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Landon Tice Has No Beef With Becker, Just Wants To Make Him Pay

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Two months out from another busy summer of poker in Las Vegas, there’s a buzz building for the 2024 World Series of Poker. It’s not about any of the 99 gold bracelet events in particular, but one major headline currently stands out among the rest.

Landon Tice vs. Jeremy Becker.

It’s a proxy war between Matt Berkey (Tice) and Daniel Negreanu (Becker). Each player is backing their protégé, with a crossbook bet of all of their action. The way a crossbook works is that two players compare their results, and the player with more money won gets paid an additional sum that typically represents the difference in their total winnings, with a variety of potential limits and conditions involved. When it comes to this particular bet, there are only a handful of conditions.

The crossbook began when Negreanu seemingly put out a message on X (formerly Twitter) in which he, seemingly innocuously, named a handful of heads-up pairings that he thought would make intriguing pairings.

It only took an hour for Tice to respond, and a bet was quickly born.

 “I’m pretty sure he knew that I was gonna jump at it, or Matt [Berkey] was gonna jump at it,” said Tice. “I told him my DMs are open if you want to crossbook, and he just messaged me instantly.

“We both got what we wanted.”

All four parties involved were quickly in agreement, and the details were hammered out in a short time. Only a handful of conditions were added, essentially making it so that each and every cash accumulated over the course of the summer will go towards each player’s total.

“With the crossbook and the way that we’ve finalized it, it’s become a summer versus summer bet,” said Tice. “It doesn’t have to be mutual events, and it’s anything $10K and under is just crossbooked at 100%. So whatever JBex plays, it’s crossbooked 100%. If it’s dailies, if it’s a $5K, it’s all the same. And if I’m playing a $10K 6-Max, a $3,500 or even a daily myself, that’s gonna be crossbook 100% capped to $250K.”

The bet drawing attention was not surprising in the least, especially with Negreanu being involved and publicizing it. What did come as something of a shock is just how much outside action came in. Negreanu was happy to bet with anyone who wanted Tice’s side in the bet, and so many wanted to bet on Becker’s side against Tice that Berkey got all the action he could want at +110 odds, and then some.

“I’m not surprised how it went the way it did publicly,” said Tice. “I am mildly surprised at the amount of traction it got – I knew it was gonna be big when Daniel made it public, people are gonna care because of his following. Then I have a following myself, nowhere near as big, [but different].

“It was just going to be that way between the math nerds and the people that can just try to soul-read someone. That’s kind of where the spirit of the bet came from.”

Tice has been out in the trenches getting reps, and within days of locking down the summer crossbook bet he won a tournament at a location that’s been near and dear to Becker for quite some time – Wynn Las Vegas. Tice bested a field of 512 entries for $32,025, and for his winner photo chose to poke fun at Becker’s signature winner’s photo holding a 5-3 offsuit and yawning while he did it.

“It was good timing, for sure, and it’s nice to be able to have the needles,” said Tice. “There’s no beef between JBex or Daniel and I, he just kind of has his stance, I have my stance and we’re both just trying to make each other pay. But at the end of the day, it’s all fun.”

While the crossbook bet was made with the idea of friendly competition, it was also made with the idea of a potentially significant windfall in one direction or the other. And though Tice is positioned as the more theoretical, mathematical player of the two, getting reps and building stamina before the summer begins is a calculated balance that Tice must strike.

He doesn’t want to burn himself out, not before the summer begins nor when the real action kicks in.

“This summer is more of a situation where you’re rewarded for playing more volume. Because if I can get in $250K in buy-ins over the summer at $10K and under and, in theory, my ROI stays relatively the same, that can be a good spot,” said Tice. “But if I just pick and choose what I want, that’s going to be less money for me to win in the prize pools, which then doesn’t get crossbooked as much.

“It’s just gonna be about playing as much as I can, as well as I can. I’m just taking each tournament as it is and then trying to hop into the next thing as fast as I can if, as long as it makes sense.”

For the moment, Tice is getting his reps in on the WPT Voyage, where he joined the entire cast of characters from the OnlyFriends podcast. While on the ship, Tice took part in the $5,000 Main Tour championship event, taking on the kind of competition he’s likely to see during the 2024 WSOP at a buy-in level that could be crucial to swinging the crossbook bet one way or the other.

Tice was excited to get out and battle on the WPT Voyage, but doesn’t believe he’ll play an excess of tournaments before the bet with Becker kicks in.

“I think it’s helpful, but I’m not sure if it’s the most important thing,” said Tice. “I think that getting volume is good, but I don’t have to cut my nose to spite my face when it comes to playing as much as possible. I play a lot of live poker as is, so I think most of my time is just gonna be going towards getting better theoretically, and then seeing how that manifests itself in the live realm.”

For his part, Becker isn’t slowing down his regular pace which sometimes seems like it’s more than one live tournament a day, every day. He recently finished second in a WSOP Circuit event in Las Vegas, and his level of excitement in both being backed by Negreanu and having the chance to be Negreanu’s proxy in a high-stakes bet has him in a particularly strong headspace.

So what does Tice think will be the key to winning the bet this summer, and prove his analytical approach is superior? It’s simpler than you might think.

“We’ll see. Gotta win a lot of all-ins,” said Tice. “For sure I’ve got to try to play as many as I can, because the more you play, the more you win.”

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