The summer is quickly approaching and over the next week, Poker Central’s finest minds are putting their heads together to predict and preview the poker world’s busiest stretch of action. Talking everything Super High Roller Bowl and World Series of Poker are editorial members Remko Rinkema, Paul Oresteen and Will O’Connor, along with contributions from Sam Simmons, Brent Hanks and Carly O’Loughlin.

Will the WSOP Main Event be bigger or smaller than years past?

Remko: There isn’t much to say about the trend of Main Event field sizes but I’m a very positive person and I love believing in the growth of poker. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Main Event will surpass the 7,000-player mark for the first time since 2010, when Jonathan Duhamel bested a field of 7,319 players. This would mean an increase of at least 3.9% and I think that is doable.

Will: After a few years going in the wrong direction, the Main Event is trending upwards and proving that poker is still not dead! The upswing continues this year but I’m not really concerned about field size, just the fact that we get to watch the Main Event in real time for the first time ever this summer.

Paul: For the first time in several years, I’m going to be optimistic and think the number goes up. There is a chance the Main Event crosses the 7,000-player mark again.

Carly: Based on all the WSOP and ESPN excitement, I think it will be bigger in 2017.

Sam and Brent: *make eye contact* Bigger.

Will a “big name” player make the WSOP Main Event final table? Who do you predict?

Remko: The dream of every poker fan is to see familiar faces at the Main Event final table and I’m no different. With my predicted success (spoiler alert!) for Daniel Negreanu in the Super High Roller Bowl, I’m going with Erik Seidel in the Main. Big names will shine in this structure and I strongly believe that someone from the Top 50 of the all-time money list will make it this year.

Will: The Main Event has been dominated by experienced professionals over the last few years, save for Qui Nguyen, but even though raccoon man won, it was a stacked and experienced final table that he had to defeat. That trend will continue this year, with an international final table of well-versed professionals coming together. Everyone, around the world, will get to watch their man progress to the final table in real-time, which beats clicking refresh on live updates for seven straight days.

Paul: The Main Event gets tougher every year plus the “big name” argument is so subjective but looking back, Daniel Negreanu’s 11th place run drew in tons of viewers and felt special to watch in the moment. I hope to see another major pro land on the final table.

Sam: After making the final two tables last year, we are in store for another deep Tom Marchese run.

Brent: Nice pick Sam, I’m adding to that list though, with Jason Mercier and Daniel Colman also going deep.

How many non-pros will make the WSOP Main Event final table and what will their real occupations be?

Remko: The Main Event final table is the hardest to make in poker and that puts the recreational players at a real disadvantage. My guess for this year is that we’ll see one or two players that don’t play poker for a living but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is all professionals.

Will: There has to be one, right? This year, the non-professional to crash the Main Event final table isn’t going to be a baccarat player or a logger from Western Maryland, it will be a non-pro with experience at the highest level. My pick, pictured above, Talal Shakerchi.

Paul: The days of amateurs dominating the Main Event are over. The players are so good now that it will take nothing short of a miracle for a player like Qui Nguyen to get there. For the most part, the final table has been dominated by serious players for the past couple of years and that will continue.