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We predict who will win the 2016 WSOP Main Event!

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The November Nine will soon be battling it out in Las Vegas.  Who will win the 2016 WSOP Main Event?  Advanced Poker Training decided to run 100 simulations and see who came out on top.

The Process

We started by consulting with the folks at, who had personally interviewed each of the remaining players.  Using what we learned about each player’s personality, plus what we know about their playing style from past results, we created a virtual representation of each player.  Our patented system allows us to configure 42 personality factors for each opponent (bot).  We then sat them around a table, gave them the exact chip stack they’ll be starting with in November (err…actually October 30th), and had them battle it out.  We repeated this simulation 100 times…and the results may surprise you.

The Opponent Modeling

After our initial assessment, this was the personality style we arrived at for each bot:

Cliff Josephy:  Given that he has the most experience, he will play as close to optimal as possible, while using his big stack to be aggressive towards the smaller stacks, and also adjusting his game to his opponent’s tendencies as the final table plays out.  (For example, if things don’t go well and he gets back to an average stack size, he will switch gears well).

Qui Nguyen:  This bot will be over-aggressive, and will not adjust his style well if things aren’t going well.  He will also make some occasional bad plays post-flop.

Gordon Vayo:  Will play tighter than the Cliff Josephy bot.  Will adjust well to changes in stack size, and things that don’t go his way.  Very few mistakes.

Kenny Hallaert:  Will play a very sound pre-flop tournament game (taking advantage of blind steal situations, squeeze plays, etc).  Might play a little less optimal on any hands that reach the later streets where instinct would be more of a factor, where Cliff and Gordon might have an edge on him due to the sheer number of hands they’ve played.

Michael Ruane:  Plays a mathematical (game theory optimal) style.  Will start off tight-aggressive for the first level or two but will gradually loosen up, especially if his stack is going up.  Will attack the stacks shorter than him when possible.

Vojtech Ruzicka:  Will play similar to Michael Ruane, but will have to build up some chips before he loosens up.  May make an occasional error due to nerves so I’ll incorporate that into the bot too.

Griffin Benger:  Will play well, but will not be capable on many moves due to his stack size.  Will mostly have to play tight and only get involved with premium hands or in late position once the big stacks have folded.  A lot of his success will weigh on the stack size of the players to his left.

Jerry Wong:  Given the size of the blinds, he will be looking for an opportunity to re-raise someone all-in pre-flop.  He most likely will try this against a medium-stack opener who has a lot to lose by dropping $10M in chips.

Fernando Pons:  Is basically in shove or fold mode.  Will be looking early on for a spot to shove, but without the knowledge of optimal shoving strategy that Jerry Wong has.  If he does double up, he will be more of a wild card.  Potentially making mistakes and/or bizarre plays that might keep his opponents guessing.  Has no fear of getting eliminated.

The Results

A total of 35,894 hands were played over the 100 simulations, making for an average of 359 hands per final table, until the winner was declared.  The table below shows the results.  It shows the Actual Wins for each player (in the simulation), versus the Predicted Wins (based solely on their starting chip stack).  It also shows the Percent Difference between their actual and predicted dollars won.  The higher the number, the better their performance.  (The Predicted values were arrived at using the Independent Chip Model, or ICM)


A Few Quick Takeaways

  1. Cliff Josephy underperformed (surprisingly).  He only won 17 of the 100 simulations.  He was expected to win 22.  However, he was only down by 7% overall, indicating he did finish highly in most of the simulations.
  2. Fernando Pons managed to win 5 times, quite an accomplishment.  He won 19% more prize money than expected.  Perhaps we corrected accounted for his no-fear attitude, and that helped him.
  3. The biggest surprise was Qui Nguyen, winning 26 times instead of the (predicted) 20.  The fact that he was only up by 9% overall though, indicates that he probably crashed and burned a bunch of times too, which would make sense since we made his bot the gambler of the bunch.

You can check out the ongoing coverage of this story on

Update October 17, 2016:  Part 2 of the series is now on

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