10/20/2011 2:42PM

Tuley: Betting allowed this year on World Series of Poker


LAS VEGAS – This city is known for big gambling tournaments, and this fall is enhancing that reputation.

The Hilton SuperContest drew a record 517 entries this NFL season and is going strong. The entrant going by the name Sans Souci (French for “without worry” and borrowed by a group of four friends from an old story about Jerry Garcia) is off to a 23-5-3 record against the spread and holds a 1 1/2-game lead.

Last weekend, two big horse racing tournaments were held in town. The Win to Wager II was held at Treasure Island, the new host of the Daily Racing Form /NTRA National Handicapping Championship, with the top three finishers earning NHC XIII berths. Lawrence Katz of Toronto won the $16,600 first-place prize with another invader from the Great White North – Gerald Abramovitz of Alberta – taking the second-place prize of $6,640. Both hit the late pick 4 at Santa Anita for $50,722.70. Chris Russo of Staten Island, N.Y., was third and earned $4,980.

The Fall Classic at the Orleans was won by Brian Herrity of Mankato, Minn., who took home the $67,000 first-place prize. The top 50 finishers qualified for the Horseplayer World Series on Feb. 23-25.

News flash: in addition to that tourney, Coast Casinos also announced the rest of its 2010 tourney schedule: Championship at the Orleans on March 29-31, Summer Classic at the Gold Coast on July  26-28, and the Fall Classic at the Orleans on Oct.  4-6.

But the most famous gambling tournament of them all is the World Series of Poker, and specifically the Main Event, at the Rio. It started back in July with a field of 6,865 – third largest in history – and resumes in two weeks with the November Nine playing the final table starting at 11:30 a.m Pacific on Sunday, Nov. 6, until they’re down to the final three, who will then return to finish the tourney at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and shoot for the $8.71 million first-place prize and poker immortality.

Several things are new for this year’s finale. The most notable for the fans that watch on ESPN is that it’s going to be near-live coverage with just a 15-minute delay (to appease gaming regulators) and will show the hole cards.

Another big change (for those living here or visiting Vegas) is betting on the WSOP is allowed for the first time legally in the sports books after the state’s Gaming Control Board eased restrictions earlier this year. Several books have odds on who will win the bracelet with chip leader Martin Staszko the consensus favorite with his $40  million stack, though Ben Lamb – sitting in fifth place at $20.9 million – has been getting a lot of support and is the 5-2 favorite at Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s Entertainment), the Rio’s parent company.

Caesars also received permission to offer several prop bets, including whether the first flop on Nov. 6 would have more red or black cards (-110 each way), who will finish in ninth place (Sam Holdin is even-money), what the final winning hand will be (pair is the 1-3 fave, high card getting action at 5-1), and number of hands dealt at the final table (lots of choices from “less than 180” to “301 or more” with the range of 241-260 being the 9-5 fave).

Fumble recovery boosts Bengals

I went 1 for 3 with my posted plays last week. I did it again where the two Hilton SuperContest plays I didn’t include here (Bills and Cowboys) both covered while my “best bets” lost. The one that got away was the Colts +7 vs. the Bengals as Pierre Garcon’s late fumble was run back for a spread-covering touchdown. Fortunately I added my first NFL over/under of the season as I expected the unders to start coming in (and they did at 10-3 on the weekend) and won with the 49ers-Lions under 46.5, though that nearly slipped way, which would have been a real slap in the back.

Bears-Buccaneers o/u 46 (in London)

I’ll start with this game since I’m undefeated with totals. It’s similar to the situation I talked about last week with the 49ers-Lions game having possible playoff implications. The Bears need a win to get back in wild-card contention and the Bucs are battling the Saints for the NFC South and a loss would hurt them there as well as dropping into a tie (that they would lose) with the Bears. These overseas games tend to be snoozers, too.

PLAY: Bears-Bucs under 43.5 for 1  unit

Falcons +3.5 vs. Lions

I jumped on this early in the week when it was Falcons +4.5, but I still think it offers value. The Falcons got back on the winning track last week against the Panthers and are looking more like the team we were expecting them to be before the season. The Lions are still a cover machine (12-4 ATS last year, 4-1-1 this year), but the 49ers gave a blueprint for beating them, plus they’re having problems finding a running back with Jahvid Best injured and a trade for Ronnie Brown falling through when Jerome Harrison failed his physical.

PLAY: Falcons for 1 unit

Colts +14 vs. Saints

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I’m sticking with the Colts despite their heart-breaking non-cover last Sunday. They’re playing better and should have an even easier time against the Saints’ defense, while the Saints have tended to play down to their competition. This is just too many points to pass up, plus double-digit dogs are hitting at 70 percent so far this season at 7-3 (though I zigged when I should have zagged last week as I took the Rams instead of the Jaguars).

PLAY: Colts for 1 unit

Last week: 1-3 for a net loss of 2.3 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). NFL season record: 3-11 for a net loss of 9.1 units