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.
Who is going to be this year’s “breakout player” at the World Series of Poker?
Remko: The term “breakout player” is loosely used and it means different things to different people. Not knowing what their schedule is going to look like, I strongly belive Dzmitry Urbanovich is due to have a massive summer. The Polish phenom was hyped for a breakout summer last year but he *only managed to get three cashes and didn’t make any final tables. I know “Colisea” will do much better this summer with another year of experience under his belt and let’s not forget that the 22-year-old already has over $5 million in live tournament earnings.
Will: I’m genuinely sorry for everyone we name on this list. If you are pegged as a “breakout player,” you are likely destined to do NOTHING that summer. For that reason, I am out. You’re welcome for not jinxing you.
Paul: Aaron Massey. He puts in the world, has grinded the circuit for years but keeps getting bad breaks come WSOP time. I think Massey, pictured below, wins his first bracelet this summer and runs deep in something notable.
Which player is going to return this year and be a “Blast from the Past?”
Remko: We can only hope that some of the “old guns” go on big runs but those are hard to predict because only a select few know their playing schedules. Based purely on what I’d like to see, I’m hoping for a few final tables for Doyle Brunson, who has alluded to wanting to play most of the $10,000 Championship events. Winning the $50K Poker Players Championship would take a five-day effort but if Doyle has another big summer up his sleeve, winning that tournament would be a fitting cherry on top of his already legendary career.
Will: There were a few last year that were surrounded in controversy but don’t we want a returnee that we can celebrate in 2017? Enter stage left, Jerry Yang. The 2007 WSOP Main Event winner was great for TV and he’d be even better on a live stream.
Paul: Fingers crossed that it is Doyle Brunson. He hasn’t played many WSOP events for a couple of years due to the long hours and the toll it takes on him but he announced on Twitter, permitting his wife’s health, the $10K mixed game players will have some competition this summer.
Brent: I see Jerry Yang and raise you, Huck Seed.
Who will win WSOP Player of the Year?
Remko: This will be the year of Mike Leah. He plays all the games well and has been close numerous times to taking down POY. Despite cashing in 10 events last year, Leah, pictured above, finished 76th in 2016, largely due to his lack of final table finishes. If you can cash ten times in a summer, across eight different variants of poker, you’ll eventually start hitting some home runs and rip off a two-bracelet summer.
Will: Jason Mercier’s run in 2016 was out of this world and that run kept Justin Bonomo, who also had a spectacular summer, on the outside looking in. This year, Bonomo puts together another tremendous stretch and picks up two bracelets and Player of the Year.
Paul: Anthony Zinno plays all the games well, has the bankroll and is intent on winning everything he plays. He’s already got a WPT Player of the Year title and he wants a WSOP POY title.
Sam: After a late surge to steal the GPI Player of the Year title from Fedor Holz, David Peters repeats as WSOP Player of the Year.
Brent: Jason Mercier. Back-to-back for the first time.
Carly: 2017 seems to be Bryn Kenney’s year, as he wins or cashes almost everything, including POY.
Look out for more of Poker Central’s Pre-Summer Round Table over the next week and follow Poker Central on Twitter to get ready for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl.