What a rollercoaster ride 2008 has been for both the UK poker scene as well as the International poker community. We've seen some scandals as well as some outstanding landmarks that have proven poker is here to stay. 2008 was the 'year of the pro' at the WSOP and we have also seen the biggest cash games ever migrate to the online felt. The politics between poker rooms, sponsors and the government has been as tense as ever and at the same time, we've had some of the most fun packed 12 months in the history of the game.
So as we look forward to 2009, here are some of the things we expect to see on the news pages of UK Pokernews in the next 12 months:
A Million Dollar Pot
The biggest cash game in the world used to at Bobby's Room in the Bellagio, but in 2008 it made a new home at the Rail Heaven tables on Full Tilt Poker. We saw the World record for largest online pot get smashed several times a night in an amazing run of sick action towards the end of the year, and have had half a dozen pots over $500,000. With the largest ever online pot standing at $723,938 and many players all having reached the milestone of sitting with $1 million online, surely it's only a matter of time before that $1 million pot is played?
And it will almost certainly feature Thomas Dwan.
[B]A Resolution to the Online Political Landscape
We don't think it will necessarily be a great resolution, nor a terrible one, but things really seem to be coming to a head in the legality of online poker debate in the States and across the world. Barack Obama may or may not have influence here, the pleading guilty of Anurag Dikshit might also amount to something big, the Kentucky domains case will soon reach a verdict, the ongoing debates on whether poker is a game of skill in courts across the world is still being debated and all of this must surely point to some concrete decisions about the future of online poker in 2009. It could lead to regulation of the game or it might lead to something much more severe, but surely by the end of the year we will have a much better idea of what the future looks like for online poker?
[B]The GUKPT to get even Bigger
Year one of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour was a big success by anyone's standards and year two was ten times better somehow. The attendances and prize pools were massive, the side events were a huge success in their own rights, the events all produced big name winners making the Champion of Champions event a huge draw too.
The end of the tour saw a lot of big names from the rest of Europe making their way over to the UK and we think this trend will continue and soon the GUKPT will become almost become considered a European poker tour, especially when you consider that Marc Goodwin will be crowned the European Player of the Year almost entirely on GUKPT appearances alone.
DTD to host a 'Major'
After hosting the four day £1000+£60 deep stack event (as well as a hugely successful 12 months before it) last month, I think we have all seen that Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham has the potential to host a major poker event with a big buy-in. There have already been rumours that the EPT and WPT have shown interest, but even if they don't, we fully expect a $10,000/£5,000 type main event to attract the world wide poker community to Nottingham in 2009.
[B]The Biggest WSOP Ever
The World Series of Poker, although always huge, needed a bit of a shot in the arm and we think it got it by delaying the main event final table. The 'November 9' wasn't to everyone's liking and although delaying the final got a lot of detractors, there is no doubt that it both helped boost the TV ratings and made making the final table, rather than just winning the event, the envy of all poker players, what with all the sponsorship opportunities that came with it. We wouldn't be surprised at seeing the biggest ever main event field in 2009, as everyone not so much tries to emulate Peter Eastgate, but tries to emulate all of the November 9 and what comes with being in that exclusive group of players.