Friday, July 20, 2012

ROI at the WSOP

ROI = Return on InvestmentWhile listening to this week’s Two Plus Two Pokercast, I was directed to an interesting thread in the News, Views, and Gossip forum in which a poster took it up on himself to figure out the ROI (return on investment) for a number of players in this year’s WSOP.

The original post contains a chart which it turns out has quite a few errors here and there (pointed out by subsequent posters). To be honest, the actual findings aren’t as interesting to me as the whole idea of everyone being able to track exactly how many events players entered in the WSOP, and thus be able to compare their winnings to their buy-ins.

If you visit and enter a name, you can find out just how many events a particular player played. It’s not a new thing -- indeed, it’s been around quite a while -- but someone commenting on a post from last week about Viktor Blom reminded me of this search tool. (By the way, is not an official WSOP site, but uses the entry lists for each event provided by the WSOP.)

For example, by entering Blom’s name you can see which 20 events he entered this summer and how they added up to $134,000 total in buy-ins. From there you can head over to the WSOP site and look up Blom’s results, and see he cashed in exactly two events this summer for winnings that totaled $107,941. Thus did Blom have an overall losing summer as far as the WSOP was concerned.

Terrence Chan, who cashed 10 times for $106,417, entered 27 events altogether for $69,500 worth of buy-ins. Thus was Chan blogging mid-series about his ambivalence about possibly breaking the late Nikolay Evdakov’s record of 10 WSOP cashes in a single WSOP, since for a while he was essentially breaking even despite cashing so frequently. Indeed, his 410th-place finish in the Main Event (worth $28,530) helped nudge him considerably further over into the black and thus (I hope) made the summer seem worthwhile for him.

While Chan ultimately tied Evdakov, Konstantin Puchkov did end up breaking his fellow countryman’s record when he cashed for an 11th time in Event No. 59, the last $1,000 no-limit hold’em event. I was covering that event and remember reporting on his reaching the milestone.

When he made the money in that event, there was an announcement in the Amazon Room commemorating the achievement, after which players at other tables were wondering aloud if Puchkov had made a bunch of min-cashes while also speculating about how many events he must have entered to have cashed in 11 of them.

With the databases on and, those questions can be answered. Puchkov did make a couple of final tables this year -- and the final two tables two other times -- although his biggest cash all summer was just under $50K. In all he won a total of $175,461 in those 11 events in which he cashed. Meanwhile, Puchkov spent $98,000 in buy-ins for the 32 events he entered, which means he did ultimately realize a decent ROI (about 79.0%).

Of course, none of this info includes anything to do with backing, sponsorships, or other factors that can influence poker players’ bottom lines. But it is still interesting to poke around and peruse these numbers, and revealing in some cases when it comes to discovering just how “winning” a player truly is at the WSOP.

I imagine those considering backing other players must find such information useful if it isn’t already known. I also imagine various reasons why the WSOP and/or some players might not be too crazy about having such information made public, something I recall discussing before in a post long ago.

But for fans and/or (occasional) stats geeks like myself, there’s a lot to satisfy one’s curiosity there.

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