Is It Time For Poker To Have A Tiered Player Of The Year Award?

December 8, 2017
Is It Time For Poker To Have A Tiered Player Of The Year Award?


There’s one simple and easy way to keep score in the game of poker: Money. For most, it would be more than fair to consider the player who wins the most money playing poker tournaments around the globe in a single year, the player of the year. However, it doesn’t always work out that way.

In 2016, Germany’s Fedor Holz booked an incredible $16,484,154 in tournament earnings. It was a historic performance of epic proportions. However, Toledo, Ohio’s David Peters won the Global Poker Index Player Of The Year award.

Peters had a great year. He cashed for more than $7.5 million in live tournaments, but more importantly, he tallied 3,666.31 GPI POY Points to win the award.

Holz came close, but because much of the money he earned came from small-field high-roller events with little or no GPI POY Points on offer, he fell short.

The flawed formula

Holz had one of the best years any player in the history of the game has ever had. Peters won player of the year.

Any player of the year formula that spits out that result has to be considered a flawed one. However, the issues with GPI POY run even deeper than that.

When Peters won the award last year he said it was the prestige and the respect it came with that was important to him. That might be because that’s all it came with. If the GPI really wants to be poker’s official scorekeeper, and have it’s GPI POY award respected industry-wide, isn’t it time the company put something of value up?

The hundreds of thousands of dollars it spent producing a live-streamed poker league that no one seemed to watch, or care about, would have been a good start.

However, the problems with the GPI POY formula continue to be its biggest issue. Try as they might, no one seems to have figured out a way to strike a balance between poker tournament buy-ins and field sizes.

Keeping score simply by who wins the most money seems to give an unfair advantage to players who can afford big buy-in events with smaller fields. Not giving these events enough weight in the player of the year formula seems to ignore the strength of the fields and how tough it is to get by players widely considered the best in the world.

On the other side of the coin, there are those who believe it’s much tougher to fight through the minefields that are smaller buy-ins with larger fields. Not giving enough weight to field size in the player of the year formula ignores that.

An impossible balancing act

It’s an impossible balancing act. So, why bother trying. Perhaps now is the time to consider something completely different: A tiered player of the year award.

A mid-major POY for events with buy-ins up to $3,000? A main event POY for buy-ins between $3,000 and $15,000? A whole separate POY for the many high roller events around the world?

Sweetening the pot

Getting back to the idea it’s time the GPI put something up, here’s the prefect opportunity.

Participating tours could be encouraged to put the equivalent of a buy-in or two for next season into the POY pot. Then there will really be something to play for.

Mid-majors could all contribute a buy-in to an event next season. That includes the WSOP Circuit, WPT Deepstacks, Heartland Poker Tour and Mid States Poker Tour. Players at that level would have something serious to strive for.

The World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, PokerStars Championship, and maybe even Aussie Millions might be willing to do the same for a premier event. The race for that prize would be hotly contested.

High Roller events aren’t likely to attract any more players just for a prize. However, they could all get together to offer something more than a jacket, like a single $100,000 buy-in. It would make the achievement of being the best high roller in a single year something even more special.

It’s an idea that might help the GPI avoid the constant criticism of its obviously flawed current system. Then again, keeping score the old fashion way and simply handing the player of the year award to whoever earns the most money might do the trick as well.

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