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This is the time of year that everyone likes to make predictions for the New Year. What can we expect to see in 2016? Who will be the next big star? Who will win the game’s richest prizes next year?

It can be argued that 2015 was the year of Jonathan Duhamel or Anthony Zinno. Both had excellent campaigns allowing them to post career years. Today we look at the player who we believe will have a banner year in 2015.

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Phil Ivey has accomplished nearly every major poker achievement possible with the exception of induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. 2015 was an off year by his standard despite earning $1.74 million. With his likely Hall of Fame induction around the corner and his past performance, we believe that 2016 will be the year of Phil Ivey.

Phil Ivey

Something to Prove Online

As I wrote about last week, Phil Ivey will finish as the biggest loser in online poker for 2015. In fact, he is down close to $6 million online over the last two years. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, he has been unable to pull out consistent runs to pull himself out of the hole.

Knowing Ivey’s competitive nature, we expect him to pull a 180 in 2016 and put together a solid, winning campaign. It is hard to estimate how much he will win because we don’t know how much time he dedicates to the live arena. We do expect somewhere in the mid to high six-figures at worst for Ivey online in 2016.

Time to Remind HOF Voters Why He Should Already Be Inducted

Phil IveyWe would call 2015 an off-year for Ivey in the live arena, but the fact is that he chose not to play as much as he has in past years. Earlier in the year, he won the LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge at Aussie Millions for the third time in four years, but otherwise he largely stayed away from live tournaments.

Ivey skipped the majority of the 2015 WSOP, which is surprising considering he won bracelet #10 in 2014. Most believe it was due to the lack of side bet action. This failed to motivate him and he focused his attention on areas that did.

In 2016, Ivey will be eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame for the first time, or should we say the first time since the Chip Reese rule was instituted. Ivey should already be in the hall, but he has sit back and patiently waited to fit under the new criteria.

Now that he is eligible, expect him to be a bit more visible in 2015 and remind everyone via his play just why he should already be in the Poker Hall of Fame. Don’t be surprised to see him contend at Aussie Millions yet again and take down at least his 11th WSOP bracelet next summer.

History Dictates He Will Have a Big Year

Looking at Ivey’s resume in recent years, he tends to have a big year directly following a lackluster campaign. Just look at 2011. He sat out most of the year due to issues surrounding Black Friday. He came back in 2012 and posted $3.6 million in earnings and made five WSOP final tables.

In 2013, he only posted $151k in earnings and had an off year despite winning his 9th WSOP bracelet. Last year, he posted $3.78 million in earnings (most in his career) and won his 10th career bracelet.

While it is hard to consider a $1.74 million year an “off year,” the truth is that Ivey had two cashes all year with both at the start of year. Yes, one of those was the victory in the $250k, but otherwise 2015 was a unIvey type of year. With the number of High Roller events now available in poker, we can consider his victory in the $250k on par with a $400k or $500k victory from 2010 or before.

Looking at his resume, every time he has experienced an “off year” by his standards, he’s made at least $2 million the following year. Will history continue to repeat itself or will he continue to perform below his standards?

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.