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Best of Aaron Todd

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Top-10 predictions for this year's World Series of Poker

3 June 2013

The World Series of Poker is underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, and there have already been some great story lines. First, a guy brings his dog to the final table and wins. And then the "Millionaire Maker" draws 6,343 players, a record for a single-day entry event.

There are sure to be dozens more great story lines in the next six weeks. Last year, I wrote a top-10 list of predictions based on Bodog Sportsbook and Racebook/Bovada Sportsbook & Racebook's World Series of Poker prop bets. Unfortunately, as of press time, Bodog is not offering prop bets on the WSOP. Maybe my 6-3-1 record with a +13.2 percent ROI discouraged them from doing it again.

Regardless, here are my top-10 predictions for this year's World Series of Poker.

10. Average attendance in "other" low buy-in NLH events will go down
The WSOP put a big marketing push behind Saturday's $1,500 Millionaire Maker event and it showed. Getting more than 6,000 players to enter a non-Main Event is astounding. But there's no doubt that getting so many players out for one event will have a negative impact on other similar events.

A lot of folks plan their trip out to Las Vegas around the $1,000 and $1,500 no-limit Hold'em events. This year, many people decided to make their pilgrimage to Vegas over the weekend and take a shot at a million-dollar payday. (The winner will actually get close to $1.2 million, thanks to the record-breaking turnout.)

We're already seeing this trend. The $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event saw participation plummet by a third, falling from 1,604 players last year to just 1,069 this year. And last year's $1,500 re-entry event drew 3,404 players, while this year it drew 3,164 (a drop of 7 percent) despite the fact that the buy-in fell to $1,000.

There are also more of these events this year. Last year, there were 10, and this year there are 13, and this will further dilute the numbers.

Last year, the standard (nine-handed, non-shootout with no rebuys) $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em bracelet events drew an average of 2,941 players, while the same $1,500 events drew an average of 2,730. I expect both of those numbers to drop 15-20 percent, though because of the Millionaire Maker and the increased number of events, overall participation in these tournaments will rise.

9. Little One for One Drop will draw less than 500 players
Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great idea. And I hope that the $1,111 event makes a ton of money for One Drop. I just don't know how many players are going to be willing to pay an effective rake of almost 19 percent to play in this event.

I do think there's a decent chance there will be more than 500 entries, as Daniel Negreanu is likely to play and he has shown that he's willing to gamble it up in rebuy events, and other pros are likely to take a similar approach. But I don't think that there will be a big turnout at this event, unfortunately.

8. Total prize pool at WSOP will go down
This is a no-brainer, but it's not as negative as it might sound. The total prize pool at last year's WSOP was just over $222 million. But $42.6 million of that was awarded in the Big One for One Drop. While there's still a $111,111 One Drop High Roller event, it would have to draw 396 players to match that prize pool. I don't think the WSOP's total prize pool can take such a massive hit and still continue to set records.

7. Total attendance at WSOP will go up
Despite my "Negative Nellie" start to this list, I do think this year's WSOP will be one for the ages. The economic recovery is beginning to take hold, poker is growing in popularity abroad, and the arrival of online poker in Nevada means that the game is in a better position now than it has been since Black Friday. Plus, with one more event this year (62 vs. 61) and more low buy-in no-limit Hold'em events, this year's schedule is built to set attendance records.

6. No double bracelet winner this year
It's been more than a decade since there's been a World Series of Poker with no player winning more than one bracelet. Last year, it went right down the wire with Greg Merson needing to win the Main Event in order to keep the streak alive. Despite long odds, I think this year is the year we see the streak end.

5. WSOP.com qualifier makes a final table
While it's not live yet, it's only a matter of time before WSOP.com launches real-money play in Nevada. When they do, there's no doubt in my mind that the site will be running online satellites to WSOP events. I think a lot of good players will be playing online satellites, and one of them will make a WSOP final table.*

And even if the online site isn't up and running in time to run online satellites into the WSOP, the site is still offering a free seat in 36 events to players who sign up for an account, so I'll still have a shot to hit this one if the site doesn't get off the ground before the end of the series.

* As a footnote, I'm hoping that person will be me. And since I'll already be in Las Vegas to cover the One Drop High Roller event, that would be a great time for me to win the WSOP.com lottery.

4. One Drop High Roller event will draw more than 200 players
Last year's Big One for One Drop featured a buy-in of $1 million, nine times larger than this year's One Drop High Roller event. The Big One for One Drop had a hard cap of 48 players and it hit that cap. If the interest from non-poker pros continues, expect professional players to flock to this event. And with a buy-in so much smaller (though still not insignificant), look for a big turnout.

3. No men will enter the Ladies Event
It still baffles me that this is a "prediction" that can be made. While Caesars' legal department doesn't think it can exclude men (and thus the reason men have participated in the event in the past), it does feel that it has the ability to charge men a 10x markup. So this year, women can play in the event for $1,000, while men must pay $10,000 for the privilege of playing. Since most of the men who played in this event in the past said they did so for the "value," I don't expect to see any men this year, as the value has disappeared.

2. A woman will make Main Event final table
Speaking of women, last year two women bubbled the final table of the Main Event. I wish I could get the odds (come on, Bodog, where are your prop bets?) on a woman making the final table of the Main Event, as I'm sure I could get some pretty good odds. This isn't a 50-50 wager, but I'm betting the long shot that there will be a woman in this year's November Nine.

1. Main Event will draw more than 7,000
With some good economic news recently and the planned launch of WSOP.com in Nevada, I'm predicting big numbers in this year's Main Event. No, not 2006 big, when the tournament drew a record 8,773 players. And not quite as big as it was in 2010, when there were 7,319. But I do think this year's Main Event will be the third-largest tournament in poker history, eclipsing 7,000 players and beating 2011's total of 6,865.

Top-10 predictions for this year's World Series of Poker is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.