• The 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event final table begins on Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Joe Cada, who won the Main Event in 2009, is back, but isn't the favorite despite being the most accomplished player.
  • Chips are power at the final table, so the odds more or less line up with the chip counts.

All poker players would agree that no one wins the World Series of Poker Main Event without a lot of luck.

But there’s luck, and then there’s what Joe Cada did when he won it all in 2009, taking home more than $8.5 million.

There’s a reason that one of the first videos that comes up on YouTube when you search for Cada is “Joe Cada Luckiest person alive.” Twice at that final table he was all-in as a 4-1 underdog with a pocket pair lower than his opponent’s. Both times he flopped three of a kind and prevailed, then went on to win the tournament.

Cada is back at the final table in 2018, which begins Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET. The field will be cut down by three players each night until Saturday, when the champion is crowned. It will be broadcast on 30-minute tape delay on ESPN.

Here are the full odds to win the final table, via Bet365.com.

Odds to Win 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event

Cada has more than validated his title in the years since, adding two more WSOP bracelets and pushing his career live earnings near $11 million. But if he pulls off a second WSOP Main Event title this week, he will join a very short list of poker greats who won “The Big One” more than once. They’re all legends of the game — Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan.

Cada is the marquee name among the nine players (six Americans, an Australian, a Frenchman and a Ukrainian) who on Wednesday reached the final table of this year’s Main Event. A second title for Cada would be arguably the greatest feat in poker history. After all, Moss and Ungar won the Main Event three times and Brunson and Chan won it twice each, but none of them beat a field larger than 312. Cada beat a field of 6,494 in 2009 and is still standing from a field of 7,874 this year.

Cada is by far the most accomplished player at the final table, but he is not the favorite. Chips are power, and two players have put themselves well ahead of the field in the battle to claim this year’s crown and $8.8 million. (Don’t weep for the rest of the final seven, however: Everyone is guaranteed at least $1 million.)

Here’s a final table power ranking, with players listed in order of their chances to take down the Main Event title, in my estimation:

1. Michael Dyer (seat 7)

Chip position: Second, 109,175,000 (27.7% of chips in play)

Career live tournament winnings (via The Hendon Mob database): $95,020

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

A basic rule of thumb for poker tournaments — whatever percentage of the chips you hold, that’s your percentage chance of winning. Dyer and Nicolas Manion together hold more than 56% of the chips. Of course, anything can happen at the poker table, but let’s play the percentages: The winner is likely to be one of those two.

I’d bet on Dyer. He held a monster chip lead until the final hand Wednesday, when Manion won a wild, unlikely-to-happen-again-in-this-lifetime three-way all-in to edge just ahead of him. Dyer’s tournament results are modest, but his play Wednesday showed he knows how to wield a big stack and apply pressure. He also has position on Manion, being two seats to his left.

Dyer is your favorite. Books likely won’t give you full chip value, but Dyer is worth a look if you get around 2.5-1 or better.

2. Nicolas Manion (seat 5)

Chip position: First, 112,775,000 (28.6%)

Career live tournament winnings: $16,739

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

If you didn’t click on the link above (and you should), Manion was sitting with the rest of the pack with about 43 million before being blessed by the poker gods with pocket aces while two opponents held pocket kings. Now he’s the chip leader. He told WSOP.com that he normally plays $1-$2 cash games back home. Quite simply, this is the heater of a lifetime.

I wouldn’t expect it to continue at the final table, but you have to respect his chip position (more than 2.5 times more chips than anyone besides Dyer). He should stay out of Dyer’s way, especially since he’s out of position, try to move up the pay ladder, get to the final three, then try to make something happen.

3. John Cynn (seat 2)

Chip position: Fourth, 37,075,000 (9.4%)

Career live tournament winnings: $944,786

Best Main Event finish: 11th in 2016

This is a dangerous player who is one double-up from being a force at the final table. He’s been rock-solid in the play shown so far on ESPN. He has Main Event experience and nearly $1 million in lifetime winnings. I don’t think he’ll shrink from the moment, and I give him the slight edge on Cada because of his better chip position.

Cynn is my dark horse pick at 7-1. He should overperform his chip position while Manion underperforms his.

4. Joe Cada (seat 8)

Chip position: Sixth, 23,675,000 (6%)

Career live tournament winnings: $10,779,041

Best Main Event finish: First in 2009

The former champ has picked his spots beautifully so far, including a perfectly timed triple-barrel bluff that induced Alex Lynskey to fold top pair when he could have called and eliminated Cada from the tournament. Cada faces an uphill battle for sure, starting in the sixth chip position, but he won’t be awed by the moment. One double-up, and he’ll have a great shot to be in the final three. And if he gets chips, he has position on Dyer.

5. Alex Lynskey (seat 3)

Chip position: Fifth, 25,925,000 (6.6%)

Career live tournament winnings: $1,769,666

Best Main Event finish: 606th in 2016

Lynskey got bluffed by Cada, but in a vacuum, it was probably correct to fold his top pair with a weak kicker. The Aussie boasts some strong results and didn’t seem fazed by the spotlight. Dyer’s biggest concern should be someone from this group of Cynn, Cada and Lynskey doubling up and getting some momentum. They know all the moves and can take advantage of opponents’ mistakes.

6. Tony Miles (seat 4)

Chip positon: Third, 42,750,000 (10.9%)

Career live tournament winnings: $54,333

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

Third in chips, but short on experience compared to the previous three. He would do well to avoid early confrontations and try to move up the pay ladder before taking a shot at the leaders.

7. Artem Metalidi (seat 1)

Chip position: Eighth, 15,475,000 (3.9%)

Career live tournament winnings: $2,131,437

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

He’s got very impressive results, but not that many chips. The Ukrainian has cashed in three WSOP events this summer. The rest of the table will want him to stay right where he is.

8. Aram Zobian (seat 6)

Chip position: Seventh, 18,875,000 (4.8%)

Career live tournament winnings: $110,444

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

He’s shown he can be aggressive. Like everyone besides the two chip leaders, he’ll probably wait for short stack Antoine Labat to bust. After that, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Zobian open up and try to get some chips or go out in eighth.

9. Antoine Labat (seat 9)

Chip position: Ninth, 8,050,000 (2%)

Career live tournament winnings: $194,789

Best Main Event finish: Never cashed

The Frenchman will be looking to find a hand and go with it pretty early. Nowhere to go but up. Or bust.

Credit:

@WSOP (Twitter). Pictured: Nicolas Manion

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