The Global Poker Index (GPI) recently announced a relaunch of the rankings after a pause of live poker during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the live game still on pause outside the US for the most part, Americans are dominating the rankings so far.
The GPI races are now current for 2021 and retroactive to Jan. 1. The organization also gets more players in the ranking mix with the debut of the new “Mid-Major Player of the Year” leaderboard.
Inside the rankings
With live poker now returning in the US, numerous American players are among the top spots on the rankings. On June 30, 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen became the GPI’s 20th top-ranked player in the index’s history.
McKeehen replaced Alex Foxen, who won back-to-back GPI Player of the Year awards in the last two Global Poker Awards. Before McKeehen’s rise, Foxen and Stephen Chidwick were the only players ranked No. 1 since April 18, 2018.
Several Americans sit behind McKeehen including Brian Altman in third after winning the WPT Tampa Championship in June for $613,225.
Ali Imirovic leads in the 2021 POY race, followed by four US-based players: Jesse Lonis, Qing Liu, Foxen, and Adam Hendrix. Imirovic is originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, but now calls Washington home.
In the female rankings, Foxen’s new fiancée Kristen Bicknell has won the last three POY titles. However, Florida’s Nadya Magnus stopped Bicknell’s streak at 144 consecutive weeks as the No. 1-ranked woman. She also begins 2021 as the top player in the female POY race.
In the Mid-Major POY rankings, a pair of New York players have battled for the top spot. Jordan Cristos initially led last week, but has been eclipsed by Jesse Lonis.
COVID-19 restrictions in other countries skew rankings to US-based players
Other players from outside the US, such as Bicknell (Canada) and Matas Cimbolas (Lithuania), have also found spots in the rankings. But these players have been active in US tournaments in 2021.
Many European poker tours and events are still on hold, and most of those players are still only playing poker online. International online poker has surged over the last year because of pandemic restrictions.
How will this ultimately affect GPI rankings? It seems like US players, or at least those based in the US, have a leg up. The market offers tournament action that most international players won’t have an opportunity to play.
Even if European, Asian, and South American events return, US-based players have a big head start in this year’s GPI. Here’s a look at all the rankings so far as of July 7.
GPI Overall Rankings
- Joseph McKeehen (USA) – 2,200.88
- Nick Pupillo (USA) – 2,125.12
- Brian Altman (USA) – 2,107.56
- Qing Liu (USA) – 2,103.51
- Matas Cimbolas (Lithuania) – 2,102.69
2021 Player of the Year
- Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) – 2,758.21
- Jesse Lonis (USA) – 2,409.35
- Qing Liu (USA) – 2,339.32
- Alex Foxen (USA) – 2,293.88
- Adam Hendrix (USA) – 2,232.61
2021 Female Player of the Year
- Nadya Magnus (USA) – 1,974.4
- Camille Brown (USA) – 1,115.63
- Gloria Jackson (USA) – 1,085.4
- Kyna England (USA) – 932.8
- Louise Francouer (Canada) – 926.75
2021 Mid-Major Player of the Year
- Jesse Lonis (USA) – 2,019.27
- Jordan Cristos (USA) – 1,837.17
- Joseph Henry (USA) – 1,810.14
- Tuan Mai (USA) – 1,790.21
- Daniel Sepiol (USA) – 1,702.53
* Joe McKeehen photo courtesy WPT