2018 Gambling Olympics: Love of the Game Is Jennings’ Secret Weapon in Yahtzee

Jul 08, 2018 8:50 PM EDT

The Highlights

  • Yahtzee is one of 12 events in the inaugural Gambling Olympics and takes place Monday, July 9.
  • Each of the 12 contestants will compete in a bracket-style tournament with matchups chosen at random.
  • A few contestants have experience in Yahtzee, but none have allowed it to tug at the heart strings quite like Peter Jennings.

The 2018 Gambling Olympics is a two-day 12-person contest taking place in Las Vegas on July 9-10. The buy-in is $2,500, and the winner gets $10,000.

Before, during and after the Gambling Olympics, we will provide extensive coverage via participant profiles, event breakdowns and live in-person analysis. Be sure to follow all the action in the Gambling Olympics section of the site.

 

Official Rules

  • The object of Yahtzee is to get the highest score possible from throwing five dice.
  • There are 13 rounds.
  • Each player must score once in each of the game’s 13 categories to obtain a victory.
  • Bracket style; matchups are chosen at random.
  • Byes and standings determined by score.

While the game is allegedly based on luck, veterans will undoubtedly help their own cause by filling up the most valuable categories as quickly as possible.

Individual Odds

The fine folks at MyBookie seem to believe there is no skill to playing Yahtzee, as each contestant boasts identical odds:

Team Odds

The same goes for each team:

Who Wins Yahtzee?

Yahtzee joins Standings Prediction and Lodden Thinks as the only events in which oddsmakers have decided there isn’t a favorite. This is fair: Yahtzee is a game centered on a roll of the dice that can easily be played by kids and adults alike. Still, having a bit of experience in the field isn’t a bad thing.

On the Twitter machine in April, Jennings declared Yahtzee one of his all-time favorite games. He also noted his love for the game theory involved in Yahtzee, essentially mocking anyone that believes it isn’t a skill game.

How much does CSURAM88 love Yahtzee? He’s the one to thank for the phrase becoming a sort of rallying cry for key sports moments over the years:

Despite the likely overwhelming amount of time Jennings has spent with Yahtzee over the years, Levitan clearly isn’t intimidated by his fellow donkey’s storied past. Levitan has stated on the record that he’s spent “unquantifiable” hours in the lab to prepare for Yahtzee.

As for Brown, his history with Yahtzee hasn’t been as great in recent years. In his own words:

My weakest (event) will be Yahtzee. Ever since my epic run at O’Shea’s oh-so-many years ago, all dice have turned against me. They know how much I embarrassed their brethren back in the day, and now they’re making me pay for my transgressions.

It’s great to see Brown has accepted his unfortunate fate, but that type of luck surely won’t do him any favors during this competition.

Some other notes:

  • Adams still needs to play Yahtzee for the first time and listed the game as his fifth-worst event.
  • Koerner aka The Oddsmaker lists Yahtzee as his sixth-strongest event, and he’s been practicing with the help of Mrs. Oddsmaker.
  • The Manz has indicated he has given up sleeping in favor of playing Yahtzee.

Where’s the Value?

Sometimes chasing a bet thanks to a narrative isn’t the best idea. Betting your hard-earned cash on strangers playing Yahtzee also probably isn’t the best idea. But perhaps a joint marriage between these two ideologies could produce something special.

There are three key narratives that bettors can chase in a competition with equal odds across the board:

  1. “Winners worry about winning, losers worry about winners”: Paul Lo Duca (former MLB All-Star catcher), Scott Blumstein (2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion).
  2. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”: Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Pete Manzinelli.
  3. “True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another”: Peter Jennings.

Ultimately, there’s only one contestant in the field that loves Yahtzee. If betting against love is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Individual Pick: Peter Jennings +600
Team Pick: Team Jennings +150

Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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