News: 2022 poker predictions

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Mystery bounties, NFTs and webcam poker are all included as Barry Carter gazes into his crystal ball for 2022.

Every year I try to predict some market trends for poker for the next 12 months. Here are my 2021 predictions from last year.

NFTs at online poker rooms

Could we see NFTs in online poker?

Please forgive the lack of clarity in this prediction, I am not an expert on NFTs and I am probably on the more skeptical end of the spectrum where they are concerned. 

But you cannot ignore them, nor can you ignore how quickly adopted Non Fungible Tokens have become in the poker world. 

I expect them to play some sort of role in online poker in 2022. My uneducated guess would be either NFT trophies for winning online MTTs, or exclusive NFT avatars/badges/throwables that you can display at the tables. 

I might be way off with how implementable such a suggestion is, but I am confident we will see them in some form at the online felt.

The biggest ever Main Event

The biggest ever Main Event?

This is a very lofty prediction because we have no idea what shape the pandemic will take next week, let alone next year. I’m optimistic, however, that we will be in a better position in the summer than we are now. 

If that is the case, then I’d put money on the biggest Main Event in WSOP history.

We have already seen record after record broken in live poker under terrible conditions in 2021. A summer WSOP, with more travelling players and a hell of a lot of FOMO from those who didn’t make it to the last one, will be enough to make the Main Event a record breaker. 

Mystery Bounties become widespread

A six-figure mystery bounty win

PKO tournaments have taken over online poker but are yet to catch fire in the live arena. The main reason for that is probably logistical, it is difficult to monitor progressive bounties live compared to online, and there are game integrity concerns too (a player with a big bounty could hide their bounty status, for example). 

The Mystery Bounty format that has been trialled a few times Stateside might be the thing that brings big bounties to most live tours. In this format you pull a ticket out of a tombolla when you bust somebody to get a random, potentially massive, prize. 

It’s by no means ‘progressive’ like the online format but it has proved very exciting and the best way to play for huge prizes just by busting somebody in live MTTs. They seem to have been popular where they were tried so far and I expect them to become a regular fixture globally. 

More built-in HUDs

The iPoker HUD

The HUD debate has split online poker rooms, some allow them and others strictly prohibit them. 

The middle ground appears to be the built-in HUD offered by, so far, GGPoker and iPoker. They are by no means as detailed as a third party HUD but everyone at the table has the same one, removing any unfair advantage. 

I don’t think HUDs are unethical but there is an optics issue for new players when they discover what heads-up displays do. The built-in HUD solves this problem for me and I expect more poker rooms to introduce them to their clients. 

Webcam poker at more rooms

Webcam poker (image courtesy of pokerfuse)

One of the big shifts in online poker following the start of the pandemic was the resurgence in online home games, as amateur players moved their kitchen table games to the virtual felt.

The year ended with PokerStars trialling webcams in home games and you are already allowed to use webcams externally in home games at most rooms. 

With the fear of bots and real time assistance in online poker, webcam poker also provides a game integrity benefit too. People will be more comfortable cheating is not happening when they can see their opponents.

Lockdown or no lockdown, this is clearly a growth area for online poker and by the end of 2022 I expect more rooms will integrate webcams into their product. 

What are your 2022 poker predictions? Let us know in the comments: