2018 World Series of Poker Predictions

Stephen Chidwick, Daniel Negreanu, Sam Greenwood

It's May again, which means we are within a month of the start of the 2018 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Every year, the series draws some of the largest tournament poker fields around, which means a good deal of variance in terms of results. But that won't stop poker people from making predictions and gambling on results, and the PokerNews staff is no different.

With variance to the wind, we're making some bold predictions for what's to come, including predicting who will run red hot in this year's Vegas summer. Our team of prognosticators includes iBus Media Head of Content Frank Op de Woerd, Global Live Reporting Manager Yori Epskamp, Head of Video Sarah Herring, PokerNews Strategy Editor Martin Harris, staff editors Mo Nuwwarah and Valerie Cross, seasoned tournament reporters Will Shillibier and Chad Holloway, and PokerNews UK editor Matthew Pitt.

Check out some of our projected outcomes for the 2018 WSOP below, and see which ones you agree with.

Which poker pro will go on the first Twitter rant of the series?

Mo Nuwwarah: Gonna go with Doug Polk. As with last year, the $100K High Roller is early in the series, and as the defending champion, Polk is almost certain to be participating. I don't know if it will exactly be a rant, but Polk is never afraid to speak his mind, and I think he'll at least needle one of his fellow high rollers on Twitter. Especially if he's seated with Daniel Negreanu.

Will Shillibier: The easy option would be Allen Kessler, but I'm going to go for Daniel Negreanu. Perhaps an equally easy option, but if there's one thing Daniel likes, it's getting his opinions on things known to the world. Whether it's the Player of the Year calculations or the big blind ante, something is going to get him tweeting like crazy well within the first week of the Series.

Chad Holloway: Allen Kessler has been on a Twitter-ranting roll in 2018, and I don’t see that changing for 2018. The “Complainsaw” will be in form this summer.

"The guy seems to be on a permanent rant about everything and anything."

Yori Epskamp: Always love it when the first question is a freebie to get in the groove. Allen Kessler. We will get vintage Kessler this series.

Frank Op de Woerd: It would be too easy to go with Allen Kessler or even Daniel Negreanu. Both are avid users of Twitter and are generally outspoken. Just to distinguish myself from my colleagues, I'm going with Brandon Cantu. I mean, he hasn't tweeted in some time, but I'm sure the WSOP will get him back in the game.

Matt Pitt: I'm going with Allen Kessler. The guy seems to be on a permanent rant about everything and anything.

Martin Harris: No idea, but whoever it is, it will have minimal impact as most of the poker community will have already muted him or her long ago.

Valerie Cross: How about Matt Glantz for something a little different. I think after the long WSOP off-season and all the tweeting about crypto, sports, and politics, he'll be ready to fire some shots and work up a WSOP rant, or at least a good needle - just to switch it up.

Sarah Herring: Joey Ingram, since he seems to be firing shots lately. He plays mostly PLO so seems to have a bit more time during the summer than a lot of the players that share his kind of notoriety. Leave it to Papi to keep us entertained this summer.

Allen Kessler
Allen Kessler

How many women will win open bracelet events in 2018?

Mo Nuwwarah: A quick count of the last three years (hopefully I didn't miss anyone) looks to show four winners. So with that high-level math as my backing, I'm going to say one.

Will Shillibier: Without checking how many it was last year, I'm going to go for a potentially optimistic three. Tipping one to win, I'd have to go for Maria Lampropulos.

Chad Holloway: Two women will win open bracelet events, and one will be Shirley Rosario in a mixed tournament.

Yori Epskamp: One, but it’s going to be in a $5k+ buy-in tournament. Did we ever get two women heads-up for a bracelet in an open event? Maria Ho will face Kristen Bicknell heads-up.

"While still representing a minuscule percentage of the fields, the ladies will crush at the 2018 WSOP."

Frank Op de Woerd: One? You want a name too? Ok, Heidi May it is. She won the Ladies event last year but knowing her just a tiny bit, I know she's a beat at the table. Ow, and Ema Zajmovic is great too. And Kristen Bicknell as well. Liv won one last year, so she'll be hungry for another. Maria Lampropulos is amazing, Loni Harwood, Esther Taylor-Brady, man I could go on for a while. Ok, I'll go with two bracelets this year.

Matt Pitt: It's something of a rarity that a woman wins an open bracelet event due to there being so few women in the fields compared to men. There are some fantastic poker players who happen to be women including Kristen Bicknell and Maria Lampropulos. I'm going to go with one female winner, and it will be Lampropulos who seems to be in great form.

Martin Harris: One.

Valerie Cross: I’m optimistic with the way the ladies have been crushing it this year, closing out some of the biggest events with the toughest competition, while still representing a minuscule percentage of the fields, the ladies will crush at the 2018 WSOP. That said, let’s go with a disproportionate and record-breaking three.

Sarah Herring: Two women will win open events. I am going to make the bold prediction that a woman will win a PLO event. Last year Esther Taylor took third in the $25K PLO, eight in $1500 H.O.R.S.E, and fourth in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em/Pot Limit Omaha - 8 Handed, and Vivian Saliba took eleventh in $10K PLO. My money is on a woman taking down a PLO event in 2018. Then a lady will take down either one of the big field/small buy-in events or maybe even a $5k no limit. Maria Ho and Natasha Mercier have both come close; Maria Ho finished runner-up in 2011 in a $5k open event at WSOP, and Natasha Mercier finished runner-up in a $1,500 in 2015 and third in an event in 2016.

Maria Lampropulos
Maria Lampropulos

Who will win the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship and who'll conquer the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop?

Mo Nuwwarah: My answer for the first one is always the same, and I'm not going to quit now. STEPHEN CHIDWICK.

For the mill ball, we're looking at a pretty small field, and I want to pick Sam Greenwood but don't know if he'll play. Someone who will for sure and has to be a nice favorite is Christoph Vogelsang so let's go with him.

Will Shillibier: Anthony Zinno for the $50k Poker Players' Championship. He had four deep runs last summer in mixed game events, and hopefully, he'll use that as motivation for an even deeper run in what is to mixed game players their Main Event.

As for the One Drop, I can't look past Sam Greenwood. The run he's been on lately just means he'll know what it will take to close it out should he come close or make the final table. But the real winners when it comes to the One Drop are the for poker fans. After four years, poker's biggest buy-in event is back!

Chad Holloway: Patrik Antonius has made a resurgence as of late. I’m not sure if he’ll be playing the WSOP, but if he does, I’ll guess he’ll win either the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship or the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.

"Imagine that: Big One for One Drop Winner Sam Grafton. What a beautiful dream that was."

Yori Epskamp: Benny Glaser will win the 50k PPC. He's an amazing player that loves his mixed games; he’s going to peak this series.

As for the Big One, I actually dreamt about it: all the Germans were hanging around in the Pen of Shame, and Sam Grafton won it instead. Imagine that: Big One for One Drop Winner Sam Grafton. What a beautiful dream that was. In real life — of course — the winner is that other Sam G. [Sam Greenwood] and the Germans take the rest of the money.

Frank Op de Woerd: For the $50k, I'm gonna go with Isaac Haxton. He finished 3rd last year. To be honest, I had to look that up as I had forgotten about that one.

When asked who would win the $111k last year, I said Steffen Sontheimer. I have no idea if he'll play the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, but I'm still going to go with him. I still like his demeanor on and off the table, and he's still one of the best. If he's not playing, I'll go with Adrian Mateos.

Matt Pitt: I'd love Stephen Chidwick to win the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship. He recently became the first Brit to top the GPI and is such a great all-round player. I'm certain this is the year he loses the title of "best poker player to have not won a bracelet."

As for the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, it's going to be a German player, right? I'll be predictable and go with the retired Fedor Holz.

Martin Harris: James Obst will win the PPC, and Christoph Vogelsang the Big One for One Drop.

Valerie Cross: I'll give the bid for the $50 PPC to Ian Johns. He crushed at the 2017 WSOP as per usual with eight deep runs, mostly in non-Hold'em varieties, and took tenth in last year's Poker Players Championship. After winning two bracelets in 2016 and not closing one out in 2017, he'll be hungry for number four.

For the Big One, my gut says Greenwood, but my heart says Adrian Mateos. He’s been crushing again this year, as always, and he obviously needs to add more bracelets to his meager score of three (sarcasm, guys).

Sarah Herring: The Poker Players Championship is a tough one. There are so many elements that go into this tournament. I am going to go with Stephen Chidwick. He has been playing fantastic and seems to be in the zone. He is one of the young guns that specializes in mixed games. His fiancé Marine brings him food every day to keep him motivated during the summer, and I think he will be feeling confident after his recent success at the US Poker Open and the partypoker Millions Grand Final.

Justin Bonomo will win the Big One for One Drop. He has been crushing high rollers lately and should have no problem getting the money together to play the event.

Sam Greenwood
Sam Greenwood

Will the Big Blind Ante be deemed a success at the end of the series and will it return in 2019?

Mo Nuwwarah: I'm cautiously in favor of the big blind ante, so I hope so. More people than not seem to like it, so I think it'll make a return in at least some events in 2019.

Will Shillibier: They'll have to publish an extra guide to it for floor staff and dealers to explain the change and certain situations that players always bring up if they're apprehensive about the big blind ante. With the pace of introduction around the poker-playing world, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone forgets that it is the first year of it being like this.

"I'm not confident it’ll become the industry standard."

Chad Holloway: I think the big blind ante is great for certain events. I think we’ll continue to see it in bigger buy-in tournaments, charity events, etc., but I’m not confident it’ll become the industry standard. If it is successful this summer, I think the next step would be for the WSOP to roll it out to the Circuit.

Yori Epskamp: Massive success, the vast majority will love it. People will complain — people always complain — but they’ll come to their senses after using it in a few events. Not having that one douche bet 6,875 with all his green chips is golden. It’ll be in play in every NL Hold’em bracelet event next year.

Frank Op de Woerd: Yes and yes. Some will say it should be a button ante, some will prefer the regular ante, but really - it's just better. The WSOP hasn't always been the fastest one to adapt to changes, but they've been on the ball in recent years, and here they're on point adapting this new rule as well.

"It will be received favorably by many and likely continued."

Matt Pitt: I've not played in a tournament with the big blind ante in play, but have heard plenty of positives from players on the partypoker LIVE tour and from tournaments held at Dusk Till Dawn where they implemented a button ante. I think it will speed the games up and that players will enjoy that fact. I think it will last longer than the ill-fated November Nine concept.

Martin Harris: It will be received favorably by many and likely continued.

Valerie Cross: While I’m sure someone will find a way to complain about the Big Blind Ante on Twitter, it’s going to be a big hit. By summer, any semi-regular mid-high stakes tournament player will have experienced it, and as long as the dealers are trained up on the nuances, the response will be mostly positive. It feels like one of those trends in poker that is here to stay.

Sarah Herring: From what I have heard in the podcasting space, everyone loves the Big Blind Ante. I’ve spoked to Tournament Directors and players, and everyone seems to love the concept. They seem to love anything that speeds up the game. Overall making the game fun is a big priority for everyone.

WSOP Main Event

What will 2018 be 'The Year Of’?

Mo Nuwwarah: 2018 is the year of the comfortable human in the Rio. Because someone will finally come to their senses and make it, so it isn't 45 degrees in that building. Wishful thinking, but I can dream.

Will Shillibier: The Year of the Monster Main Event final table rail. With the new positioning of the Main Event slap-bang in the middle of the schedule, the Rio is still going to be jam-packed full of poker players in other events. They'll all want to take in a piece of the action at the final table of the Main Event, and with players still hanging around, the atmosphere will be electric.

Chad Holloway: The 2018 WSOP will be the Year of Mid-Major Grinders. Players on tour like the WSOPC, MSPT, HPT, WPTDeepStacks, etc. – cut from the same cloth as Ryan Riess and Joe McKeehen – have been on the rise, and I look for several regulars to capture gold this summer.

"2018 will be the year of vlogging."

Yori Epskamp: The Year of the Limp. Limping will be all the rage and old folks will love it as we’re finally playing ‘real poker’ again.

Frank Op de Woerd: It's been the year of Romania for quite some years now, according to Joe Stapleton. Maybe it's the year of the Dutch? Never mind, who am I kidding. Hardly any Dutch player will play the WSOP with the tax rules we have nowadays.

I think, in ten years time, the only thing people will remember from the 2018 WSOP is the fact that several tournaments started after the Main Event had already started. It's been kind of set in stone that the Main Event was the one to close out the series. This year, not so much with several events starting after the Main Event is well underway and two after the Main Event is over. We'll know soon enough if that is going to be a thing from here on out, or if it will be deemed an unsuccessful experiment. I'm not too sure about it, I think a lot of people want to go home after they bust the Main Event, but we'll see.

Matt Pitt: People moaning about the big blind ante until they realize it is a good thing. Either that or Year of the Brits again because we have the likes of Toby Lewis, Niall Farrell and Stephen Chidwick in superb form going into the series.

Martin Harris: The Year of the Multiple Bracelet winners. There were two last year (Nipun Java and David Bach). At least three this time.

Valerie Cross: Ze Germans.

Sarah Herring: 2018 will be the year of vlogging. Some huge names emerged as successful vloggers in 2017, and I think there will be a cascade of players that will follow that lead. I expect to see a ton of people with cameras, gimbals, phones, go pros, and more.

Main Stage

Who will win more money at the series, Doug Polk or Daniel Negreanu?

Mo Nuwwarah: Negreanu by a lot unless Polk wins the $100K again. There's just a huge difference in volume.

Will Shillibier: Negreanu will win more money; Polk will make the deeper runs. Although the latter depends whether he can tear himself away from the cryptocurrency streets for long enough.

Chad Holloway: Daniel Negreanu will win more than Doug Polk this summer. Few players prepare for and concentrate on the WSOP like Kid Poker. I’ll even go out on a limb and say Negreanu wins his first bracelet (seventh overall) since 2013.

Yori Epskamp: Unless LUXCoin, BitClave, or any of Polk’s other ridiculous coins is mooning; this has to be a shoe-in for DNegs. It won’t even be close; Negreanu will cash at least 2 million. Polk needs to win the 100k again to topple Negreanu.

"Negreanu will have a bigger schedule, so he's the logical choice."

Matt Pitt: I'm going for Negreanu simply because he'll likely play more events, while Polk will be too busy picking fights with Dan Bilzerian and will have one eye on a million and one different cryptocurrencies.

Martin Harris: Daniel Negreanu.

Frank Op de Woerd: Who came up with this stupid question? Ow, I did myself. Well, there's been a bit of a feud between the two, so it's fun to put the two against each other. Negreanu will have a bigger schedule, so he's the logical choice. I should have made the question about events they both entered. In that case, I would've gone with Polk; now I'll go with Negreanu.

Valerie Cross: I haven’t heard much about the plans of either as of yet, but I’m going to assume that Negreanu is more locked into poker and less distracted by crypto. I’m going Negreanu.

Sarah Herring: Not sure what Daniel’s plans are for the summer but if his goal is to win bracelets, I expect he will work as hard as he can to achieve that. While Doug also has an exceptional work ethic and is a bossy player, I think Daniel tends to put more focus on the WSOP. So, my guess is Daniel.

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu

Which under-the-radar player will have a huge breakout summer?

Mo Nuwwarah: Juan Pardo is killing it this spring and looks like he might be a breakout star, but it's always tough to pick a no-limit guy in these because of massive fields and variance.

Will Shillibier: Harry Lodge showed that his third place in the Crazy Eights last year wasn't a fluke, as he followed it up with a fifth place in last year's PokerStars Championship Prague. A deep run in the Main Event in 2016 shows that he has the potential to have a breakout summer with a deep run in one or two events.

Chad Holloway: Dutch Boyd is a three-time bracelet winner, but he still doesn’t always get the credit he’s due. He knows all the games and plays them well. I recently spoke with Dutch, and he informed me that he’s planning to play a full schedule. I think he could very well lay claim to bracelet number four this summer.

"Harry Lodge showed that his third place in the Crazy Eights last year wasn't a fluke."

Frank Op de Woerd: Last year I said Bart Lybaert, and he headlined the Player of the Year race for some time and had a big summer overall. This year I'll go with his mate Jonathan Abdellatif. I don't even know for sure if he'll be playing a lot, but he's a great player and a funny guy so I'll be rooting for him.

Yori Epskamp: Not sure if he technically counts as under the radar anymore, but I feel Michael Addamo is always missing from these lists and is still crazily underrated. Online beast, cashed seven times at the 2016 WSOP and nine times last year, ran deep in the Main. Dude checks all the boxes. This is Addamo’s year.

Matt Pitt: You need to keep a lookout for Conor Beresford, who is an incredible talent. This will be his second WSOP — he cashed four times in 2017 — and if he can replicate his online form into his live game, then he could be the star of the series. Beresford has more than $6.2 million in online winnings and is ranked in the top 10 online players in the world. He also has $500,000 in live winnings, but I have a feeling it will be a lot more than that when he returns from Las Vegas this year.

Martin Harris: Many on the mid-major circuit know about Nick Pupillo already — in fact, he led the Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings for a short time this year. But he probably still qualifies as “under the radar” for fans of the WSOP (where he has but a small handful of cashes), so I’ll nominate him.

Harry Lodge
Harry Lodge

How many players will enter the Main Event. Will it be up or down from last year? (7,221 entered the 2017 WSOP Main Event)

Mo Nuwwarah: Down. 7,149 because that's what an RNG spit out to me.

Will Shillibier: Ever the optimist. Up! Whisper the words eight thousand, but I'd pitch my guess in the 7,712 range.

Chad Holloway: The number will be up from last year. I’ll say 7,413 enter this year’s tournament.

Yori Epskamp: We’re definitely going up, but planning 1C on Independence Day will have a slight negative impact. I’m going with 7,475 because it sounds good when you sing it.

"We’re definitely going up, but planning 1C on Independence Day will have a slight negative impact."

Frank Op de Woerd: Last year was so big, but I think we'll see a drop again.

People said the main event was so big because a lot of poker players were doing well in crypto. I hear a lot of people are down on their crypto portfolio compared to last year, so that might have an impact. Also, I'm not too sure how having the Main Event a bit earlier in the series and having Day 1c on the 4th of July will pan out. I'll go with 6,891.

Matt Pitt: Last year saw a near 7.2% increase in the number of entrants, and it was the third-biggest WSOP Main Event in history. The last time there was a similar spike, was in 2010 and the numbers were down again the following year. Based on this, I'm going with 6,952 players so slightly down on 2017.

Martin Harris: The jump last year (nearly 500 players more than the year before) was enough that this year probably won’t see quite as much of an increase. In fact, it’ll be down a little to 6,954 players.

Valerie Cross: 7,228. Up slightly. With this being the second year that November Nine is done away with, coupled with increasing satellite opportunities at casinos throughout the U.S. and beyond, I think the numbers will stay on the strong trend indicated by 2017's numbers. If the stock market tanks any more though, and crypto doesn’t rebound in a relatively big way soon, I’m changing my prediction.

Sarah Herring: 7,221 last year. 7,453 this year. Records are consistently broken. 2017 was the third largest ever, and with the news of share liquidity, hopefully, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Hopefully.

WSOP Main Event

Which former WSOP Main Event champion, will make the deepest run in the 2018 WSOP Main Event?

Mo Nuwwarah: Dan Harrington. Can we get Dan Harrington back in the Main? This guy was my hero after I read his books.

Will Shillibier: I'm a firm believer that there's always one legendary old-school WSOP Main Event champion that makes a deep run. In 2016 Johnny Chan and Greg Raymer both cracked the top 200, with Scotty Nguyen finishing in the top 600 last year. One of those three. I'll pick Johnny fricking Chan

Frank Op de Woerd: Martin Jacobson. There are a lot of extremely talented Main Event champs still actively playing, and some are performing amazing this year. But I like Jacobson's demeanor at the table the best, and he's extremely good.

Chad Holloway: Joe McKeehen will be the last former champ standing in the 2018 WSOP Main Event. He’s been putting in a lot of work and it’s showing up in his results. He’s even better now than he was in 2015 and that’s scary.

"Ryan Riess has been on a tear on my side of the pond and is much, much better than he was in 2013."

Yori Epskamp: Ryan Riess has been on a tear on my side of the pond and is much, much better than he was in 2013. McKeehen might be the odds-on favorite, but I’m going with Riess.

Matt Pitt: I'd really love it to be Phil Hellmuth, but a more realistic shot is Ryan Riess who has been playing a lot of poker in Europe with some decent results to show for it.

Martin Harris: Ryan Riess.

Valerie Cross: Ryan Riess. All I have to say is, “the Beast.” He seems dedicated to constantly improve his game, continue to battle among the top tier of players, and doesn’t seem too prone to blow-ups against the randomness one can encounter in the Main Event. And let’s face it, the boy’s got rungood.

Sarah Herring: Man, after all these final table participants making final tables again in the Main Event, my thoughts about the likelihood of certain events happening has broadened. Chris Moneymaker or Martin Jacobson. Jacobson is one of the best tournament players in the world and definitely has a chance at another deep run if the cards go his way. Moneymaker is just something I feel in my gut. Get it boy!

Ryan Riess
Ryan Riess

Who will win WSOP Player of the Year?

Mo Nuwwarah: Daniel Negreanu. And if he doesn't, someone will change the formula again.

Will Shillibier: Don't laugh, but Dario Sammartino. He made a real effort last year but ultimately finished eighth. Judging by his Hendon results, he's mostly been playing High Rollers, but no one can resist the lure of the mixed games once the World Series rolls around, and I imagine he'll be jumping into all of them to try and improve on his 2017 POY finish.

Frank Op de Woerd: Ismael Bojang. I feel he's up there among the best every year, without really getting in the spotlight. I know he plays a lot of the games, I know he's pretty good, and he has played big schedules in recent years.

Chad Holloway: With the revamped formula, Daniel Negreanu will be a strong contender. That said, players like Alex Foxen, Stephen Chidwick, Justin Bonomo, and Sam Greenwood have all been on major heaters. I’m going to say Bonomo, who is most comfortable in Vegas, has the best summer.

Daniel Negreanu. And if he doesn't, someone will change the formula again.

Yori Epskamp: Eh, I’d say Mike Leah. He's a fantastic player all-around and high on the ‘who loves it more’ scale. It would be nice if one of the good guys wins it this year.

Matt Pitt: I'll go for Daniel Negreanu purely because he plays a lot of the events with relatively small fields and the new WSOP POY formula places emphasis on winning events.

Martin Harris: I predicted Justin Bonomo would win last year, not knowing (like everyone else) about the formula that would enable Chris Ferguson to win. The formula is different this year, we hear. I’ll pick Bonomo again.

Valerie Cross: Alex Foxen. He’s been on a tear; he finished in the top ten in last year’s WSOP POY race, and he seems to be peaking in both poker and life. Momentum is on his side.

Sarah Herring: Ben Yu will be Player of the Year. The WSOP POY formula shifted from last year. I read about it, but I’m the first to admit that I am not an expert. I am going with Ben Yu for a couple of reasons. Being able to play mixed games well is an element that indicates who will take player of the year. Yu plays mixed games. But more importantly, he is an expert at Limit. Limit is something that gives a big edge for players who are well versed in the format. Being skilled at mixed games and at limit tournaments, Yu seems like a good guess. He had a great summer last year and the summer before, so it wasn’t just a fluke.

Justin Bonomo
Justin Bonomo

Which established pro will finally win his/her first bracelet this year?

Mo Nuwwarah: Well, Stephen Chidwick.

Will Shillibier: He's featured in lists like this for a number of years, but I'd love to see Stephen Chidwick finally close one out, especially as the new GPI #1. I'm not just saying this because he's English either! He has 12 final tables including a runner-up finish in the 2015 $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship, but with some big high rollers on the schedule, I think Chidwick's ready to finally break his duck.

"I think this is the year Stephen Chidwick picks up his first bracelet."

Chad Holloway: The “Best without a Bracelet” list seems to get shorter every year. In 2018, I think Stephen Chidwick will take his name off of it. He’s been on fire this year, and I look for him to carry it over into the summer.

Yori Epskamp: Christopher Kruk. Casually won a couple of 25K’s in the past months. Always brings his Twitter A-game during the series. The man deserves gold and will get it.

Frank Op de Woerd: Patrik Antonius doesn't have one, and he's been a bit more focused on tournaments. Just last week he made a deep run in the EPT in Monaco so his no-limit hold'em skills are at least not as rusty as I thought they might have been. It's not likely he's entering a ton of events, but I'm still going with my second-favorite Finnish player (first is Ilari, but chances of him winning a bracelet are really really slim).

Matt Pitt: As mentioned earlier, I think this is the year Stephen Chidwick picks up his first bracelet. He has come close before and really deserves it.

Martin Harris: Shawn Buchanan.

Valerie Cross: Maria Ho. LFG.

Sarah Herring: Ari Engel will get his first bracelet this summer. He's extremely consistent and regularly ships large and small scores alike. And he's capable of playing with a wide range of players. Engel knows the ins and out of tournaments and it is only a matter of time before he ships a (non-circuit) WSOP event.

Stephen Chidwick
Stephen Chidwick

Any other bold prediction?

Mo Nuwwarah: I boldly predict this is the year someone comes to their senses and makes a reality TV show out of Mike Matusow's rants and raves at the Rio. This is the greatest entertainment of the summer for anyone fortunate enough to be around when this guy goes off.

Will Shillibier: The winner of the Big One for One Drop will overtake Daniel Negreanu at the top of the all-time money list. It'll take some doing with only a certain selection of players realistically in with a shot.

A first-place prize of $15-$18 million, means only the top 20 could potentially topple Negreanu if they win, but it does include heavyweights such as Fedor Holz, Bryn Kenney, Steve O'Dwyer, David Peters, Dan Smith, and Isaac Haxton.

"For the first time ever, Day 1C of the WSOP Main Event won’t be the biggest starting flight."

Chad Holloway: For the first time ever, Day 1C of the WSOP Main Event won’t be the biggest starting flight. A lot of players were unhappy Day 1C is scheduled on July 4th, but it's a great ploy by WSOP officials to push players toward either 1A or 1B.

Yori Epskamp: Here’s a bald prediction: one crazy prop bet will leave a poor chap fully Chidwick’d and everyone will talk about it. O’Dwyer vs. Kurganov with a hair vs. hair stipulation deep in the $10K Heads-up? Tell me that’s not money.

Frank Op de Woerd: A total unknown will finish runner-up (to Sontheimer of course) in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. When we reported the €1,000,000 Big One for One Drop in Monaco a couple of years ago, I was surprised by some of the names playing. So there are players out there who can lose a million, that know how to play the game, that the general public doesn't know. I'm gonna go with a random Russian strolling in and going deep.

Martin Harris: Playing out the Main Event with zero breaks at all before the final table will recall the pre-November Nine days when fatigue occasionally played a factor at the final table, causing some mistakes and (therefore) producing a much more intriguing and entertaining final table for viewers.

WSOP Main Event

Curious to see how the PokerNews staff did with their predictions in recent years? Take a look at our 2017 forecast, 2016 guesses, and 2015 tips.

  • The WSOP starts in a few weeks. Time for the PokerNews staff to make some predictions.

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