"Statistical" WSOP Chip Lead Analysis

 photo Puyan: I blog at http://thep-log.blogspot.co.uk/ I tweet at https://twitter.com/TheRealP_YAN
How much of a Chip Lead do you need to ship it?!

As the World Series of Poker season comes to an end in Las Vegas, we find ourselves with 9 players left in the Main Event to battle it out in November 9th.

Chip stacks are as follows going into the final table which resumes October 30th. Maybe this year's bunch should be renamed to being the "Not Quite November Nine" lol.

Pro MTT specialist Cliff Josephy "JohnnyBax" leads the field with 22% of the chips. These guys outlasted 6737 players and will be battling it out for a cool $8 million first prize.

1. Cliff Josephy (United States) 74,600,000
2. Qui Nguyen (United States) 67,925,000
3. Gordon Vayo (United States) 49,375,000
4. Kenny Hallaert (Belgium) 43,325,000
5. Michael Ruane (United States) 31,600,000
6. Vojtech Ruzicka (Czech Republic) 27,300,000
7. Griffin Benger (Canada) 26,175,000
8. Jerry Wong (United States) 10,175,000
9. Fernando Pons (Spain) 6,150,000

So this got me thinking, how likely statistically is it to win the main event if you hold the chip lead going into the final table? I'm sure as you guys all know (you bunch of smart poker players!) that in MTTs nothing is a certainty and anything can happen! For example in 2007 when Jerry Yang won it, Philip Hilm went from chip leader to 9th place in 16 hands!
But I decided to have a look anyways and see what the numbers said. I chose to do it from Moneymaker onwards, and yes its a small sample size for sure but he started the boom and since then its been harder to win since the entrants grew dramatically after his win.
My full spreadsheet is here, if you wanna add graphs and other things feel free to do so!
I ended up with these two tables;
Champions Chip Positions going to the Final Table;
As we can see 5 of our Champions went to the final table with the chip lead.  However, it must be stated that all 5 of them had a substantial lead over the 2nd place contender, unlike this year as 2nd place Qui Nguyen has 68 million chips which is only 6 million behind JohnnyBax.
Another interesting thing is that it is true that anything can happen, as Jerry Yang and Martin Jacobson both managed to take the title down going to the final table in 8th place. Their momentum from staying alive earlier on carried them all the way to winning.
But if you reach the final table in 9th place, it seems that you have [from this tiny sample size] actually no chance of winning at all. Do any of you guys know who was the last person to win this event going to the final table in 9th place? I wonder how far back that would go...
Chip Leaders Finishing Positions;
Looking at this chart, only Darvin Moon hasn't managed to win the title when going to the final table when having more then 27% of the chips in play. If you have more then 22% of the chips you are statistically almost guaranteed at least a 2nd place prize.
Very Unreliable But Fun Conclusions
  • If we go by history and these numbers, it is likely that JohnnyBax will get 1st or 2nd place at worst because he has over 22% of the chips in play.
  • Going to the final table with more then 27% of chips in your stack means you will win the WSOP Main Event, unless you are Darvin Moon!
  • 9th place never wins. Statistically, if you wanna win the title then don't play to fold your way to the final table when short.
A Word on the Coverage
It feels sad to me that ESPN has the rights to the WSOP. I feel like it could be so much better if these events could be streamed live for free (with a delay) on twitch.tv. As you've heard before I'm a huge fan of this site, the interactiveness of the chat allows for a more embracive experience.
I remember once the World Championship of Chess was going on, and this guy decided to commentate on it, with a duplicate of the board on the screen, as well as another one for him to play with potential moves that the grandmasters could do. His interactiveness with his audience, as well as great narration over the plays, explaining thought processes and other things made the stream great, gave him an audience of 30k people!
The coverage should be updated, it should be interactive and live. It should be available to everyone worldwide, not just an American audience and/or whoever is able to find the channel internationally to tune in through satellite. 
It would be nice to move on from this cheesey jokey commentator who both don't really understand the game that well or translate it for a wider audience to understand. Interactivity like including the audience in tweets, social media and possible competition giveaways etc should be the standard in trying to get poker more popular to a wider audience. Jcarver showed how this could work and did it well in the Aussie Millions, why cant WSOP be the same? (Yeah, I know... money)
Anyways, here I'll end it with possibly the biggest ICM suicide in WSOP history. Do you guys think that Cheong didn't think Duhamel had a hand, or that maybe put him on exactly what he had and was trying to make him fold it? Either way his image was pretty crazy already. A nice extra $1.5 million gift to the short stack Racener.

  • 23203 users
  • 32 supernova Elites
  • And players who actually win pre-rakeback
  • They all share their poker lives on TiltBook
Make A +EV Decision Now
Contact: support@tiltbook.com