The 2016 World Series of Poker kicks off on Tuesday with the first bracelet event commencing on Wednesday. Each year since 2009, I’ve made predictions for the upcoming series and will take another crack at it this year.
So what’s going to happen in 2016? Will Phil Ivey continue his chase of Phil Hellmuth? Will we see multiple women win open-field events? How about the Main Event? How many players can we expect for the Granddaddy of the all? Find out this and more below.
We are getting closer. T-minus 5 days. pic.twitter.com/qunPvMmKhG— WSOP (@WSOP) May 26, 2016
Phil Ivey Wins 11th Bracelet
With the exception of a high roller final table back in January, Phil Ivey has been relatively quiet at the live tournament tables since winning the LK Boutique $250k Challenge in 2015.
This is the year that Ivey come up for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame and what better way would it be for him to go into the hall #2 on the All-Time Bracelet list. He is presently tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for 10 and can take sole position of the #2 spot with a bracelet win.
A lot will depend on Ivey’s motivation and while we haven’t heard much from him this year, his upcoming induction may be enough for him to play a reasonable schedule this summer.
Two Women Win Open Field Bracelets
Last year, Carol Fuchs was the only woman to win an open-field WSOP event in Las Vegas. This year, I believe we will double that number with at least two women taking down bracelets. Could that number be higher? Absolutely.
My gut tells me that we will have one “high profile” player and one relatively unknown take down a bracelet. When I say relatively unknown, I am referring to casual fans. It may be an up and coming female pro that is known in the poker community but has yet to become mainstream.
In terms of the high profile player, Vanessa Selbst and Loni Harwood are among the first names that come to mind. But this may be the year that we see Liv Boeree, Vanessa Rousso, Maria Ho or another high profile female pro take down the bracelet.
Female Participation Will Rise in the Main Event
Last year, only 252 of the 6,420 players in the Main Event were women. That is just under 4% of the total field. That number is almost guaranteed to rise due to the clever scheduling by WSOP officials.
This year, the Ladies World Championship kicks off the day before the Main Event. Historically, events directly following the ladies event have enjoyed a bump in female participation. There’s a good chance that will continue this year.
I’m setting the number of female players in the 2016 WSOP Main Event between 325 to 350. At 350, that would represent 5.4% of the field based on last year’s numbers. I would love to see female participation exceed 10% in the Main Event but for now, we will take what we can get.
Historical Events to Remain Flat or Experience Slight Drops
While the 2015 WSOP was the largest in history, many of the historical events offered either were flat year-over-year or dropped in attendance. I expect the same will continue for the 2016 WSOP.
Part of this may be due to the poker economy and some will be due to players choosing to use their money for some of the gimmick events such as the Colossus II, Crazy 8’s or Millionaire Maker.
We may see an event or two with double digit or larger drops in attendance, at which point officials may want to reevaluate that event or how they are scheduled. Don’t worry; the 2016 WSOP is still going to be the largest ever. The gimmick events will guarantee that.
Main Event Field – 6,743
Year-over-year attendance in the Main Event has dropped four out of the last five years. The last time the field saw grow was in 2014 when it went from 6,352 to 6,683 players. Call it optimism or wishful thinking, but I believe that a combination of factors will force Main Event attendance up close to 5%.
WSOP online satellites will help with this growth along with the strategic placement of the ladies events. Also, with all events now paying 15%, some players may make a little extra money and use that to take a shot at becoming a world champion.