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While it sounds cliché, 2016 has a lot of promise for poker on all fronts. New leagues, changes to existing leagues and progress towards iPoker regulation are among some of the things we can look forward to next year.

It is time to break out the crystal ball and take a look at the poker world in 2016. What will the landscape of online poker in the U.S. look like after 2016 and will the November Nine rebound in 2016? Find out the answers to these questions and more below in my five poker predictions for 2016.

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♠ 5 Poker Predictions for 2016: Part 1

♠ 5 Poker Predictions for 2016: Part 3

Pennsylvania Regulates Online Poker But Not California

A couple of months ago, I believed that iGaming had a 50-50 shot of passing in Pennsylvania in 2016. In recent weeks, my opinion has changed from a 50-50 to almost a stone cold lock. Looking at the budget needs of the state and the potential revenue that iGaming can bring in the first year on license fees along, it is hard to see lawmakers passing on this bill.

Which path regulation will take remains to be seen but I have a feeling it is going to be wrapped up in the budget for next year. With that said, we may not see the first games spread in PA until late 2016 or early 2017. It will take time to get things started but once the ball gets rolling, I think you will see other nearby states start to explore iGaming regulation more seriously.

Over in California, I’m still sticking with my belief that it has only about a 25% chance of passing in 2016. PokerStars is going to lobby hard in California next year and the passage of iGaming in PA will add extra pressure to get a bill done.

What I predict happening in 2016 is the Pechanga coalition and the horse racing industry coming to some type of mutual compromise on iPoker. Once this happens, it is just a matter of time before a compromise is struck regarding PokerStars. I believe it will take all of 2016 and into 2017 before both issues are resolved and we start to see true movement on a bill in CA.

World Series of Poker Changes November Nine to Save Concept

This year’s November Nine broadcast brought plenty of attention to the Main Event but some of it was for the wrong reasons. Slow play, less than exciting characters and a foregone conclusion as to who would win resulted in the second lowest ratings for the broadcast in history.

Next year, I can see WSOP officials try to institute some changes to improve the fan experience. I wrote about changes that were needed a few weeks ago and Jennifer Newell also touched on the topic.

The biggest change I think we will see is a shot clock. Players and now fans have begun to call for a faster pace to the action and I think the WSOP adopts a shot clock next year. Whether they have it just for the Main Event or for the entire series will remain to be seen.

Other changes could include broadcasting two out of three days and broadcasting only the final six. The broadcast could also use some fun features included throughout the event. We don’t have to see every single hand of the final table. If something major develops during a segment, they can cut away and go to the action.

If the WSOP doesn’t do something to right the November Nine ship, it’s going to sink. If changes in 2016 don’t produce immediate positive results, the 2016 November Nine will be the final November Nine.

Phil Ivey and Chris Moneymaker Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

A pair of 40-year olds will be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2016. Is there any way that Phil Ivey doesn’t get in next year? I don’t think so and I can’t see many people arguing that other players deserve to get in over Ivey. Like Daniel Negreanu, I see him getting in on his first ballot.

For the second selection, I’m predicting Chris Moneymaker gets the nod. A couple of months ago, I asked the question whether Moneymaker should get into the Hall of Fame and it is hard to argue that his win in 2003 didn’t shape the course of modern poker history. He is a perfect “player-contributor” whose body of work deserves induction.

PokerStars US Makes Impact – Possible Expansion to PA

By the middle of the year, (my estimate is around March) we will see PokerStars US finally launch its first regulated online poker room in New Jersey. There have been a myriad of predictions on their impact with many believing that they will hold the lion’s share of online poker traffic in the state.

I’m taking a middle of the road stance for PokerStars. I don’t believe it will be a 70/30 PokerStars split like some content but more like a 50-25-25 between PokerStars, and Borgata. I do see online poker rebounding a bit with PokerStars return but I’m leaning more towards the industry returning to levels it enjoyed in 2014 rather than monumental hit.

If PA decides to legalize online poker, expect PokerStars to join 888 Poker as the only sites with operations in multiple regulated states. If this happens, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an interstate deal struck between PokerStars partners in both states to combine player pools. will no longer be the only route for an interstate network. An interstate PokerStars network will be huge for both states and will add extra pressure to California and may even make other states take a second look at iPoker regulation.

Weekly Burn & Turn Will Receive More Likes Than Its Meme’s

Every week, Robbie Strazynski and Shimi Weiss produce the PokerUpdate Weekly Burn & Turn where they review the week’s best articles and talk about issues important to the poker world. Viewership has been steadily growing but the popularity hasn’t quite lived up to that of the meme’s regularly posted on Facebook.

meme followers

I predict that the weekly broadcasts will at some point during 2016 receive more likes and shares than my meme’s. Perhaps we will do a meme show or maybe Robbie and Shimi will do a live interview with a major poker celebrity. Robbie may entertain you with his latest rendition of Poker Face. No…wait…we want people to watch the show. Scratch that last suggestion.

In all seriousness, check out the program and give it some love. Think of Robbie and Shimi as a puppy that needs love…and a good whack on the head with a newspaper.

And gerbils. Don’t forget to avoid gerbils while playing online poker.

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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.