Throughout the year, I make various predictions in Weekly Shuffle articles. These predictions are on topics ranging from legal matters to online poker software developments. This week, let's revisit some of these predictions to see if they were correct or not.
One prediction was that there would be a European equivalent to the World Series of Poker and that this tournament would have a $10 million+ prize pool by 2008. So far, this prediction appears spot on.
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Harrah's has announced plans for World Series of Poker Europe, which will take place in London this September. Three events will be played. There will be a H.O.R.S.E. event with a £2,500, a £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event, and a £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event.
For the $10 million prediction to hold true, only 500 players need to enter the no-limit hold'em event. Considering that the online poker rooms will likely hold many satellites to this event, I think the $10 million mark will easily be reached this year.
I can't entirely pat myself on the back for this prediction though. In the article, I also predicted that the tournament would be similar to the WSOP, but would in fact not be called the "WSOP Europe Main Event." This turned out to be flat-out wrong. The European WSOP really will be the European WSOP.
Number of WSOP Entrants
In several articles, I've predicted that the WSOP Main Event will have significantly fewer entrants this year than in prior years. I also predicted that the 2008 Main Event will have less than 2000 entrants (slightly less than when Greg Raymer won the WSOP).
The main reason for these pessimistic predictions was the UIGEA. Harrah's has announced they will not allow third party registrations of WSOP entrants from US-facing sites (it's not clear if non-US sites will be able to register players directly either). While US-facing poker rooms are holding WSOP satellites, it appears that they are unable to register poker players for the Main Event. Instead, they are just putting $10k in the winning players' poker accounts.
When push comes to shove, most people who get thrown $10k are not going to withdraw it and then invest it all into a poker tournament. While it's impossible to know for sure, I would guess 75% of the WSOP satellite winners at US-facing sites will not end up playing the WSOP unless they were planning on doing so anyway.
The inability of US-facing sites to register players directly could easily mean a decrease of 3000 players, perhaps more. It will be several weeks before the Main Event kicks off, but so far, the prediction of a smaller WSOP Main Event appears likely to be correct. The prediction that the 2008 WSOP will have less than 2000 players is still a bit of a stretch, but a lot can happen in a year in the poker world.
Party Poker Becoming Largest Poker Site
One bold prediction that was apparently too bold was that Party Poker would overtake PokerStars to become the largest online poker room by the start of the WSOP Main Event. While technically there is still time for this prediction to come true, it seems extremely unlikely to happen.
This prediction was made based on two assumptions. First, it would become even more difficult for Americans to deposit/withdraw from online gambling sites, so PokerStars would lose most of its casual US players. Second, since US-facing poker sites are much more difficult than the non-US ones, Europeans would migrate from the US-facing sites to the softer non-US poker rooms.
While it still difficult for Joe American to deposit (and sometimes withdraw) from online poker sites, it remains possible. The Treasury Department still has not formally released its UIGEA regulations, and the DOJ has only arrested one more payment processor since the Neteller arrests. Whether or not it becomes more difficult for Americans to deposit at online poker sites is still anyone's guess, but I would still wager it will certainly not get easier unless pro-online gambling legislation in America passes (which still remains doubtful at this time).
Furthermore, Europeans have not migrated from the US-facing sites as much as I had expected. It is still somewhat surprising that many Europeans play at PokerStars, especially the ring games. Compared to pretty much every non-US poker site, the games are tougher at Pokerstars when played for anything higher than micro-stakes.