Every year I make a number of predictions for the poker year ahead. Here are my predictions from 2020, I hope you’ll excuse the fact that I did not guess that a global pandemic that essentially paused live poker was coming.
Live poker looks normal from Easter
With positive news about vaccines and improvements in mass testing, I think the world will get back to normal, including, finally, live poker. But when will it feel normal again?
It looks like we have a couple of tough months ahead as we see out the winter but after that I think people will start to be able to travel to live events again. With three or more promising vaccines potentially in circulation in the next few months and rapid testing becoming more readily available, I would set the line at the Easter weekend being when the first major live event goes ahead with players from overseas.
Whether that proves right or wrong remains to be seen, but I suspect we will at least see a near normal World Series of Poker in 2021.
The online legs of live events remain
However soon it is, one notable change I expect to see to the poker circuit is more online legs of live events. They proved very popular and the line between online and live is very blurred these days.
Series like the WSOP, WPT and EPT will all likely have an online leg in 2021 and beyond, with the winner of them being able to legitimately call themselves the winner of one of the ‘Triple Crown’ events.
That probably will include bracelet events but in 2021 any ambiguity will be quashed about whether the ‘Main Event’ of an online leg is the ‘actual’ Main Event.
Another site has in-client staking
GGPoker has all the best features at the moment and for me the absolute best feature of all is the in-client staking. It allows people who would normally never be able to back or be backed to do so with ease and solves about 90% of the problems traditionally caused by a lack of transparency in staking.
After the online WSOP in 2020 and their Day 2 staking feature, the whole poker world has a taste for this excellent innovation. I hope the other sites want to have their own version of the feature as it would likely improve liquidity and I would be disappointed if at least one other site did not offer staking in 2021.
Bilzerian leaves GGPoker
While their excellent features are beyond dispute, GGPoker caused a rift in the poker world in 2020 with the controversial appointment of Dan Bilzerian as a brand ambassador. His toxic reputation with women caused most people to suggest this was a backwards step for the game, while others felt his reach was so wide it justified him getting a patch.
I expect Dan Bilzerian to no longer wear the GGPoker patch by this time next year and not for any reasons of GGPoker having a change of heart. As I wrote earlier last year it just seems everything he touches ends in a lawsuit and my guess is he will end his deal early after some sort of drama or dispute.
However, if his contract ends naturally within 2021 I am still counting that as a correct prediction.
HexaPro from Unibet already has a 1.5x payout, the lowest multiplier for any Lottery SNG, which allows them to award more big multipliers. Last year I played a number of promotional freebuy Spins at PokerStars where the lowest prize was simply a ‘Try again’ ticket to play the same level Spin, essentially a x1.
In 2021 I expect at least one Lottery SNG offering to have their lowest multiplier a x1 where you simply win your ticket back. I have long held that the average recreational player is disappointed with a x2 multiplier anyway, so the 1.5x from Unibet isn’t much more disappointing.
A 1x game, perhaps with very short stacks, if it allowed for more generous (5x and above) games I suspect would be tolerated by the player base.
What do you think 2021 will bring for poker players? Let us know in the comments: