminated here.
2. Outright Betting: Maria Ho (10/1): The corollary to taking Daniel as the first elimination is throwing a small bet down on Maria to win. Again, you can argue that although her results are impressive, they pale in comparison to some of the other players at the table. Few people could legitimately disagree with that assessment. But with a reasonably fast structure and a winner-take-all approach, can’t you see Maria making it to the final four players? A few of the more aggressive players go to war, the field shrinks, and suddenly there’s Maria sitting with a slightly below average stack four-handed. Anything goes from there.
Bet Maria outright winner here.
3. Outright Betting: Carlos Mortensen (7/1): The morning lines show Carlos and Eoghan O’Dea both going off at 7/1. Carlos is one of the most successful ROI players in history. He doesn’t play nearly as many tournaments as many of his compatriots (leading some to whisper that the game has passed him by) but he has phenomenal success in the tournaments he does play. Eoghan has some name recognition from his appearance at the 2011 November Nine but only two other six-figure cashes to his name. Yet they’re both 7/1?
Carlos was made for this kind of tournament. He plays incredibly aggressively, is excellent at reading people, and has a history of success with this type of one-table affair. Throw a bet down on Carlos and he’s likely to give you a decent sweat.
Bet Carlos outright winner here.
4. Phil Hellmuth Finishing Position, 4th or better (11/10): Look, it’s not extreme value. I’ll grant you that. But it’s confusing to think that the money thinks Hellmuth won’t make the top four of this event. He is less likely than most to throw his stack into the middle on a draw and much more likely to play a patient game. That patient game may see him reach the final four as a short stack, but he’s still likely to be there.
Bet Hellmuth 4th or better here.
5. Marvin Rettenmaier Finishing Position, 4th or better (6/5): I think “Mad” Marvin represents a bit of an “x” factor for this event. He strikes me as the one player, more than any other, who could really shake things up and make a major impact at the table. His main problem is that he doesn’t have a strong track record for finishing things off and closing at a table. I can easily see him bruising his way into the top four but I don’t like him going much higher than that.
Bet Marvin 4th or better here.
Coming up next: I’ll break down the field and each player’s chance of winning the Kick-Off Event.
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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.