Monday, June 18, 2007

World Series Of Prop Betting

Rusty Ryan: They built em smaller back then.
Danny Ocean: Yeah, but they seemed big.
"Ocean's 13

I have been trying to keep up on the WSOP, but interest is honestly fading. As everyone keeps saying, piles of people I have never heard of before are winning, and most of them we will never hear from again. Obviously there is the odd exception, but how many times can we get excited over the fact that some 22 year old who had never played in a casino before won a bracelet after qualifying for just $40?

Over the past few months I have been more fascinated by prop betting, and Pauly's tales of them since the start of the WSOP are better than the poker coverage – or at least a more interesting subject matter.

Searching the internet for prop betting stories, Ted Forrest's name pops up quite a bit and he has some great wins in his resume. Side bets and props bets have also become a regular feature of our home games, which was introduced to us when playing at an inner city game full of wild and crazy young guys (four bluffers to a pot, if you will). Being the tight playing consciences type of player that I am, and a little bit shell shocked by the action before me, at times it could be 15-20 hands before I saw a flop, and who knows before I had a shot at one. So we started to make little bets on the side for weather the flop would me majority red or black cards. If it was all red or black, then the bet doubles. We gave the prop bet the politically incorrect name "Africans and Indians."

Before long, in our regular game the betting on the A&I became more frantic than the poker. First it was between me and just one other player, and then it was two. When a third asked, I just decided to have the bet with the entire table on Indians, the hearts and diamonds, which was my usual bet. Of course, the flop come out all spades and I had to double the bet with each player on the table. I think I had the nut flush too, and I managed to break even on the hand. I have never played A&I since, and it is more scarce at the home games now too as it was getting out of hand.

My new favourite, as I said in a recent post, is to bet that at the next showdown, two pair with Kings or better will be the winning hand. If a hand is won before showdown, then that hand doesn't count and it goes over to the next one. I'd say my record for this bet is about 40% win. I have no mathematical basis for why the Kings-up is the line, but it seems to be about right for what goes on so far.

Other bets going around our table range from the "If we didn't fold, who would have won" between two pre-flop folders to the pub trivia variety. One player swore black and blue that Robert Deniro in "The Godfather Part 2" was not the same character as Marlon Brando in the original, even though he had seen the movie 20 times. We usually play on Friday nights when the Rugby is on TV, so there are always some side bets there to keep the players interested.

For a lot of these kind of side bets, I am at a disadvantage. I do not follow the rugby league so I have no insight into the games to form a basis for any bet. When it comes to the movie and music trivia, I am a decade younger than most of the table so their era of questions usually fly over my head. But I will share with you one of my favourite prop bets of all time, which has a nice hook for someone that may think they have an edge in this area.

How you work into the conversation the topic and the bet itself is up to your own sweetness and charm, but the trivia bet is "Name the first names of all the living Beatles". Most people assume there is a trick to this question, and usually it goes on of two ways – what is Ringo's real name or who was that guy that Ringo replaced? This is where the bet gets good, because if someone knows the answer to either of those two "tricks", they are usually blinded by their own sense of satisfaction to consider the other one. Ringo's first name is a common trivia question, and the answer is "Richard". Anyone willing to take you up on this bet would be able to tell you that one. The guy who was replaced by Ringo is also another common trivia question, maybe a little harder but the answer is Pete Best – but the question is what is his first name? That is actually Randolph, and I guarantee most people would not know that one. This can be a deterrent for some people to even take the bet.

It can also be clever if you offer to give them Ringo's name for free, and then that will lead your opponent down the path of trying to guess Pete Best's real first name, be it Peter or Pete and so forth. Then there is the discussion of "was he really a Beatle" – which I say the answer is yes, he played in the Beatles so why not?

And if anyone remembers that his name is Pete, then they would be willing to take you up on the bet. If they guess Rudolph, then they are sitting in a very good position. But there is still a small percentage of people that will guess the answer to the question "Name the first names of all the living Beatles" with Paul, Richard and Randolph. It is rare, but there will be some people that can come up with both Ringo and Pete's real name. If they do, then you might be loosing the bet but for the final little hurdle (and I admit, most people that know Randolph will probably know the last trick, but those that only know Richard will be taken in if you give them Pete Best for free, or even expressly not include him because he was fired.) The absolute correct answer, including Pete Best, is Richard, Randolph and … James.

You'll be amazed at how many people are blinded by the fact that they know Ringo's real first name, that don't know that Paul McCartney's middle name is Paul, and his real first name is James.

And hey, if they get you on that, then pay up.


ugg said...

According to wikipedia, Pete Best's first name is Randolph not Rudolph. Does that mean you have to pay back the money :P?

Heafy said...

Well spotted - I guess that is why I usually give them Pete Best for free.