Casino City WSOP fantasy draft

4 June 2009

The World Series of Poker is a huge event. It's the greatest poker festival in the world. And it features the game's best players on its grandest stage. But it's also a very long event. And by long, I mean loooooooooooooooooooong. By the end of the WSOP's 56.85 tournaments (have to factor in the break in the Main Event), the players who have filled the Rio for 50 days look like zombies ready to keel over from exhaustion. And the fans and media who follow them as well are just as cranky.

So the big question is how to remain engaged in the WSOP and not get worn out by the grind. In sports, there are generally two ways for fans to fight this sort of problem. One way is to bet on it. The other is to go the fantasy league route. In fact, the only reason baseball's 162-game season interests me at all is because I'm in a fantasy baseball league. If I wasn't, my attitude toward baseball would be "wake me up in September to watch the pennant chase."

With that in mind, the Casino City editorial staff decided to have a fantasy WSoP league. The three person league consists of Vin Narayanan, Gary Trask and Dan Igo. Each team has 10 players. And each team was required to draft a woman. A player has to cash to qualify for fantasy points. After that, players get more points by lasting longer. Bonus points are also awarded for $10,000 buy-in tournaments.

We held our draft Wednesday, so we're starting the league with Event #4. Before beginning the draft, we agreed to the stakes -- $10 -- and the draft format -- S curve. That means the draft order reversed itself each round, thus reducing the impact of having the first pick in the draft. To determine the draft order, I held three coins in my hand -- a penny, a dime and a nickle. The person that selected the penny would get the first pick. And the person that selected the nickle would pick last. I ended up with the first pick and Trask ended up with the last pick. That meant Trask would have the last pick in odd rounds and the first pick in even rounds. And I would have the first pick in odd rounds and the last pick in even rounds. Igo always had the middle pick.

Entering the draft, Trask was the odds on favorite to win the league. He's already nailed two WSOP prop bets this year, and he picked Peter Eastgate to win the Main Event last year.

"With only three people drafting, I knew there would be great options every time I picked," Trask said. "So the only real strategy I used was to select the woman last since I rated (Vanessa) Selbst, (Vanessa) Rousso and (Jen) Harman all pretty much the same and knew one of them would be available. The other thing I did was make sure to take Brandon Cantu at some point in the later rounds since he's my pick to win the Main Event and I figured he wouldn't get picked early on."

Igo is the newbie in this group. But as we all know from NCAA pools, it's usually the rookie (or the rookie's girlfriend) that always wins.

"As the rookie in the pool, my strategy was to take players who I recognized," Igo said. "That might come back to bite me with my Gus Hansen pick. I was informed after the draft that Gus will probably play in around five events."

As for me, my strategy was to draft Daniel Negreanu (check), Allen Cunningham (check) and Barry Greenstein (check) because they all play a ton of events and excel at multiple games. They were the top three players on my board, so we'll see how it goes. My big reach was Chau Giang in the ninth round.

The teams are listed below. And starting next week, we'll regularly update the scores and offer some insight (actually, it will more likely be frustration, but we'll stick with insight for now) into how things are going with our teams. But before we present our teams, we'll leave you with some final thoughts from our top prognosticator, Gary Trask:

"My only regret is that I made a rookie mistake in the fourth round when I thought Erik Seidel was already gone and took Bertrand Grospellier. Hopefully my carelessness will turn out to be a blessing in disguise with 'ElkY' going on to have a monster WSOP. And I think Vin got the steal of the draft by getting Greenstein with the 7th overall pick. How the hell did that happen?"

Team Narayanan
1. Daniel Negreanu
2. Allen Cunningham
3. Barry Greenstein
4. Howard Lederer
5. J.C. Tran
6. Gavin Smith
7. Jeffrey Lisandro
8. Alex Jacob
9. Chau Giang
10. Jen Harman (last woman drafted)

Team Igo
1. Phil Ivey
2. Erick Lindgren
3. Scotty Nguyen
4. Erik Seidel
5. Huck Seed
6. Ted Forrest
7. Vanessa Rousso (first woman drafted)
8. Gus Hansen
9. David Pham
10. Freddy Deeb

Team Trask
1. Phil Hellmuth
2. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
3. Betrand Grospellier
4. Michael Binger
5. Andy Bloch
6. John Juanda
7. Robert Mizrachi
8. Justin Bonomo
9. Brandon Cantu
10. Vanessa Selbst (second woman drafted)


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