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2013 WSOP Predictions: Most Likely To…
Hey, remember a couple of years ago when everyone couldn't wait to get money down on Frank Kassela, the hands-down favorite to win multiple bracelets and WSOP Player of the Year?
Oh right. No one did that. Because no one had heard of Frank Kassela before.
And there, basically, is the crux of WSOP forecasting. No matter how much you follow poker or have a “feeling” someone’s going to have a big summer, it doesn’t usually work out that way.
Great players whiff on 50+ events. Dark horses emerge from all corners of the globe. Plenty of players have big summers, sure – it’s just virtually impossible to pick who beforehand.
Going on a WSOP heater is truly like catching lightning in a bottle. It starts with a deep run, or a final table, or a 2-7 bracelet and next thing you know you can’t do wrong. Your confidence is up, you trust all your reads and virtually every flip goes your way.
That’s just how tournament poker goes sometimes. And given how truly astonishing the odds are to win multiple bracelets, it’s actually fairly surprising how many times it does happen.
So while predicting winners is a herculean task, there are still plenty of things more "likely" to happen than others. Or so we think.
Have some predictions of your own? We’d love to hear them in the comments. And hit up our WSOP section for all the latest from the floor of the Rio starting today!
Most Likely to Make Second November Nine: Joe Cheong
Five years in to the “November Nine” experiment (now looking much less experiment and far more permanent), 45 players have shared the life-altering experience of being at the WSOP Main Event final table.
No one has made it twice yet. So, given what we know about hitting one-outers, it pretty much seems like we’re due, no?
Among those esteemed 45 to make the November Nine once: Highly respected poker vets Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Greg Merson, Ben Lamb, Jonathan Duhamel, Chino Rheem (who just won the $25k WPT Championship) and the legend that is Phil Ivey.
None of those are our pick, though. We like Joe Cheong. Who’s done a bit of crushing lately, sure, but also just seems like a guy who can’t help himself from going deep when the stakes are highest.
We also think he has some unfinished business in the back of his mind to take care of and that'll be just enough to keep his focus as the Main Event grind wears on.
Most Likely to Start the First Anti-WSOP Hashtag: Jon Aguiar
Pretty much a no-brainer as Aguiar, beyond being a known "critic" in the poker world, has a particular dislike for the WSOP.
It might have something to do with a misguided pretense about the "current stewardship" of the WSOP brand.
It might have something to do with an @WSOP retweet suggesting he was a bitch last year.
Could be either/or. But if Aguiar finds even the slightest chance to heap some scorn on the WSOP, we’re pretty sure he’ll jump on the opportunity.
Only chance he misses out is if ToddTerry goes on an early Twitter heater or Allen Kessler is unhappy with the structure of the Casino Employees event.
Most Likely to Have His Stack Blinded Off Because he’s Degening OFC: Shaun Deeb
Another no-brainer as no one takes the OFC experience into the diving bell more than Deeb.
Add in a general disregard for money and an overall confusion about time, clocks and numbers and Deeb will definitely blind off a hefty portion of his stack at some point this summer.
Wild card contenders also include Phil Hellmuth and Jean-Robert Bellande, who seem to have picked up the OFC bug pretty heavily lately.
Most Likely to Win as Much on Bets as Poker: Jason Mercier
There’s no heater in poker quite like a Jason Mercier heater.
His first one basically lasted for about five years before slowing down slightly in 2012. Then he's crushed the last couple of months like he was just kidding with us all last year.
A motivated Mercier is certifiably deadly in almost all games and with 3-1 bracelet bets out to all takers motivation won't be hard to find.
And if there’s a bigger favorite in PLO tournaments, we haven’t seen him.
If things break right for Mercier he might just go all Jeff Lisandro and sweep all the events in his specialty. But he’s a pretty safe bet for at least one bracelet, somewhere, in something.
He might win six-figures in tournaments but we have a feeling it may be even bigger in side bets.
Most Likely to Return to WSOP Glory: Mike “The Mouth” Matusow
Take away a few bad breaks and Mike Matusow would have a lot more than three WSOP bracelets.
Events like the WSOP just seem to be made for a guy like Matusow who loves to be in the center of the action and literally comes alive when the cameras are on him.
Bouncing back and forth from table to table with his fanny pack, signing autographs with the rail, talking a mile a minute in every hand ... it’s like Matusow literally remembers he’s supposed to be "a star" everytime he sets foot in the Rio and then plays like it.
Given his win in the NBC Heads-Up Championship this year, he also might have a bit of his mojo back.
A still-humbled-from-the Full-Tilt-debacle but newly confident Matusow could easily take down a mixed-game bracelet.
If Matusow doesn’t see a return to glory, we got you Jeff Madsen.
Most Likely to Show Up Even Though He/She Shouldn’t: Annie Duke
There’s an outside chance Annie’s brother Howard might feel he’s saved face enough to return to the WSOP but Duke has the ultimate weapon on her side – she’s completely unable to believe she’s done anything wrong.
She'll show up for an event or two, and things will get ugly.
Most Likely to Throw a Punch at Matt Marafioti: Matt Marafioti
We don’t know exactly how he’ll manage it but if anyone can find a way to punch himself in the face, it’s ADZ124.
Most Likely to Go On An Embarrassing Twitter Rant: David "Doc" Sands
There are literally a thousand candidates for this one, including the above mentioned ADZ and the man who tweeted through his tears in the Rio parking lot, but we just have a feeling on this.
He's got that perfect combination of success, confidence and poker-fueled entitlement that precedes an epic foot-in-mouth tirade.
Also ripe for an entitlement-fueled tweetwreck: High-stakes reg Brian "$tinger88" Hastings.
Most Likely to Win Even More Fans: Faraz Jaka
Hard not to love him and if he strings together some more extended ESPN screen time he’ll win some hearts with his big hair, big moves, genuine heart and respectful attitude at the tables.
Most Likely to Be Last Woman Standing: Xuan Liu
Along with virtually everyone else we think it's an inevitability Liu breaks big very soon.
At the very least we're pretty sure she'll get a lot of camera time if she makes it past Day 3.
Back-up pick: Amanda Musumeci. She's pretty badass at the pokers.
Most Likely to Enter the Ladies Event: Shaun Deeb
Again we're going with Shaun Deeb but not because he's played the event before. Or even because he's the kind of guy who can afford $10k to get better value.
Nope. Deeb is simply the most likely to stand in the wrong registration line and then accidentally pay with a $10,000 bill.