Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GPI, WSOP, POY, et al.

A little behind with other stuff this week. Saw one item over the past few days I might’ve written more extensively about in the past, but am only going to allude to briefly here today -- both because I don’t have time to sort through it fully, and I’m not sure how deeply I’d want to get into it even if I did.

It was announced last week that the Global Poker Index will be “powering” the World Series of Poker Player of the Year rankings this time around. (That’s a great, positive-sounding verb, by the way, to describe such a relationship, isn’t it?) In fact, the new name for the race/award will be the “GPI WSOP Player of the Year.”

BLUFF had previously been the one powering the WSOP POY, and their method seemed reasonably powerful enough although like any ranking system it was the subject of plenty of debate. I think over recent years more have objected to the WSOP Europe and/or the WSOP APAC events being included in the tabulations than have had any problems with the way the rankings were done.

Now the WSOP Player of the Year will be determined according to points players earned as determined by the current GPI model, which differs in a number of ways from what BLUFF had done. Like I say, I might’ve written at length about this before, but instead today I’ll point first to Jess Welman’s recent post over on her blog that highlights some of these differences, titled “POY Problems.”

Amid the Twitter discussion of the topic I was led to read another interesting post written a few months ago that like Jess’s takes issue with the GPI rankings while also comparing them to BLUFF’s method. That one is by poker player Michael Wang and is titled “A Critique of the GPI Ranking System.”

The WSOP POY race -- or should I say, the GPI WSOP POY race (which is hard to rattle off if you need to ASAP or PDQ) -- serves a few different purposes, including heightening interest in the events for fans of poker and in some cases providing encouragement to players to play more events. The winner gets a trophy, is pictured on a banner to be hung in the Rio hallways each summer (like Allen Cunningham’s above), and is honored in a special ceremony, but there aren’t any other tangible benefits (as far as I know).

Stepping back from the whole issue, it feels a lot like a different, more detailed version of the debate over WSOP bracelets and their relative worth. It also resembles other debates from major sports, too, having to do with the numbers games can create and how we interpret them.

I’ll just leave it all right there for now, though, and let you, reader, do your own interpreting.

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