Five Storylines to Watch at the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific

Crown poker room
The Crown Casino poker room.

The World Series of Poker will only be making one international stop this year but it’s a big one.

From Oct. 2-18, 2014, the Crown Casino in Melbourne will turn into mecca for poker players from around the globe with 10 gold bracelet events ranging from the $1,100 Accumulator to the $25,000 buy-in High Roller.

The WSOP has only been to Australia once before, in 2013, but it was a memorable festival with Phil Ivey winning his ninth bracelet and Daniel Negreanu earning his fifth in the Main Event.

Apparently Caesars was pleased with how APAC went the first time around because this year’s festival has double the number of tournaments.

In fact the 2014 WSOP APAC will be the biggest series the WSOP has ever held outside of Las Vegas.

PokerListings will be on location for all 10 events so expect a plethora of news, photos and reports straight from Melbourne.

Here are five fascinating storylines to watch unfold at the 2014 WSOP APAC. 

1) Will November Niners Make Some Noise?

Martin Jacobson
Martin Jacobson

For years the World Series of Poker Europe has served as a coming out party for the latest Main Event final table contestants.

With no WSOPE this year and the re-jigged schedule, WSOP APAC will be a major chance for November Niners to build a little momentum before the final table plays out.

It’s still not totally set who will make the trip but there’s a good chance we’ll see at least a few of them including 888 Team member Bruno Politano.

November Niners have had some notable success during the Main Event break in the past.

Ivan Demidov made the WSOPE final table in 2008 with both James Akenhead and Antoine Saout following suit in 2009.

2) Will Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey Keep Winning?

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu winning the 2013 WSOP APAC Main Event.

Two of poker’s biggest stars have been on absolute tears at both the WSOPE and WSOP APAC over the last couple years.

Since 2013 Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey have made four final tables while picking up three bracelets and millions in winnings.

It’s anyone’s guess what makes both players so good away from Las Vegas. You could argue the fields in Europe and Australia are smaller or the level of competition is lower. Regardless, Negreanu and Ivey will keep traveling if they have a shot at more bracelets.

Of course they did OK in Vegas this summer too with a high-profile bet that one of them would win a bracelet.

Ivey managed to win the bracelet while Negreanu picked up $8.2 million for his second-place finish in the $1 million Big One for One Drop.

Perhaps an even better question would be as to whether anyone would take a bet against them winning a bracelet in Australia.

We wouldn’t.

3) Who Will Be the WSOP Player of the Year?

George Danzer
George Danzer is close.

A number of people complained last year that the WSOP POY was essentially limited to players who were rich enough to travel to Australia to get a headstart on the competition.

Organizers solved that problem this year by rearranging the schedule and eliminating WSOP Europe. Because the WSOP in Las Vegas took place first this year, anyone who is in contention for POY likely has enough cash to make the trip to Australia.

That means Brandon Shack-Harris, who came out of nowhere, to take the lead in WSOP POY with 752 points will almost certainly make the trip to Australia.

George Danzer, who just a hair behind Shack-Harris with 745 points, will also likely be making an appearance in Melbourne.

It could be a fantastic race-to-the-finish between both players in Australia.

There are some other dark horses however with John Hennigan, Justin Bonomo and Richard Ashby also in the top 10.

Of course the most intriguing player in the top 10 may just be defending WSOP POY winner Daniel Negreanu who finished the summer with 519 points, which makes him fourth overall.

4) Will Dan Colman Make an Appearance?

Dan Colman
Dan Colman

There’s something ironic about how poker anti-hero Dan Colman became one of the most famous poker pros in the world by skipping all interviews at the WSOP Big One for One Drop.

It helps Colman has been on one of the biggest heaters in the history of poker with over $20 million in earnings this year including wins in the Big One for One Drop, Monte Carlo $100k Super High Roller, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.

Obviously Colman hasn’t been doing a media tour so there’s no word as to whether he’ll actually come to Australia at all. Than again if you’re on one of the biggest hot streaks of all time you likely want to play as much as possible.

That $25,000 high roller seems like it would be particularly appealing to Colman.

Also interesting: Colman is fifth in WSOP POY. Of course he probably doesn’t care about that. Right?

5) Will Australian Elite Break Through?

Joe Hachem
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie?

Despite a relatively small poker community there are some incredibly gifted Australian poker players.

Poker pros like James Obst, Jonathan Karamalikis and Matthew “mjw2006” Wakeman have been dominating online for years.

Joe Hachem showed just how much the Australians can get behind one of their own so maybe it’s time for the next big thing in Australian poker.

Aaron Lim was the first and only Australian to win a gold bracelet on home soil so this year there should be at least one Aussie who collects another.

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