It’s really hard to stay focused for five long days and not make a mistake. Players wait a whole year for the World Series to start, then midway through — they want to get it over with. Many players self-destruct right in front of your eyes. They lose sight of the big picture.
— Former World Champion
The main event of the 33rd annual World Series of Poker starts on May 20th, 2002. The only thing certain about posting odds on poker’s world championship is that debate will ensue. It seems that everyone has an opinion as to which players should be the favorites. Every year since 1998, I have selected players who (I believe) have earned the right to be favored in the main event.
To help me with this task, I’ve called upon the collective wisdom of several of the world’s top Situs Judi Online24Jam Terpercaya 2021 players — particularly no-limit players with many years of experience in major events. As agreed in advance (and to create an honest evaluation), members of the Odds Committee shall remain anonymous. The result of our collaboration is this feature — the “2002 World Series of Poker — Opening Odds.”
What Determines the Odds?
The theoretical chance of any player winning the world championship is about 599-1 (based on 600 entries). But to Abe Lincoln’s chagrin, all poker players are not created equal. Some players have established track records, while others are new to the pressure of the World Series. Aside from selecting the players that belong in the top 100, the most difficult question is — what are the true odds of a favorite to win?
In the past, I have installed favorites at 60-1 (in 1998) up to 90-1 (in 2001). But those numbers no longer accurately reflect how highly competitive the main event has become. In fact, favorites are probably no better than about five times as likely to win as the average player (and even that may be too high an estimate). This year, odds on favorites have been adjusted to 125 -1. Several factors were considered when making these odds:
Previous WSOP experience and performance
Tournament record in recent years/months
No-limit hold’em (and pot-limit hold’em) reputation and performance
Previous odds lists (1998-2001) with adjustments
Opinions of six widely-respected poker players who comprised the “Odds Committee”
This year, 110 players are listed. The 99 top favorites have odds ranging from 125-1 up to 275-1. There are 11 “darkhorses” at 300-1 odds. To make the list of favorites, as least two of the Odds Committee members had to include the player in the Top 100. I could have added more darkhorses, but in the interest of space, the final list was limited to the players who were most frequently cited by their peers.
Odds to Win the 2002 World Series of Poker
(Note: Nolan Dalla’s comments about each player are followed by a direct quote by one or more of the Odds Committee members.)
chris ferguson210-1 Chris “Jesus” Ferguson — 2000 World Champion. “Jesus” still has something to prove in the main event, and he will enjoy some advantages as a former champ. A tournament specialist (he doesn’t play side games at all) Ferguson holds three gold bracelets and has 18 in the money finishes at the WSOP.
No limit is not his best game. However, his reputation as a former world champion should help him a lot.
210-1 Hans “Tuna” Lund — Runner-up in 1990. Reno-based player doesn’t play as many tournaments as a few years ago. One of the best of his time. But hasn’t played major for a long time, so his game may be off.
A few years ago, Tuna would have been one of the top five seeds. He’s been out of the loop, though, for several years now.
220-1 Diego Cordovez — The “D-Train” is just coming off a limit holdem win at the LA Poker Open. He also won a no-limit championship at the 2000 WSOP.
His game just keeps getting better and better. He’s peaking right now. A great player at this price.
220-1 Billy Gazes — Won a no-limit event at the 2000 Carnivale of Poker. One of the younger players straight out of the computer age. Plays high limits, and an excellent pot limit/no limit player. Made it into the money last year.
A relative unknown, but plays better than many of the better-known players. May deserve a high ranking.
220-1 Mike Sexton — Won the 2000 European championship. Played in the main event ten times with six in-the-money finishes — probably the highest percentage of any player who has played the main event at least ten times! Best finish was 12th in 2000. Winner of three no-limit championship events of $5000 or more putting him in very elite company — including 1992 World Poker Finals, 1996 Four Queens Classic, and the Euro Finals of Poker in 2000.
Used to be a really tight player, has loosened up a little recently which gives him more of a chance. Very solid but may be too solid to win the big one. Needs to gamble a little more in order to win it.
220-1 Alan Betson — Outstanding Irish player who captured the 2001 European holdem championship at the Euro Finals of Poker.
Very tough — another fearless no-limit player.
220-1 Eric Hollum — A Reno-based no limit specialist, Eric owns a WSOP bracelet in no limit (from 1999) and won a no limit event at the 2001 World Poker Finals.
An excellent short stack player.
230-1 Melissa Hayden — Had a terrific year in 2000, then an off year in 2001. Finished second in the $5000 buy-in no-limit event at the 2000 World Series, and won a no-limit event at the World Poker Open. Excellent instincts, and easily one of the top female tournament players today.
Still hasn’t played more than three days in any tournament, which might be the key to moving up the fourth and fifth day.
230-1 Steve Rydel — Won a pot-limit holdem event at the 1999 WSOP. Moved to Las Vegas from England in 2000. Very aggressive — perhaps too aggressive some say. Rydel can be extremely dangerous if he can get hold on some chips. But he might be too aggressive to last 5 days.
He is “old school.” He hasn’t been around much this year. Deserves mention if he plays.
240-1 Dan Heimiller — Solid all-around tournament player. Overdue for a shot at the big prize. Has won numerous major events in the last five years. Some debate amongst peers about his no-limit holdem potential. Most rate him higher in limit games.
Another “cannonball” waiting to explode. He gets chips (he’s sure not afraid to move them), but also allows them to disappear rather quickly.
240-1 Lee Salem — He has “heart” and plays big cash games. Finished 5th in 1998.
If Lee’s in the right frame of mind, he’s your sleeper. He gambles high, got lots of heart, and will take the pressure if he makes it to the final table.
240-1 Steve Kaufman — In 2000, Kaufman made the final table in three of poker’s most prestigious events — the WSOP, USPC, and TOC. Some say he’s a good survivor, but not a great finisher.
Where have you been Steve? After making all those final tables in 2000, he hasn’t been heard much from since.
240-1 Brent Carter — A contender in any event he enters. One final table appearance in the main event — third in 1995. Counter-argument is that he hasn’t won a no-limit major in several years.
Brent’s flaw is that he moves “all-in” way too much in no-limit poker. He’s not a “chopper” (the style I feel you need to be to win this event).
240-1 Mel Judah — Enjoyed a great tournament run in 1997, including third in the main event. One of England’s top players and one of the best 7-card stud tournament players in the world. But no-limit is not his best game.
Another player that is too conservative to be ranked at the top. He’s solid, but not a finisher in no-limit events.
240-1 Young Phan — Solid no-limit player coming off a win in the main event at the LA Poker Open. However, he has not done well in recent WSOP events.
I think many California players (including Phan) are handicapped, in that they play so fast that it isn’t right for the World Series.
240-1 Barney Boatman — From England, was second chip leader after Day Two in 2000 main event. Lots of experience and success in Europe. Isn’t afraid of putting money in the pot. Made it into the money last year.
Barney has had good success both times playing this event. A sleeper.
240-1 Ron Stanley — Won a WSOP bracelet in 1997 (limit holdem), and took a horrendous bad beat in the main event that same year, finishing fourth. Very dangerous when playing with confidence.
Another good player who’s been running bad. Also, Ron is a survivor, but not a finisher.
240-1 Vince Burgio — Excellent all-around tournament player. Top-ranked lowball player both in 1998 and 1999. Made WSOP final table in 1995.
Excellent all-around tournament player. A good bet to last long in the tournament, put probably a little too conservative to win it all.
240-1 An Tran — Finished 5th in main event in 1996. Also holds a pot-limit Omaha title from the 1991 WSOP, as well as wins at the Hall of Fame Poker Classic and Diamond Jim Brady.
Tran has been running bad for a while and that might affect his confidence. Went to Vietnam for several months. Hasn’t regained past form.
240-1 Hasan Habib — Finished 4th in the main event in 2000, and also made TOC final table. Best quote about Habib: “He plays too many hands, but if he gets chips he will make it miserable for everyone at his table.”
Potential is there, and making the final table in 2000 is a confidence booster.
240-1 Layne Flack — Won the 1998 Carnivale of Poker main event. Made six no-limit final tables in 1999, but has not enjoyed as much success in recent years. Critics say he’s too much of a gambler. But others insist has just the right style to win this tournament.
Some may think he should be ranked higher, but he is unlikely to stay focused for five days.
240-1 Jim Lester — One of the smartest poker players around. A high limit player who only plays big tournaments. Has been knocking the door in big no limit tourneys lately. Made the final table at the Four Queens championship, and the last two tables at the LA Poker Open main event. A great finisher. Won the $3,000 limit hold-em event last year.
He has been knocking on the door in many no-limit events and it’s just a matter of time before he crashes through.
250-1 Kathy Liebert — A no limit tournament specialist. Liebert has been one of the best female tournament players in the world the last five years and was one of tournament poker’s most consistent players during the late 90s.
Running cold lately. Tends to wait too long for premium hands. Needs to be more of “player” and “gambool” with the boys.
250-1 Jeff Shulman — Enjoyed an impressive break-through year in 2000, coming very close to being chip leader going to the final table in the main event. Shulman lost two huge pots to eventual champ Chris Ferguson. He is a true student of the game and always seems to hang in there until the end.
Jeff is a “comer.” He moves chips well and has had proven results the last two years.
250-1 David Benyamine — Won the pot-limit event at the 2000 Euro Finals of Poker and finished second in the no-limit final at the Aviation Club de France. Could be a force.
Has heart, but is pretty reckless at times. If he makes it past Day 2, he could contend.
250-1 Johnny “World” Hennigan — A respected high-limit player, who got deep in 1999. A super-aggressive player, who never slows down. Considered by many as the greatest 7 card stud player in the world, bar none.
Although he hasn’t played that many tournaments, he is such a good player if he can ever get over the middle of the tournament period, he will be super tough. Reads players well and is very creative. Flaw — he occasionally gets bored, which can be deadly.
250-1 Ken “Skyhawk” Flaton — Last no-limit holdem victory was in 1998 at the Queens Poker Classic. Stud is his best game — not holdem.
An excellent all around live-action and tournament player. But hasn’t done much in no limit since his USPC win in 1996.
250-1 Jan Boubli — Perhaps France’s biggest money winner over the past five years. One of only three players to make the final day of the TOC both years.
A very good player. Another Frenchman who could contend.
275 — Paul Phillips — Very smart and obsessed with winning (he recently won an event at the LA Poker Open and placed second in the no-limit championship).
Very hot lately. But still has to prove he can play with the best and beat the best in major tournaments.
275-1 Tom McEvoy — 1983 World Champion. Holds four WSOP bracelets. Another good bet to make the money, but longer odds to win it.
Plays too tight and predictable (ABC) according to critics. But his reputation as a former world champion should help.
275-1 Lyle Berman — Casino mogul and high-limit side-action player. Three WSOP bracelets, including no-limit win in 1992. Inexplicably, hasn’t done well in the main event — although he finished 5th in 1989. Won the Hall of Fame championship in 1991.
If he gets through two days, Look out! Can still play when he puts his mind to it.
275-1 Paul “Eskimo” Clark — Many tournament wins in his career. Many early bust-outs. Anything’s possible with this eccentric player, although he might not have what it takes to last five days.
Highly unpredictable and difficult to play against. Doesn’t play small stacks well, but plays big stack as well as anybody. Watch out for the Eskimo man if he gets some chips early.
275-1 Simon “Aces” Trumper — Gets a lot of press in Europe because he won one of the Late Night Poker events.
Some insist he’s an overblown mid-limit player who still has to prove he can beat a world class field. Others say he’s on his way to the big time.
275-1 Bill Duarte — Very tough no-limit player from Oceanside, CA. A solid winner in cash games with something to prove in tournaments. Dangerous.
An excellent cash game player, but is known to be reckless in tournaments.
275-1 T.A. “Amarillo Slim” Preston —
1972 World Champion. Winner of five WSOP bracelets. Lost only once at the final table — which was a 2nd-place finish in the 200 pot-limit Omaha event.
Used to be one of the best, but the competition has improved so much in recent years, not so sure any more.
275-1 Jack Keller — 1984 World Champion. Also finished 8th in 1992 and 9th in 1987. Now, plays mostly live-action games in Mississippi.
Fearless, but not the same player he was 15 years ago.
275-1 Rod Peate — Proven tournament record. Made it to the money in both 1997 and 1998. Also finished 2nd in 1983 and 7th in 1990. Might deserve a higher ranking, except that there are so many great players above him.
Another old-timer who hasn’t stepped up his game to compete with the new age.
275-1 Josh Arieh — Won a no-limit event at the 1999 World Series, which suggest he’s capable of another run in the main event.
Josh played brilliantly when he won his bracelet but hasn’t repeated that success (yet).
275-1 Tony Cousineau — Florida-based tournament pro with a ton of in-the-money finishes — but few wins. A survivor, but not a great finisher.
Needs to focus on winning more. Plays as well in the early rounds as anyone, but tends to get conservative deeper into the tournament.
275-1 Robert Turner — Solid all-around tournament player. Finished 6th in the WSOP main event in 1994. Very dangerous with chips.
Too reckless to last five days. “Chip Burner Turner” can’t hold onto chips no matter how many he accumulates.
275-1 Richard Tatalovich — 2000 United States Poker Champion Had a hot run a few years ago; but hasn’t done anything since then. On a horrible run for 15 months now.
Needs to regain his confidence before he’ll be a serious threat.
275-1 Barbara Enright — Very dangerous with chips, but her best game is probably limit holdem. She’s won the ladies championship twice, is the first woman to win a major open event at the WSOP (pot-limit hold ’em in 1996) and the only woman to make the final table in the main event (5th in 1995).
It will be tough for Barbara to last five days without making some bonehead plays. She gambles way too much. Likes to move all-in and generally is a good target for being trapped.
275-1 “Captain” Tom Franklin — Finished 8th in main event in 2000. Doesn’t play as many tournaments as most of the pros, but has proven results.
Very solid player. Tough to bust out.
300-1 Scott O’ Bryan — Finished second in the 2001 World Poker Open championship. Relatively new to tournament poker. Nonetheless, one of the best pot limit and no limit players from the South. Made it into the money last year.
300-1 “Tony D.” — Great high-stakes player and one of the most feared short-handed players in the world. Finished 13th last year. If he survives Day 2, he becomes one of the favorites.
300-1 Stan Goldstein — Solid tournament background with wins in recent years at the Legends of Poker, various Commerce tournaments, the USPC, along with cash-outs at the World Series and Carnivale of Poker. Very tricky player who has lots of punch if he gets chips.
300-1 Sirous Baghchehsaraie — Gets mixed reviews as a no-limit player, but clearly has impressive enough tournament results to be at least this price.
300-1 Brad Daugherty — 1991 World Champion and the first million-dollar winner. Won two no-limit events in 2000. Some say he’s in the top-100. Others suggest he belongs down in the pack.
Was extremely unlucky in 2001 Shooting Stars tourney or likely would have won it.
300-1 Adam Shoenfeld — He wants it this year and has been working hard on his game. Made the final at the 2001 USPC. Also got close in the World Poker Finals championship. Maybe a year or two away from being amongst the favorites for the big one.
He’s just starting out, but he’s got game.
300-1 Tony Popejoy — Burst upon the scene at the 2002 World Poker Open in Tunica. Absolutely fearless player and a tremendous amount of fun to watch. If he gets chips — look out.
300-1 Mike Carson — Won the $3000 pot-limit event at the 2000 WSOP. Has won several other tournaments the last few years and has been a winning “live” player as well. However, critics say he has a monster “steam factor.” He’ll either get a lot of chips or be out early.
300-1 Mansour Matloubi — 1990 World Champion. Lots of success in the early 90s — in fact, the hottest tournament player from 1990-1994. Based in England, doesn’t play as many U.S. tournaments as a few years ago. Trouble for Matloubi is — tournament poker has changed a lot over the years and Mansour may not have stepped up his game.
300-1 Ed Hill — Played the main event four times, with good survival instincts. Has won major no-limit events in the past at the Hall of Fame, Four Queens, and elsewhere. Great poker mind, but doesn’t seem as obsessed with winning as many top pros.
300-1 Nani Dollison — An awesome limit holdem tournament player, Give her some time to learn no limit, and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Amazing tournament record in holdem events. Back to back womens title’s at the WSOP and a win in the 2001 limit holdem last year.