Poker players are always looking for action, whether it is at the poker table, in the pits, or at the sportsbooks. For many players, sports betting is a fun and potentially lucrative hobby. Some enjoy it because it connects them to their favorite teams while others love the thrill of earning a big payday when their teams win.
Several major sporting events will run concurrently with the 2018 World Series of Poker and each will command serious betting action from players. If you’re looking for a little extra action, here are five sports bets you can place while playing at the World Series of Poker.
1. NBA Finals
The NBA Playoffs are in full swing and by early June we will know which teams will be playing in the Finals. Currently, the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors are favorites, with the Warriors as the top pick to win it all.
Of course, the #1 seeded Houston Rockets are trying to stake their own claim and look to dethrone the Warriors. In the Eastern Conference, Boston is hoping to punch their own ticket to the Finals, and of course we can’t overlook LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James carried Cleveland on his back to make Round 2. Many are ready to put their money where their mouths are and betting that he can carry the team single-handedly into the promised land, in what will be his last season in Cleveland.
The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament runs from July 2-15 and even those who don’t normally watch the game will be keeping at least a passing eye on this event. Roger Federer won it all last year for his eighth Singles championship at the All England Club and is thus far the overall favorite to repeat. Federer has won a record eight Wimbledon titles.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are also perennial contenders to take the crown. Djokovic has won the event three times while Nadal has done so twice. Two-time champion Andy Murray is the only other player given realistic odds of taking down the title.
3. World Cup (Sorry Americans)
We can’t forget the FIFA World Cup unless you’re an American, at which point – sorry folks; better luck in 2022. For international players at the World Series of Poker, this will likely be the only sporting event discussed from mid-June through mid-July.
It doesn’t matter whether your country is a football (American translation: soccer) powerhouse or not, if you’re team is in the World Cup, you’re going to root and probably bet on them. Again, sorry Americans. This year you get to see real footballers play.
READ MORE: Poker and Soccer Mix at the World Cup and WSOP
For those who care about favorites, Germany is the overall pick to win it all with Brazil right behind. France, Spain, and Argentina round out the top five teams most likely to win this year’s World Cup. Expect plenty of betting action this summer on the World Cup – unless you’re American…
4. Stanley Cup Finals
Should the Las Vegas Golden Knights manage to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, expect the entire city to be in a hockey frenzy. The Golden Knights are presently in the second round of the NHL Playoffs and – incredibly, for an expansion franchise – have their sights set on the Stanley Cup. While Vegas oddsmakers still favor the Nashville Predators, that’s subject to change.
Some of the best online sportsbooks in the USA give Tampa Bay the best odds to win the Stanley Cup, but then again, that will likely change following Round 2 action. Anything can and usually does happen in the NHL Playoffs, so the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy the action.
On a practical note, if Vegas’ hockey team makes the Finals, expect the city to be “All Golden Knights, All the Time,” and for that vibe to spread to the poker tables. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see starting times of some WSOP events delayed by WSOP staff to help facilitate game viewing.
5. World Series of Poker Main Event
There will be plenty of side bets and prop betting during the World Series of Poker, but at some point players and fans should be able to make bets on the WSOP Main Event. These bets will range from betting on the overall winner to specialty bets such as whether certain celebrities will go deep in the event.
Once we get deep or the final table is established, players should be able to bet on the final table participants. Last year, Scott Blumstein was easily favored to win it all with John Hesp getting a lot of betting action as well.
Even if players don’t place bets in Vegas on the event, there will still be plenty of side betting “for entertainment purposes only.”