Stories to Watch at the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe
The 2019 World Series of Poker Europe is just a week away. Once again, the series is returning to King’s Casino in Rozvadov. This time around, the event will feature a schedule of 15 events covering many disciplines of poker.
Heading into the series, there are several stories that we will be following. Most center around the WSOP Player of the Year race. Below are the stories we are following at the upcoming WSOP-E.
Can Daniel Negreanu Win WSOP Player of the Year for the Third Time?
If you ask the casual fan who they will be following at the WSOP Europe, they will likely say Daniel Negreanu. He comes into the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe third in points and looking to become WSOP Player of the Year for the third time.
Negreanu skipped the 2018 WSOP Europe and is only playing this year because he’s in the hunt for Player of the Year. The last time he cashed in a WSOP-E event was 2013 when he cashed in the Main Event and won the €25k High Roller.
In addition to looking for the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year title, he is also looking for his seventh career WSOP bracelet.
Can Shaun Deeb Repeat as WSOP Player of the Year
Shaun Deeb is the reigning WSOP Player of the Year and he heads into the WSOP Europe second in points. He is just 138.65 points behind Robert Campbell for first place and is certainly in contention to repeat.
Last year, Deeb had the WSOP Player of the Year lead heading into the WSOP Europe and retained it thanks in small part to a stellar performance during the series. He cashed four times and finished runner-up in the Mixed PLO/NL Hold’em event.
Deeb missed out on his fifth career WSOP bracelet this summer after finishing runner-up in the $10k Dealer’s Choice Event. He made three other final tables and cashed 17 times overall in Las Vegas.
The schedule has a couple of prime opportunities for Deeb to go deep, including the 8-Game Mix Event and the Mixed Games Championship. The PLO/NLH mix will return along with two other PLO events. If Deeb performs like he did last year, Negreanu may not have a shot to catch him.
Will Hellmuth or Ivey Play?
Two players that fans will hope to see at the WSOP Europe, but aren’t likely to are Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey. Hellmuth was noticeably absent last year and has yet to commit to this year’s event. This is a bit surprising considering his entire poker career has been largely centered around winning WSOP bracelets.
However, Hellmuth is very active in the poker world, so it is possible that he feels his time is better spent in his other endeavors than worrying about the 15-event schedule. After all, there’s always next year.
For Phil Ivey, we would bet money that he will not show up. With his ongoing appeal with the Borgata ramping up, it is unlikely that we will see him playing at the WSOP Europe. According to reports earlier in the year, Ivey had to be backed in the $50k Poker Player’s Championship, which makes one wonder if he has the roll to afford the tournament circuit.
Due to his ongoing legal issues, we think it is unlikely that we will see Phil Ivey at the WSOP Europe, or any WSOP series. Once the matter is resolved, it is likely we will see him focus on a comeback, but that may be a while.
How Will the Series Draw?
One thing we will pay close attention to is the attendance numbers for the event. While the 2019 WSOP Europe schedule is expanded, we will be interested to see whether events draw better than last year. The WSOP in Las Vegas was deemed a success but the WSOP Europe has struggled at times to draw crowds.
King’s Casino has expanded the schedule and added events they think will increase attendance, including three €25k events, a €100k event, and a monster €250,000 event. If these high rollers draw well, this will help cement Rozvadov as the future home of the series.
If the series struggles with attendance despite the revamped schedule, then WSOP officials may have some difficult decisions to make for 2020 and beyond.