Poker Journal: 2011 FTP WSOP Fantasy Draft Tips And Tricks

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With just one day to go before the official start to the 2011 World Series of Poker, many poker fans are scouring the web in search of last-minute tips to fill their rosters. This year’s draft is particularly tricky as many veteran players native to the U.S. are still feeling the after-effects of Black Friday and are unsure of their playing schedules.

I have to admit I enjoy playing the annual WSOP fantasy draft on Full Tilt and if truth be told, it has great promotional value since with a little luck, you can earn a substantial amount of Full Tilt Points usable for either their online store, or various satellites to big events. I haven’t had huge success in the past, but I usually come out with at least 2500 points for the minimal work I had put into it, not to mention a slew of freeroll entries. This year, however, I’ve put much more of an effort into research to avoid the silly mistakes I made last year.

Now, I certainly don’t consider myself a professional bookmaker and in reality, I’m only a casual poker player, but I did have one thing going for me when I chose my fantasy draft picks this year: I did my homework. I thought it would be worthwhile then to share some of the pearls of wisdom I have gathered while securing my choices.

First off, if you haven’t played the Full Tilt Fantasy WSOP before, here is how you can participate:

1) If you do not have a Full Tilt Poker account, click here to get started.
2) Load up your Full Tilt Poker client and click on the red cashier button at the top right hand corner
3) At the bottom of the Cashier box is a blue button entitled: My Promotions – click this
4) Your browser will now load up the promotions page – click the link labeled FANTASY WSOP 2011
5) Click on the pictured link on the left hand side labeled Go To Fantasy Poker

NOTE: These tips are for the casual fantasy draft player and will assume you will be predominantly choosing one team for the entire duration of the contest. Obviously, the better strategy would be to pick specialists for all 58 events but the amount of research involved is so enormous, I’ll be concentrating on one solid team with a few minor edits for specific high profile events.

Pro Schedules

If you read just one tip to help you out, this will be a gold mine. Although I personally can not stand the mindless chatter it creates, Twitter is an essential source for finding which players plan on attending WSOP and how many events they’ll play.

The number one mistake that the majority of fantasy pool players will make this year is choosing Eric Seidel (edit: Well, I guess now Ivey trumps Seidel in that department). “What?” you say. “How can I not pick the most profitable tournament player this year?” The answer is simple: Seidel already made a tweet saying his playing schedule will be drastically reduced and even recommends not to pick him. Over the course of 58 events, Seidel is not a good value. Instead, I would add him to specific events, like the Main Event, High Roller and The Poker Player’s Championship.

To help you start, here’s a list of recent tweet’s from various Full Tilt Pros:

Barry Boatman tweeted: My probable events 22, 28, 31, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 48, 50, 51, 54, 57, 58

Stephan Rapp: Playing events 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 29, 31, 32, 34

Taylor Caby tweeted:  “WSOP plans ~set. Vegas Jun 1-8, Jun 27-Jul 8.”

Rob Hollink‘s list of events: 3, 4, 6, 9, 12-15, 17-20, 22-24, 27-29, 31,32, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41-44, 47-52 & 56-58

Erik Seidel “Plz don’t pick me for any fantasy pools. I am not playing full sched + will be mostly playing my worst games”

Jonathan Karamalikis: “I’ll be playing practically all of the 1500′s and some of the 5ks (all no limit holdem events)”

Melanie Weisner is playing all the 2500 and under NLHE events, possibly the 2 5ks as well, and the main event.

Alessio Isaia has confirmed that he will be playing nearly every event this year.

James Akenhead‘s list of events: 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 31, 32, 34-36, 38-40, 42, 43, 45, 46, 48, 50, 54, 56, 58

Lee Watkinson intends to play 3,7-10,12,13,15,22,24,26,31,35,39,42,50,51,57 and Main

Simon Watt‘s schedule of events: 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 43, 45, 48, 50, 54,56 & Main

Barny Boatman‘s probable events: 22,28,31,34,36,39,43,45,48,50,51,54,57,58

Beth Shak is scheduled to play  4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 28, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38, 40, 45, 48, 53, 54 & 58

Marc Karam‘s schedule of events 8-10, 12,13,15,17-20,23,25,26,29,31,32,34,36,38,39,41,43-45,47-49,51,52,54,56,58

Filippo Candio will be playing every No Limit Holdem event from 2,5 K upwards.

John Racener will be playing almost all events unless they overlap.


Black Friday

With the affects of Black Friday still lingering, it undoubtedly will have an affect on this year’s WSOP. Many U.S. players have funds still tied up online and don’t have full access to their bankrolls while some were relying on sponsorship deals that no longer exist. The early predictions suggest that the overall playing fields will be much smaller then previous years. Bodog recently posted its Main Event attendance +/- at 5250 (over 2k lower then last year) with many already suggesting to take the under. So what does that mean for your picks? Try to limit the amount of American players to add to your roster and of those you do, concentrate on those with proven results and deep pockets.


Players To Generally Avoid

Many of the top names play just a handful of events at the WSOP but due to their notoriety, will still get picked time and time again. The strengths of your picks will rely not only on their consistency to cash in the money but also their frequency of play. However, it’s important to note that any of these names are still very viable (if not recommended) for the Main Event and other high profile events.

  • Ted Forrest: Prior to 2009, Ted Forrest was a  solid pick with multiple yearly cashes but has not played many events in the last few years. No indication that will change this year.
  • Abe Mosseri: Powerhouse performer for specific high profile events and did well at the WPT but doesn’t play enough tournaments to warrant a general pick.
  • Patrik Antonius: Hugely popular choice due to his high profile status but likely will only play in a hand full of events.
  • John Juanda: Normally, he is a staple for me in all events but he recently commented that he’ll be playing a largely reduced schedule this year
  • Phil Hellmuth: What? How can you not chose Phil? Hello! All-Time Bracelet winner here! Maybe “avoid” is too strong a word here but the answer is simple: Hellmuth is a Hold’em specialist. All his bracelets are in Hold’em. Chose him for Hold’em events only
  • Roland deWolfe: One of my sentimental favourites but he will miss the first two weeks of WSOP so do not add him to any early events.
  • Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer: As principal shareholders in FTP, it’s quite possible these two will have a very low profile at this years WSOP in light of Black Friday.
  • Phil Ivey has recently confirmed that he will not be attending this year’s WSOP


The Stats That Matter

When choosing my team, I usually pick a mixture of proven veterans and hot, young blood itching to prove themselves. I generally avoid big repeat winners unless it’s part of a consistent trend. Here’s is a list of the most cashes made by players for the last three years, along with an all time list, that should help you narrow down your list dramatically:

2010 WSOP Most Cashes

1st Allen Kessler 9
2nd Chris Bjorin 8
2nd Shawn Buchanan 8
4th Emanuel Failla 7
4th David Baker 7
4th Christian Harder 7
4th Dan Heimiller 7
4th Patrick Pezzin 7
4th Tad Jurgens 7
10th Phil Ivey 6
10th Neil Channing 6
10th Justin Smith 6
10th Frank Kassela 6
10th George Dunst 6
10th Anders Taylor 6
10th Vitaly Lunkin 6
10th Robert Mizrachi 6
10th Annand Ramdin 6
10th Alexander Kravchenko 6
10th Sam Trickett 6
10th Andy Black 6
10th Amnon Filippi 6
10th Michael Glasser 6


2009 Most Cashes

1st Daniel Negreanu 9
2nd Tony Cousineau 8
3rd Fabrice Soulier 7
3rd David Fox 7
3rd Barry Greenstein 7
3rd Darryll Fish 7
7th Matthew Hawrilenko 6
7th Chris Bjorin 6
7th Vitaly Lunkin 6
7th Nikolay Evdakov 6
7th Phil Ivey 6
7th Justin Bonomo 6
7th Phil Hellmuth Jr 6
7th Eugene Katchalov 6
7th John Edward Monnette 6
7th Alexander Kravchenko 6
7th David Chiu 6
7th Ville Wahlbeck 6
7th John Brock Parker 6
7th Jeff Lisandro 6


2008 Most Cashes

st Nikolay Evdakov 10
2nd Neil Channing 9
3rd Daniel Negreanu 8
3rd Chau Tu Giang 8
3rd Alex Jacob 8
6th Andy Bloch 7
6th Chris Bjorin 7
6th Rolf Slotboom 7
6th Justin Cuong Van Tran 7
6th Roland Israelashivili 7
6th Fernando Jacobo 7
12th John Juanda 6
12th Chris Ferguson 6
12th Allen Cunningham 6
12th Phil Hellmuth Jr 6
12th Alexander Kostritsyn 6
12th Adam Levy 6
12th Manelic Minaya 6
12th Barry Greenstein 6


All Time Most Cashes

1st Phil Hellmuth Jr 79
2nd Men Nguyen 70
3rd Chris Ferguson 64
4th Erik Seidel 62
5th Berry Johnston 59
6th Chris Bjorin 58
6th Humberto Brenes 58
6th T.J. Cloutier 58
9th Chau Tu Giang 56
10th John Juanda 55
11th John Anthony Cernuto 49
12th Daniel Negreanu 48
12th Mike Sexton 48
12th Brent Carter 48
15th Barry Greenstein 47
15th Tony Cousineau 47
15th Thor Hansen 47
18th David Chiu 46
19th Howard Lederer 44
19th An Tran 44
19th Dewey Tomko 44