As I write this, Ronnie O'Sullivan is in Las Vegas preparing for his debut on the IPT Pool circuit.

Despite what you may have read, though, we are not losing him to the American game. Ronnie will be back in good time for the Northern Ireland Trophy, which starts in Belfast on August 13.

It's hard to predict what sort of season he will have. In theory, he should probably win everything. At his best, he's the best. For me, there's only John Higgins and Stephen Hendry at their very best who can beat him.

However, we all know there's more to Ronnie - and by extension his on-table fortunes - than this raw ability. His mental state is precarious to say the least and this makes following his progress a fascinating business.

During the 2004/05 season he won five titles; last season he won just one. There's no way of knowing which extreme will apply during the new campaign, or whether he will fall somewhere between the two.

I have a theory, though, that Ronnie will actually become more successful as he gets older, in contrast to most players. At 30, he is no longer the wild child of snooker and having become a father in February has some stability in his life.

He seems to be more at ease, even if he is still capable of cracking up - as witnessed against Graeme Dott at the Crucible.

You'll recall he gave his cue away to a boy in the crowd at the end of that match, but I'd fancy him to knock in a century with a broom handle.

With Ronnie, only one thing can truly be predicted: the unpredictable.

That's why he's such a positive for snooker.

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