therock Posts:120 Followers:3
On 11/07/2011 09:55 PM in Other Sports

WSOP odds: Books rooting against middle stack Lamb

The majority of professional poker players and gamblers – many of whom fit both categories – will be rooting for Ben Lamb to win the World Series of Poker Main Event on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Nevada sportsbooks executives will be rooting for … someone else.

That leaves them with two choices, 22-year-old Pius Heinz, who went from a short stack to surprising chip leader Sunday at the final table, or Martin Staszko, the 35-year-old who started with the chip lead and has found himself among the three finalists.

If either Heinz or Staszko has the 2011 WSOP champion’s bracelet fitted on his wrist before ESPN’s cameras at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, sportsbooks that offered futures and props on the event for the first time will walk away a winner.

But if the winner is Lamb, a Richie Cunningham lookalike who is about to become just plain rich, takes home the title, books will suffer a hit. The 26-year-old WSOP Player of the Year opened at about 6/1 at most Nevada books, only to see his price drop to about 7/2 by the time the card hit the air, even though he was sitting on a medium stack.

The Oklahoma native used a combination of poker skill and well-timed fortune to reach the final three. He was a major underdog for his tournament life in two all-in pots, but managed to deliver bad beats to Eoghan O’Dea and Matt Giannetti on his way to a three-way battle for the championship.

If the cards hold up for Lamb on Tuesday, night he’ll deliver another bad beat for the books, which saw heavy action on the table’s most seasoned professional.

“Lamb is a loser for us. He had the most money and tickets written on him. The other two are nice winners for us,” said Dan Shapiro, marketing director for Lucky’s Race & Sports Book, which offered a variety of WSOP futures and props.

WSOP bettors gave little respect to Staszko, the Czech Republic native whose 40 million chips put him in the lead at the start of the November Nine. His opening price of 7/2 closed at 4/1 while Heinz, who had just 16.4 million chips to start Sunday, opened and closed at 10/1.

Shapiro said there were no significant pending wagers on Staszko or Heinz.

But perhaps their performances shouldn’t come as a surprise. Staszko’s robotic-like, mathematics-based strategy has served him well under the bright lights as he has appeared unfazed by the pageantry surrounding the final table and its live television broadcast. He’s the least-experienced live player at the final table, but you wouldn’t know it from his performance thus far.

Heinz, the first German to reach a Main Event final table, has used an Internet-bred “first or worst” mentality that paid off when he was willing to mix it up in the early going while the rest of the field played extremely tight. He crippled O’Dea, who started second in chips, and eliminated two others on his way to the lead.

Heinz will start Tuesday’s action, which will be carried on a 15-minute delay live on ESPN, with 107,800, in chips, followed by Lamb with 55,400,000 and Staszko with 42,700,000.

The winner of the Main Event will take home $8.7 million, while second place is good for $5.4 million and third nets just over $4 million.