Why The Global Poker Index is Here to Stay

gpiPhil Helmuth, three-time World Series of Poker bracelet holder and a known “brat” in the poker world, recently released this bombshell of a tweet last January:

“The GPI is very flawed. I cannot respect a points award system that counts $100,000 high rollers. Poker awards need to be egalitarian.”

The GPI he is talking about here is the Global Poker Index, currently considered by both players and poker pundits alike to be the most accurate rank-giving body that can rate the world’s best poker players. Helmuth’s outburst came hot on the heels of the GPI’s release of new metrics for their ranking formula and the announcement of Daniel Negreanu, a six-time World Series of Poker bracelet holder and twice champion of the World Poker Tour, as “Poker Player of the Decade.” Was Helmuth on to something or was his outburst just a simple case of sour-graping?

What is the Global Poker Index?

The GPI is a list that ranks all live poker players who have participated in eligible tournaments (note: “eligible” tournaments are those that have 21 or more participants). Because there are tournaments almost every week, the list is constantly in flux and updated on an almost regular basis. Currently, only the top 300 players who managed to finish in cash positions in eligible tournaments over the past 36 months are listed on the GPI.

So is the GPI 100% accurate? The short answer is no, and it will never be. Neither were any of the other ranking mechanics that the poker world had tried in the past. But what we can be sure is that the GPI is the fairest that we will ever get into ranking the poker players of today. It’s a system that does not put much emphasis and focus into high buy-in events. For the GPI, skill will always be greater than profit. And it’s not something static; the GPI is constantly improved as evidenced by the recent formula update by the

For “elitists” like Daniel Negreanu who regularly play in high stakes tournaments, this fact can be a bit hard to swallow.

Is Profit Not Important?

There are various viewpoints on this, but the reason that the GPI does not put much focus on player profit is not that because it’s not important, but rather, this information is quite hard to come by. Casinos are usually hesitant to give the figures related to players’ winnings for safety reasons.

And think about it, high stakes winnings also mean high stakes losses. If you’re a budding amateur poker player, would you like to see how much your idols Negreaunu or Hellmuth have lost in their games? These are figures that are entirely discouraging if you’re only able to afford lower stakes games.

The rankings are there to encourage people to play better- not to spend more. It’s a motivating tool. The GPI gives us, recreational players, a chance to improve our game. Poker should not be elitist, it should allow all kinds of players to have a fighting chance at making it big.


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