The Superbowl kicks off today at 6:30 pm EST between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. Many a poker player has seen their roll dwindle at the hands of the sportsbook. Still, The Big Game tends to get our action.
I’ve talked to quite a few poker players about their action on the game. You can learn a lot about a poker player based on how they gamble on the Superbowl. Here are some of the bets I’ve heard and how I judged them for it.
Bet #1: Eagles -1.0 or Chiefs +1.0
Picking a winner is boring. It’s the first bet listed on the card. You’re picking a winner against the handicap. How exciting.
You show up to the table with headphones on, don’t say a word to anyone, and play a solid strategy to grind out a small win. You’ve never put a straddle on in your life. The biggest winner is the house.
If you’re going to bet on the game-winner, at least take the money line instead of giving or getting one point. I hope your bet ends in a push.
Bet #2: Over 51
You’re taking the over? You like action. You don’t care who wins or loses, you just want to see a good game. And a good game involves scoring. A lot of scoring.
At the table, you root for blood. You don’t care who’s involved in the hand, you just want the chips to fly. A VPIP below 40% is criminal to you. The words “triple straddle” make you feel alive again.
You live for the action. You bring the action. You deserve action. I hope they score 100 points and go to double overtime today.
Bet #3: Under 51
How dare you. Who roots for the under? Sure, maybe you think it’s a good bet. But, is that how you want to live your life, rooting for defense and a lack of scoring?
At the cash table, when you raise with pocket jacks, you’re hoping to just take down the blinds; a win is a win, no matter how it happens. You take over 20 seconds to act preflop on every hand. If the entire table is rocking a 15% VPIP, you’re content to play tight while watching two or three movies during the session.
Loosen up. Live a little. I hope they score 41 points in the first half. You’ll have the smallest amount of hope that will soon be obliterated.
Bet #4: Coin toss heads or tails
The ultimate degenerate bet. You know the house is taking odds off of sucker bets but you don’t care one bit. You need to set the tone with the earliest possible in-game bet. You’ve probably looked at the result of the last ten coin tosses and used that to determine your pick. Something something gambler’s fallacy.
Listen, I’m all for gambling it up. But why give the sportsbook free juice? Flip a coin with friends and find someone willing to bet at even odds.
At the table, you’re looking for action outside of the actual game in any way possible. Think Phil Ivey back on High Stakes Poker days. The things his iconic notebook of prop bets must have seen. You’re betting red or black on flops just to stay entertained and have money on the line. You ask for action on throwing your water bottle in the trash can. And at the end of the night, when you’re stuck six buy-ins and watching people leave the game, you’re begging for PLO flips to try and get even.
You know what, I hope your coin toss bet hits. You’ll be happy going into the game and that’s good for the party. Use the money to buy your friends a round.
Bet #5: How long will it take Chris Stapleton to sing the National Anthem? (Over/Under 2:03)
You have to have inside information. Everyone I’ve ever met that has bet this prop claims to have inside information. Either that or you don’t care about football at all but you want to bet on something.
“I heard a leaked rehearsal, this is definitely going way over,” you say. “I’m the biggest Chris Stapleton fan, he’ll slow this way down,” you convince your buddies. I’m sure you know more than the sportsbooks.
At the table, you’re looking for every edge you can find, whether that involves diligent studying or insider information. You’re hyper-aware of each player’s tendencies. You might try and catch a glimpse of your neighbor’s hole cards. You know that the last time your opponent overbet the river, two years ago, it was a bluff.
Bust out that stopwatch and tell everyone to be quiet during the National Anthem. They’ll think you’re showing National Pride. Whether your bet hits or misses, when you get emotional, you can just blame Stapleton’s smooth patriotic rendition of the Anthem.
Chiefs will beat the Eagles 30-24, hitting the over. The coin toss will be heads. And the National Anthem will last 2:05.
Whether you’re spending your Sunday on the felt or in front of the big screen, I hope you enjoy some run good. Happy Superbowl Sunday poker fans.