Thursday, February 27, 2014

Egalitarian? Egad.

Like many of you who might have clicked through my tweet announcing a new blog post (@hardboiledpoker), you probably also had your timelines populated today with much back-and-forthing regarding the Global Poker Index and the pros and cons of ranking systems designed to indicate who might be the best of the best when it comes to tournament poker.

If you did, you noticed that Phil Hellmuth has kind of weirdly wandered into the conversation, making various claims and pronouncements that remind me of a tenured faculty member who has missed every meeting all semester suddenly showing up to share his thoughts on this particular agenda item.

Starting earlier this week, Hellmuth has tweeted about a half-dozen times on the matter, sort of firing randomly in ways that belie a lack of understanding of how the GPI works, what ranking systems actually represent, and perhaps a desire to be considered by his Twitter followers to be the kind of respected commentator on poker-related issues that other players actually are.

His first salvo was the most hilarious, although he’s come close a couple of times since. “The GPI is very flawed,” he began. “I cannot respect a points award system that counts $100,000 high rollers. Poker awards need to be egalitarian.”

I liked Dreyfus’s early response to the non-specific criticism of the first sentence. “Poker is flawed,” said Dreyfus.

Dreyfus also offered a more detailed response to the rest of Hellmuth’s tweet in a post over on the GPI site, including pointing out that the Poker Brat’s criticism of $100K events being included ignores how the GPI actually weighs high roller and super high roller events differently in order to prevent them from unduly affecting rankings.

The best part of it, though, is the line that “Poker awards need to be egalitarian.” Hellmuth might as well say that the ranking system is unfair because it penalizes poor players while rewarding the good ones.

Sure, he means to say something less obtuse about high-rolling players having an inherent advantage in such rankings, but that ain’t the words he’s chosen. (I see the latest episode of the PokerNews GPI podcast is titled “Hellmuth the Egalitarian,” which makes me want to listen.)

I suppose the only real “egalitarian” tourney rankings system would be one that accounted for buy-ins, too (something that came up during the long Twitter discussion today), but that obviously ain’t happening.

Now Hellmuth is ducking his head inside the door to say stuff about a “players council” being needed to establish criteria for ranking systems. We’ve heard this line before from him -- recently, in fact, such as last fall when he wanted to “draw a line in the sand” over which WSOP bracelets were supposed to “count.”

But like I say, it’s like the whole faculty has been working on this issue for weeks and he’s just bumbled into the room to remind everyone that even if he’s presently well outside the top 100 on the GPI, he can’t be fired!

Anyhow, sorry to those who like my buddy Remko were pointing out how there was an overload of GPI-related talk in his timeline today. “They should change the word ‘Timeline’ on my Twitter app to ‘Endless GPI Discussion with some sports news and pictures of cats,‘” he tweeted.

To which I felt like there was really only one correct response (click pic to enlarge).

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