2017 WSOP: Negreanu’s $25K Fantasy Draft Number Crunch

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Daniel Negreanu’s seventh annual K Fantasy Draft is set for Tuesday night (WPT photo)

Tuesday night at the Aria Resort & Casino will see the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl put in another full day of play, but that’s not the only big action going down there. Daniel Negreanu‘s annual $25,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Fantasy Draft is scheduled to get underway at 8 pm Las Vegas time. The annual draft allows anybody with $25,000 to enter and put together, via an auction, their own dream team of WSOP players.

Now in its seventh year, the league uses a points system designed by Negreanu that emphasizes bigger buy-in events over lower buy-in, big field tournaments. Over the last six years a number of trends have emerged and as the players in Negreanu’s league get ready to draft, PocketFives has broken down some of the data from the last six years.

The Triple Digit Club

Teams get just $200 to spend on a roster of eight players, so spending more than half of that budget on one player is a risky move. It’s happened just eight times, but four of those came last year. The only time that it seems to have been worth the price, was last year as Jason Mercier went for $101 and put up 340 points, helping lead Mercier’s team to a second place finish.

The most miserable experience for any owner came in 2011 when Barry Greenstein paid $100 for Phil Ivey, only to have Ivey announce the very next day he intended to skip the entire WSOP as a result of the Black Friday/Full Tilt Poker fallout.

Player
Year
Price
Points
Phil Ivey
2011
$108
0
Phil Ivey
2013
$110
28
Jason Mercier
2013
$101
25
Phil Ivey
2014
$101
59
Stephen Chidwick
2016
$108
86
Daniel Negreanu
2016
$105
86
Jason Mercier
2016
$101
340
Phil Hellmuth
2016
$100
40

What about The Greatest Player Alive*?

Phil Hellmuth is one of the 23 players who has been drafted every year, and if you believe the averages, the market only just recently figured out how much he’s worth. In 2011 he went for $38 and last year he was one of four players who cost a $100 or more, coming in at exactly $100. He’s a bit of an enigma for drafters though. In the years where his price was highest, 2013 and 2016, he put up the least amount of points of his six years. Still, of all the players drafted six times, nobody has put up a better average score at 148.50. The best comparable is Jason Mercier, who has averaged 144.83 points over the last six years (including a massive 340 points last year), but has cost $89.50 on average.

2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
Phil Hellmuth
Cost
$38
$50
$88
$54
$81
$100
Points
278
208
51
133
181
40

*Unconfirmed

Three Regulars You May Want to Avoid

There have been 23 players drafted every single year, and while that’s certainly an indication of a skilled and respected (and bankrolled) player, it’s not always a sign of fantasy success. Scott Seiver, Shawn Buchanan and Allen Kessler are the only three players to have been drafted every single year and return one point or less for every dollar they cost.

Average Price
Average Points
Points/$
Allen Kessler
$21.17
21.17
1.00
Scott Seiver
$63.00
54.67
0.87
Shawn Buchanan
$54.00
32.83
0.61

As a point of reference, the winning team each year usually gets 4 points for every dollar they’ve spent.

Possibly the Most Inefficiently Priced Player: Dan Smith

Twice in his career, Dan Smith has cost just $2. The last two years however he’s cost $18 and $21 respectively, but those prices appear to be a little bit on the cheap side. Smith has cashed three times in each of the last two years, with five of them coming with $10K buy-in or bigger events. In 2015 he finished third in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event and then third in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Last year posted a third-place finish in the $25,000 PLO High Roller and then second in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller. He can clearly play a majority of the Championship-level tournaments at a high level and is just a card or two away from a huge score for his owners.

Dollar, Dollar, Dollar Bill Y’all

While some of the bigger names have cost more than $100, there’s always a bunch of players that cost a single dollar each year and there’s been some value found there – even if it was blind luck. In 2015, Team Gypsy paid $1 for Anthony Zinno and he put up a team-leading 288 points. That same year, Team Glantz/Volpe paid $1 for mixed game wizardRep Porter and got 178 points out of him. In total, 102 players have cost just $1 and they’ve earned an average of 39 points.

The auction draft will be streamed live via PokerCentral’s Facebook page beginning at 8 pm PT Tuesday. For those wanting to get in on the action, David ‘ODB’ Baker runs a $500 buy-in version that uses the prices and players from Negreanu’s league. You can contact him via his Twitter account: @audavidb. Scores and standings are updated throughout the WSOP at 25KFantasy.com.