Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G) have launched the Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year Award, which will be given every 12 months to the poker pro with the best live tournament performances over a calendar year.
Of course, the GPI award is one among many, but the system employed really does provide a relevant and fair-handed approach to deciding which player is deserving of such an accolade.
Right now, as the scoring has already started for this year’s PoY award, French-Canadian Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel is – you won’t be at all surprised to read – the current leader in the race to the crown.
The GPI 300 records the results of players during a three-year rolling window that provides more weight to recent results over six half-year periods, so ensuring that the pros displaying the greatest consistency will rise to the top.
PoY Points Method Differs from GPI 300
However, the formula employed to reach a PoY winner is not quite the same as the GPI 300 as the calculation only takes into account cashes from tournaments with $1,500-plus buy-ins.
Moreover, the PoY method limits the eligible number of scores at six for the months between January 1 and June 30, while the latter half of the year only allows for a player’s top five results to be used.
Annie Duke, the FS+G executive vice-president and Epic Poker League (EPL) commissioner, is certainly very excited by the introduction of such a prize, saying she is “thrilled to be able to apply the precision and quality of the GPI formula to a Player of the Year race”.
The one-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner from California also stressed that the player of year award “will showcase the single player at the apex of the game”.
Winner will Pick Up 18 Karat Gold Ring
This year’s player of the year award will be given to the pro showing up best between January 1 and December 31, while the top 1,000 on the list for every week will appear each Wednesday at GlobalPokerIndex.com.
Additionally, a monthly review of the PoY race will appear on both websites on the first Wednesday every month as the race to glory heats up.
The eventual winner will pick up an 18 karat gold player of the year ring, which has been designed by famed American jeweller Josh Warner – the man who created the EPL Champion and Lifetime Member rings.
The players certainly appear happy with this latest award announcement, with Brooklyn’s one-time WSOP bracelet winner and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst reckoning that “honouring” the leading pros by running “a precise and credible” PoY race should “definitely advance perceptions” the world’s greatest game.
Vanessa Selbst Lends Support to New Award
The 27-year-old Yale University graduate – who picked up $227,965 for winning event #19, a $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, at the 2008 WSOP in Las Vegas – stressed that, by employing “rigorous and objective analysis” of the GPI to an award such as this, FS+G have heralded a noteworthy “move forward for the poker community”.
So, the current PoY leader is one-time WSOP bracelet winner Duhamel after the 24-year-old kicked off 2012 in storming fashion.
Sitting at 82nd place on January 1 in the GPI 300, the Quebec pro had climbed to a high of 10 by January 23 – although he has now dropped back down to 16 – because of his wonderful PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) last month.
Incredibly, Duhamel has already managed to record five ranking scores towards his PoY points – with every one a final-table cash.
On-Fire Jonathan Duhamel Leads Standings
What is even more amazing – and why Duhamel sits atop the PoY chase – is that the Canadian notched four of those cashes inside seven days!
First came a fourth-place finish in the $100,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller on Paradise Island for $313,600 on January 5, which was then followed by fifth for $17,990 in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Max Turbo at the Atlantis Resort & Casino three days later.
Duhamel then took down the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Max event on January 10 for $239,830, before concluding his PCA mission with a runner-up spot in the $25,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Eight-Max tournament for $634,550 on the 12th.
Not long after the PCA finished, Duhamel ventured into Europe to finish eighth – from yet another final table appearance – in the €2,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Deauville in France for $18,281 on February 3.
Jason Koon Way Back in Second Place
That’s more than $1.2 million earned from just five events, so resulting in Duhamel topping the PoY table on 465.56 points – way ahead of second-placed American Jason Koon, who sits on 284.24.
Incredibly, only Duhamel has made it above 300 points, although Las Vegas-based Koon also enjoyed a profitable PCA last month by following up his 15th place in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Max event – won by the Canadian – for $12,260 with a fourth in the $25,000 buy-in High Roller for $271,950.
Koon also closed out January with 27th in the Aussie Millions AUD$10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event in Melbourne for $36,032 to stay ahead of a chasing pack that is covered by just over 42 points down to fifth place on the PoY.
Koon is followed by third-placed Dutchman Ruben Visser (258.04 points), Canadian Samuel Chartier (244.05) and American Faraz Jaka (242.18) – who was the World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year for Season Eight, 2009-2010 – while the top 10 is completed by Australian duo Oliver Speidel (sixth on 238.23) and Daniel Chevalier (seventh on 228.36), American Corey Burbick (eighth on 228.03), Italian Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano (ninth on 227.52) and yet another Canadian in former Full Tilt Poker Pro Erik Cajelais (10th on 212.19).
Ruben Visser Enjoys Good Results
Amsterdam’s Visser picked up valuable points, as well as $156,400, with his eighth place at the PCA’s $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event, before following that with his runner-up spot for $199,903 in the EPT Deauville €10,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament last weekend.
Montreal’s Chartier climbed an incredible 106 places to fourth on the PoY list by finishing in sixth for $30,774 in the Deauville €1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, and also took fourth for $86,274 in the €10,000 tournament in France.
Meanwhile, San Jose’s Jaka recorded top three finishes in Melbourne and the Caribbean, but still fell two spots after the striking performances of Visser – who leapt 26 places – and Chartier.
Jaka took home $755,000 for his third place in the PCA’s main event and followed that up with his runner-up spot in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max tournament in Melbourne for $79,269.
Renowned Pros Closing in on Top 10
The players sitting just outside the PoY top 10 include big-name pros such as Galen Hall (27th on 170.29 points), Randy Lew (24th on 173.51), ex-Full Tilt Poker Pros Jon ‘PearlJammed’ Turner (22nd on 178.14) and Shawn Buchanan (15th on 192.01), and Isaac Haxton (11th on 211.24) – who all managed to record cashes at the PCA.
Incidentally, Russian Leonid Bilokur – the PCA High Roller champion for $1,134,930 – holds the 16th spot, but has dropped down five places on 188.72 points, while his high of sixth place is out of sight for now as he had not recorded any scores since that success on January 12.
There should be lots of movement over the next few weeks, as well, with 10 tournaments qualifying for PoY points during this month.
Certainly, players can expect to zoom up the charts – or be overtaken as points won cannot be reduced over time – with events such as the LA Poker Classic, which runs from the 18th to the 29th, and the WPT Venice Grand Prix $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em main event, which ended on the 10th, taking place this month.
WPT and EPT Events will Influence Rankings
Additionally, the WPT arrived in Hollywood last friday for the Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open, which includes a $3,500 buy-in main event, while the EPT next takes in Copenhagen for the February 20 to 25 stop that includes a DKK37,250 main tournament.
Interestingly, if the PoY had been staged last year, Vegas-based star Erik Seidel – the current GPI 300 number one – would have taken the award, with French Triple Crown winner and Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier in second and Jason Mercier, of Florida, third, New York-based Ukrainian Eugene Katchalov fourth, and New York State’s Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla fifth.
Top 10 on the GPI Player of the Year list
1. Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) – 465.56 (no change)
2. Jason Koon (USA) – 284.24 (no change)
3. Ruben Visser (Netherlands) – 258.04 (up 26 places)
4. Samuel Chartier (Canada) – 244.05 (up 106 places)
5. Faraz Jaka (USA) – 242.18 (down two places)
6. Oliver Speidel (Australia) – 238.23 (down two places)
7. Daniel Chevalier (Australia) – 228.36 (down two places)
8. Corey Burbick (USA) – 228.03 (down two places)
9. Luca Pagano (Italy) – 227.52 (up 75 places)
10. Erik Cajelais (Canada) – 212.19 (up 13 places)