It is impossible to know what 2018 will deal the poker world, but it is possible to look ahead. One week into the new year, Poker Central peers into the crystal ball and attempts to predict what 2018 has in store. From the world’s biggest events to who will have the most successful campaign to the story lines we will follow in 2018, Poker Central will spend the week looking ahead. 

What Crypto Means for Poker

If you haven’t heard of crypto, cryptocurrency, or Bitcoin, you were probably living under a rock in 2017. The poker world was above that rock and many were ahead of the crypto-curve. A survey of who owns crypto and how much they own would be interesting, but going off the assumption that a majority of players do own crypto and a decent amount of it, what does that mean for the future of the poker world?

High Rollers and big buy-in events aren’t going anywhere. The poker world had lots of ammunition before BTC hit peak after peak and now, players and investors have even more of it.

Fields may not be bigger, although recent trends outside of crypto say that they will, but each player’s piece of themselves will be. Take the WSOP Main Event for example. It is the biggest tournament of the year and is also the softest tournament of the year. Pros already take some of their biggest shots in this event and the higher BTC and other crypto prices climb, the bigger those shots will get.

WSOP Player of the Year

During last year’s World Series of Poker, a record 74 bracelets were awarded and throughout the summer, there were probably 74,000 takes about the new Player of the Year system. Those takes ranged from hot to lukewarm to cold and they didn’t stop once the WSOP went overseas and Chris Ferguson was named WSOP Player of the Year.

While Ferguson’s win and the flawed system that got him there eventually faded from memory, they’ll be back this summer. He’ll be back on our minds and he’ll be on another banner in the Rio rafters. That’s fine, Chris Ferguson’s 2017 resume was enough to win Player of the Year last year. Let’s just hope that the World Series and the poker community makes sure that future POY winners do more than just enough.

Germany’s Reign of Terror

A simple “Will it end this year?” would likely suffice, but let’s look at some numbers before we answer that question. In 2017, nine players cashed for more than $5 million. Four of those players were German. 32 players cashed for more than $3 million. 10 of those players were German. In 2017, Christoph Vogelsang won the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl, Steffen Sontheimer won the Poker Masters, Dominik Nitsche won the WSOP Europe High Roller for One Drop, and the retired Fedor Holz cashed for a casual $6.4 million.

A lot can change in a year, but Germany’s world-wide dominance is not one of them.

Phillip Dennis Ivey Jr.

Unfortunately, another thing that won’t likely change in 2018 is Phil Ivey’s involvement in poker. The ten-time bracelet winner hasn’t been to the WSOP winner’s circle since 2014 and hasn’t cashed a tournament since 2016. Last year, he made a few appearances and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, but most of the news surrounding Ivey had to do with court cases and lawsuits.

Poker will go on with or without Phil Ivey, but ever since the greatest to play the game has become one of the most mysterious in the game, his every move has become news. We can attempt to speculate what Phil Ivey will do, whether he’ll return to the poker world or remain an enigma, but the only person that knows what Phil Ivey is do, is Phil Ivey.

Phil Ivey, WSOP, Christoph Vogelsang, Chris Ferguson, Super High Roller Bowl, Dominik Nitsche, Fedor Holz, Poker Masters, Steffen Sontheimer, cryptocurrency