6 Predictions for the 2013 WSOP
With the 2013 World Series of Poker schedule set to be released within a couple short weeks, we thought we'd take a stab at predicting what to expect from the 44th annual series.
Here are six things we expect to characterize this year's WSOP:
More Re-Entry Events
Re-entry events are taking the live tournament poker world by storm. Caesars organizers at their Hammond, Indiana property outside of Chicago are running a $350 buy-in $1 million guaranteed event in three weeks which will have six, yes six, starting days. Of course, re-entry is permitted for any players who busted out of one of the previous starting flights.
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These re-entry events are controversial in the minds of some since they enable well-bankrolled professionals (is there even such a thing anymore?) to take multiple shots at making day two of a tournament while recreational players are less likely to have that opportunity. However, this logic seems trumped by the bigger prize pools and more chances to avoid the perils of variance in poker. After all, who wants to travel somewhere for a live tournament just to be knocked out and sent home within an hour when there's the option to play the following day as well?
Smaller buy-in, re-entry tournaments with huge prize pools is no longer the future of live poker. It's the present reality. Embrace it because you can expect WSOP organizers will do so for their 2013 schedule.
Another Twenty-Something Ships the Main Event
The $10,000 WSOP Main Event used to be won by old geezers. Today, the tournament is built for young guys. It requires a grueling degree of patience and endurance to navigate through such a large tournament field. Young players are mentally sharper, have more experience through online play, and are better capable of sustaining the days long grind that is the Main Event.
A twenty-something player has won the WSOP Main Event for each of the last five years and you can bet on it being six-in-a-row this year. For yours truly, this year will be my final chance to seize WSOP Main Event glory as a twenty-something. In 2014, I'll be among the ranks of old geezers without a prayer.
One Final Year of Mediocrity?
We've reported before about the potential for the WSOP to be spun-off to a newly-formed sister company called Caesars Interactive. This new company, unburdened by the debt of the parent company, may be capable of putting on a better show than WSOP participants have come to expect.
If any such deal occurs in the future, it will likely be within the next several months leaving the possibility that this WSOP will be the last in an era of an underwhelming experience for players. Don't bet on it, but it's possible.
Open Faced Chinese Madness
There won't be any open-faced Chinese poker on the official WSOP schedule for 2013, but you can bet without a doubt that plenty of it will be played around the Rio. This thrilling new variant of poker has been adopted by many of the game's most active professionals as poker's next big thing. One can expect to see many vacant tables around the Rio being taken over by impromptu OFC games. If Caesars is smart (historically, they haven't been), they'll capitalize on this fad by figuring out a way to deal it themselves and charge players rake.
Return of the November Nine
Last year, prior to the release of the WSOP schedule, Caesars officials teased the poker community with news that the November Nine would not be a factor in the annual proceedings. Of course, the same concept remained on the schedule only for the end of October so as not to force ESPN's broadcast to compete with the U.S. Presidential election.
This year, it's likely one can expect a return to the annual November Nine format. We advocate that Caesars should scrap this model which turns the Main Event Final Table into a competition of who can hire the best poker coaches to prep them for the massive sit-'n'-go tournament. But don't count on the powers behind PokerTips to get their way too easily on this issue. The November Nine is here to stay.
Mr. Lederer in Da Building
It might have seemed audacious last August when we predicted that Howard Lederer will play in the 2013 WSOP. After all, the man remained a total outcast to the poker world at that time following the collapse of Full Tilt Poker. Many might have guessed Lederer would never show his face in a poker room again as a result.
However, we surmised that Lederer would slither his way back into the game of poker if for no other reason than the fact that he's just clueless. Throughout Full Tilt's troubles in the wake of Black Friday, Lederer was seen eating in restaurants around Vegas and generally acting unaware of the unsavory feelings that exist for him in a community of people who are still owed tens of millions from his failed operation.
Lederer's absence of shame or concern for his well-being led him to showing up at the Bellagio's Festa al Lago last October, just two months after we brazenly predicted he wouldn't have a problem resurfacing in the poker world as if all is well. In light of that, it seems reasonable to expect Lederer's sense of audacity will guide him into the halls of the Rio this summer where he will rejoin the ranks of poker players chasing dollars and WSOP gold. The question is, will Full Tilt's U.S. customers still be without their money over two years after Black Friday at that time?