Thursday, December 11, 2014

Browsing the Global Poker Index

During the World Series of Poker this summer one of my PokerNews assignments was to compile the weekly column reporting on the updated Global Poker Index rankings. I picked that duty back up back in September and have been delivering that news each week for the last several months.

Has been kind of interesting to pay a little closer attention both to the 2014 Player of the Year race and the overall GPI rankings.

The current standings show Daniel Colman leading in the 2014 POY race, a spot he’s held for six weeks running. Ole Schemion -- who won the 2013 GPI POY -- picked up a couple of big finishes at the Master Classics of Poker in Amsterdam recently to surge up to second behind Colman. With EPT Prague and the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic still left to go, there ought to be more movement in that race before the calendar reaches December 31.

Meanwhile in the overall rankings Dan Smith has led the way for 16 straight weeks. He just lost some points, though, after his victory in last year’s WPT Five Diamond Main Event (which I helped cover) became more than 12 months old and thus now counts less for him points-wise. Schemion is number two in those rankings as well, now just a small cash or so away from surpassing Smith.

The GPI has been around since the start of 2011, and some may not even remember it was created along with the ill-fated Epic Poker League as a means to decide which players would qualify for EPL events. From the ashes of that dumpster fire arose the GPI, surviving as not only an interesting discussion-starter but also as an increasingly relevant part of the poker tournament circuit.

I was thinking today how the GPI should perhaps go back into the past and apply its formula -- or a modified version of it -- to pre-2011 tournament poker. Records are fairly complete for a lot of the tours going back at least into the early 2000s, making it possible perhaps to perform a kind of retroactive ranking of players and naming of POYs.

Obviously there are pros and cons to the ranking system as far as its worth as an indicator of players’ ability. I also understand well the cynicism of those who are not on board for the whole campaign to “sportify" poker (as the GPI rankings could be said to attempt to do). But the lists are still quite diverting and if anything help bring some publicity to a lot of players -- and the game, generally -- that might not otherwise happen.

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