2016 was interesting in the poker world, but what will poker look like in 2017? We take a look at some bold predictions and some obvious predictions for poker in 2017.
Prediction: No more WSOP November 9 final table
While the gimmick was great when it was first used, the time has come to revert back to playing the final table during the WSOP series.
Given the number of unknowns who make the final table in such a big field, poker fans just don’t care. The whole point is to profile them and turn them into celebrities. This just hasn’t happened.
Making the final table the end of the WSOP carnival is what should happen. It’s what the general poker community wants, and if not in 2017, soon thereafter.
Prediction: The Full Tilt Poker brand will fold
This year, PokerStars merged Full Tilt Poker’s player base into the PokerStars player base. The Full Tilt player base had become so small, that players were leaving in drones in search for more action.
In 2017, there will be very little brand power that Full Tilt Poker will carry, that it will make sense to drop the brand completely.
Prediction: Australia will have a second major poker boom
The big Australian poker boom happened when Joe Hachem won the main event in 2005. Australian’s, the biggest gamblers per capita in the world, finally got the taste for poker and it took off big time.
The Australian pro who is most likely to cause another boom is James Obst. Obst has an incredible online record with multiple wins in major PokerStars events (under the screen name Andy McLEOD). He is know for his excellent Omaha game, plus mixed games in general.
2016 was the year when Obst started to hit the live poker limelight by finishing 2nd to Jason Mercier for a WSOP bracelet in the HORSE championship event. He also made a deep run in the 2016 main event and finished 13th for just over $400k.
If Obst keeps this up, another Aussie poker boom is definitely on the cards!
Prediction: The WSOP Main Event will hit 7,000+ entrants
The 7,000 entrant mark has only been hit twice; in 2006 (8,773) and 2010 (7,319). The last 6 years have seen the number sit between 6,000 and 7,000 but hasn’t moved much in either direction.
2016 had 6,737, up from 6,420 in 2015. This can partially be attributed to PokerStars entering the New Jersey market and creating more home-grown interest.
This will continue in 2017 with the possibility of regulated poker in other US states.
One of the biggest factors is the buy-in remaining at $10,000. Standard inflation is increasing things like salaries, so $10,000 is slowly becoming more accessible to casual poker players. Over the next few years it’s very possible this will play a major factor in the number of entrants.
The burning question is whether the buy-in should be raised to $25,000 to counter inflation and to create a more prestigious event.
Prediction: Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson will win a WSOP bracelet
Very controversial prediction, but when you look at the facts, it is definitely possible.
Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson made a very controversial return to the WSOP in 2016. He was verbally abused and yelled at during his time at the tables. For the uninitiated, Ferguson played a big part in the downfall of Full Tilt Poker, and many believe justice was not served. Ferguson effectively ‘stole’ from online poker players during the ordeal.
Most of the coverage around Ferguson at the 2016 WSOP was due to him reappearing, not the actual results. His results were actually quite incredible. Ferguson cashed in a total of 10 WSOP bracelet events in 2016. His best finish was 4th in the $10k 6-handed championship event for just under $200k.
He also had a few other deep runs which shows he still has the ability to play with the best. If you remove the scandal from Ferguson’s career, he is actually one of the most prolific poker players to ever play the game with $8.5 million in tournament cashes.
A bracelet in 2017 is definitely not out of the question.
Prediction: Phil Ivey’s casino lawsuits will still not be settled
There has been so much back and forth between Ivey’s lawyers and the casinos claiming he illegitimately won money from them. Not really a bold prediction, but my the end of 2017, Ivey could still be battling the casinos in court.
Prediction: A celebrity will win a WSOP bracelet
Celebrities are playing more and more poker and it’s only a matter of time until a big celebrity takes down a WSOP bracelet event.
Some huge names have been playing poker for years and are quite good. You will regularly see these celebrities on the felt:
– Jason Alexander
– Tobey Maguire
– Ray Romano
– Aaron Paul
– Jennifer Tilly
– Matt Damon
– Ben Affleck
– Gabe Kaplan
– Shannon Elizabeth
– Michael Phelps
– Nick Cassavetes
– Rafael Nadal
– Shane Warne
2017 might be the year of the celebrity given how many have now taken up the game, not to mention they can easily afford to play in many of the events.
Prediction: Jason Mercier will have a quiet 2017 in tournament poker
After winning 2 (and almost a 3rd!) WSOP bracelets in 2016, Mercier will have a quieter 2017 on the tournament poker scene.
This prediction might seem a bit ridiculous, but Mercier is in the middle of wedding plans and will be slightly distracted from poker. This isn’t to say he will completely drop off the radar, but it’s difficult to keep up the intensity of tournament poker with a distraction such as a wedding.