By Paul McGuire
We’re on the cusp of the inaugural iSeriesLIVE event in Dublin, Ireland. Ten of the world’s premier players will battle it out for $100,000 in a winner-take-all format. Tenth place gets the same as second place — zilch. The goal is simple — win it all.
What makes iSeriesLIVE unique is that viewers at home can gamble on the action as it unfolds during a live stream with hole cards and RIFD chips providing instantaneous chip counts. You can bet on who will win it all via PaddyPower, including take a shot at a multitude of prop bets and other in-game wagers.
Here’s a quick rundown of the field in iSeriesLIVE field:
Daniel Negreanu (Opening Odds: 11/2)
When the Canadian-born Negreanu cut his teeth in the Las Vegas poker scene during the 1990s, he acquired the moniker “Kid Poker.” Flash forward almost two decades later, and Negreanu has become one of the most popular and recognizable faces in the world. Negreanu is currently ranked third on Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money list with almost $15 million in career earnings, buoyed by a monster year in 2004 when he raked in $4.4 million. Since 2005, Negreanu averaged $1.1 million per year in tournament cashes, which is the primary reason why Paddy Power’s bookies listed Kid Poker as the favorite at 11/2.
Phil Hellmuth (Opening Odds: 13/2)
Everyone loves to hate Phil Hellmuth, which makes him one of the most polarizing players on the circuit. If iSeriesLive was a “pro” wrestling match, then Hellmuth would be showered by boos and rotten fruit from the rambunctious crowd as he strutted around the ring after taking a cheap shot against his opponent. There’s no denying Hellmuth’s prowess at the poker tables — he won the WSOP Main Event in 1989 and became the youngest player to accomplish that feat at 23-years old (a record that has since been broken). At the present moment, Hellmuth ranks 4th on the All-Time Money list with $13.1 million in career earnings. He also holds the record for most WSOP bracelets — an accomplishment he’ll have no qualms bragging about to even the person standing behind him at Starbucks. Whenever Hellmuth plays poker, he attracts a slew of railbirds. Everyone eagerly waits for a cataclysmic volcanic eruption when Hellmuth implodes and unleashes a Hellmuthian tirade after one of his opponents issues a bad beat. Paddy Power listed Hellmuth as one of the favorites at 13/2.
Eoghan O’Dea (Opening Odds: 7/1)
The O’Dea surname is synonymous with poker royalty in Ireland. Eoghan O’Dea recently made a name for himself with an auspicious appearance at the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Eoghan advanced to the final table as one of the “November Nine”, where he eventually finished in sixth place. In just one tournament, Eoghan passed his father (the legendary Donnacha O’Dea) in career earnings. The bookies at Paddy Power listed the “hometown” O’Dea at 7/1.
Carlos Mortensen (Opening Odds: 7/1)
Before the inception of online poker, Carlos Mortensen led the first wave of southern European players to take a shot swimming with the fiercest sharks in Las Vegas. Mortensen was always regarded as one of Spain’s top players, but in 2001, the entire poker world took note of the young Mortensen after his victory in the WSOP Main Event. Mortensen is currently ranked #2 on Hendon Mob’s All-Time European Money list with $10.8 million in career earnings. He only trails Denmark’s Peter Eastgate by a mere $112,000 and he’ll easily snag the top spot in Europe with one decent score. In the last decade, very few players achieved a supreme level of success similar to Mortensen, which is why Paddy Power listed him at 7/1.
Tobias Reinkemeier (Opening Odds: 15/2)
Tobias Reinkemeier is living every online poker player’s dream. The young German began his foray into poker by playing low-stakes SNGs, but within a few years he’d ship a $25,000 buy-in High Roller’s NL Event at the EPT Grand Finale in Monte Carlo for roughly a €1 million score. In a very short time, Reinkemeier emerged as one of Germany’s distinguished players and he’s currently ranked 5th on Germany’s All-Time Money list. Reinkemeier is well versed in SNGs, and because the iSeriesLIVE event is essentially an SNG format, the bookies listed Reinkemeier at 15/2.
James Dempsey (Opening Odds: 8/1)
Otherwise known as “Flushy”, the young player from Brighton in the U.K. has been on a roll the last two years. In 2010, he won his first WSOP bracelet and followed that up with a victory in a WPT event when he won the 2011 Doyle Brunson North American Classic. Any time a player wins a tournament with the name “Doyle Brunson” in it, they immediately gain credibility. Flushy spreads his bankroll around by staking several of the top online young guns in the U.K. He’s also not shy to speak his mind and even got himself banned from a popular British poker forum. How did Flushy get revenge? He eventually bought a piece of the forum. The bookies listed Flushy at 8/1.
Dave Ulliott (Opening Odds: 8/1)
Devilfish epitomizes the brash, hard-living “Brat Pack” mentality popularized by Las Vegas legends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Devilfish is former miscreant turned jeweler, who then transformed himself into Britain’s most recognizable pro. He looks like a zany character from a Guy Ritchie film, but Devilfish is the real deal and has been crushing poker games since before many of the younger players at this event were even born. It’s tough to trump experience at the tables, and Devilfish certainly has a lot of it which is why Paddy Power listed him at 8/1.
Faraz Jaka (Opening Odds: 8/1)
I have a feeling that if this event were held a couple of years ago, then Faraz Jaka, an American from San Jose, California, would be considered one of the favorites. 2009 was a kind year to Jaka when gained widespread recognition in poker community with $1.7 million in earnings. He’s already made huge waves in 2012 with a third place finish at the 2012 EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and a runner-up performance at an Aussie Millions side event. Jaka opened at 8/1.
Marvin Rettenmaier (Opening Odds: 8/1)
Marvin Rettenmaier is the second of two Germans at the table. He played poker on the side while he earned his business degree at university, but first gained notoriety last year when he won a Partouche Poker Main Event in Paris. Rettenmaier is one of Germany’s rising stars and in a very short time span, he leaped to #13 on Germany’s All-Time Money list with almost $1.4 million in earnings. Paddy Power listed Rettenmaier at 8/1.
Maria Ho (Opening Odds: 10/1)
Maria Ho is used to being the only woman at the poker table. In 2007, Maria drew a significant amount of attention for being the last woman standing at the WSOP Main Event. Don’t let her devastating good looks deceive you because she’s evolved into one of the toughest tournament players in America. She honed her skills in the rough and tumble world of Southern California card rooms, where she excelled in cash games and built up her bankroll. Last year, Maria just missed winning her first WSOP bracelet when she finished in second place in the $5,000 NL event. Maria’s odds opened at 10/1.
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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.