1. The % of the pot going to charity vs the prizes is even greater than my earlier posts suggest. This is because there are optional $100 re-buys that do not affect the prize pool.
2. While the decision to enter may not make sense from an Expected(Value) perspective, but it may from an Expected(Utility) perspective. By analogy, if a Lotto ticket costs $1 and the prize is $10 million and there is a 1 in 16 million chance of winning, this is a losing proposition from an EV perspective. Of course, a prize of $17 million would have positive EV (lets ignore ties and split pots for simplicity...we can come up with a pot that is high enough to justify entering!) Well, my guess is that the utility you get from $17 mill is not 1.7 times the utility from $10 mill. As a matter of fact, I would guess that the utility is approximately equal. Either way, your boss is getting the middle finger on Monday and within about 48 hours you will be on a beach somewhere with one of those little umbrellas in your drink. Managed properly, you could never work again. So if the E(U) of 17 mill is = the E(U) of 10 mill and we know that the $17 mill prize warrants buying a ticket, you should buy a ticket at $10 mill.
3. On a very related note people often make the mistake of the "false option". In this case, they may say, "I would rather just get 200 friends together and each put in $50 and the winner gets to go to the WSOP. OK, when are you going to get those 200 friends together? It isnt really one of your options. Your only options are play in the charity tournament or don't play. When I am on my death bed, I won't give a damn if I have an extra $150 in my pocket ($200 entry in this tournament minus the $50 in the "false option" tournament.) However, I will (possibly) be able to look back on the time that i got to play in the WSOP and fufill one of my biggest dreams. The Utility of living out a dream is something that I can hardly describe, as it only happens a handful of times in each of our lives.
4. It is, btw, a worthwhile charity - the Houston Food Bank.