Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Fading Rich

I’m a little bit in awe of my friend and colleague Rich Ryan for having the cojones to make and publicize his “10 Poker Predictions” at the start of each year over at PokerNews.

His list for 2014 includes a few provocative prognostications. He thinks four Russians will win WSOP bracelets this year, for example, which seems like a total that would be over the betting line.

Rich did correctly call for the Canadians to break through in 2013, however, boldly guessing they’d get at least eight WSOP wins (they won 10, plus two more by Daniel Negreanu at the WSOP APAC and WSOPE). In fact Rich somehow got eight of his 10 predictions for 2013 correct, which seems way over the line I would’ve set for correct picks in his list a year ago.

One other prediction Rich offers for 2014 is to say that “a ‘well-known’ pro will win the WSOP Main Event.” He then usefully narrows the definition of “a ‘well-known pro” down to just the top 100 players in the current Global Poker Index plus the top 50 players on the all-time money list, guessing that with overlap he’s probably narrowed himself down to about 125 players altogether.

I think I’ll take the field versus Rich on this one.

Looking back at the GPI rankings as of July 1, 2013, not one of the eventual November Nine from last year’s Main Event was anywhere near the top 100 on the list. The only one of the group who even appeared in the Top 300 at that time was Amir Lehavot in 273rd.

Meanwhile, I believe J.C. Tran was already inside the top 50 on the All-Time Money List for tourney earnings when he made last year’s Main Event final table, sitting just inside the top 40 before snaring another $2.1 million-plus for his fifth-place finish. But none of the other ME final tablists was close.

To be fair to Rich, he does classify this prediction as a “shot” and indeed I think it is probably more than 10-to-1 against he gets it right. Being less ballsy than he, though, I’ll go out on a short limb and make one prediction for 2014 here that he misses this one.

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