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The Global Poker Index is the standard used to rank live tournament pros around the world. With this system, poker players can be tracked based on individual performance, performance against fellow countrymen and even gender. It is the best system presently in place for finding out which player is the top dog in the tournament poker world.

We recently received a question from a reader asking why the GPI matters. Their argument is that we should be looking more at other factors such as tournament victories, number of bracelets won and how much a player has earned in their career.

While we understand the logic of this argument, the reader missed the purpose of the GPI. Today we take a quick look at why GPI rankings matter.

All-Time Money List is Skewed

There was a time where if you wanted a solid gauge of who the all-time greats were in poker, you could just look at the top 10 or the top 20 of the Poker All-Time Money List. Now if you look at the top 20 players on that list, you will see good players but there are quite a few that don’t quite qualify as an “all-time great.”

Antonio Esfandiari and Dan Colman are two examples of good players but they haven’t quite achieved “all-time great” status. Why are they so high on the money list? The Big One for One Drop. Antonio won $18.34 of his $27 million in the One Drop and Dan Colman won $15.3 in the second version of the event.

Related: Big One for One Drop about Charity; Not Big Payday for Pros

High roller events in general have skewed the overall dynamic and the players atop the money list are not necessarily all legends of the game. Is Fedor Holz the 9th greatest player of all-time? Hardly. Is Jamie Gold the 21st greatest player ever? You can quit laughing now.

Bracelets Are Great But Pros Have Plenty of Chances

Another benchmark that is used to judge greatness is whether the pro has won a number of WSOP bracelets. Now we won’t argue whether players like Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson and others high on the bracelet count list are great.

However, how about those with just one, two or three bracelets. Over the years, the number of bracelets awarded in a given year has skyrocketed. For example, there will be 70 bracelets awarded this year by the time you count the WSOP Circuit Global Championship and the Main Event. That number could have gone over 80 had the WSOP Asia Pacific run this year.

Related: 2016 WSOP Main Event Sets Stellar Final Table

While it isn’t “easy” to win a bracelet, pros nowadays have many more chances to win bracelets than they did pre-Boom. When discussing great players based on bracelets, you really have to start looking at those that have won more than 3 to get a better idea.

A Couple of Tournament Wins Doesn’t Make a Player Great

Anyone that follows poker with any seriousness can think of numerous players that have been able to put together and amazing run, or even a couple of amazing runs and then they fall off the face of the poker planet.

Poker has plenty “flash in the pan” champions with Jamie Gold and Chris Moneymaker near the top of the list. They had legendary single performances but there’s no way that either could be considered in the same league as any of poker’s all-time greats.

One of the WSOP’s slogans from the past was “Anyone Can Win,” and that is indicative of tournament poker. Anyone can go on a blessed run and take down a poker tournament. That doesn’t mean they are a great player, and sometimes that doesn’t even mean they are a good player. It only means they were able to win one tournament.

GPI Isn’t Meant to Measure All-Time Greatness But Rather Who is Great Right Now

The purpose of the Global Poker Index isn’t to determine which players are the greatest but rather to rank the performance of active live tournament pros.

In order to move up the GPI 300, you need to perform well and continue performing at a high level. Yes, you can shoot up the rankings with a few fortunate runs but you will slide back down the rankings unless you show some consistency.

Compare the GPI to rankings in sports like tennis or golf. Is Tiger Woods one of the greatest golfers in PGA Tour history? Sure he is. Is he one of the top golfers in the world right now? Absolutely not. One actually wonders if Tiger will ever regain his top form but that still doesn’t take away from his past accomplishments.

The GPI gives us a snapshot of the live tournament poker world and who the best players are at this particular point in history. If you follow the rankings on a regular basis, you can see who is running well this year and which players are keeping up the consistency for an extended period.

The great players in poker will consistently rise to the top and put up solid numbers over the long-term. Many will have lean periods but they bounce back and show why they are great.

The GPI gives us an idea who is playing well or running hot over the last couple of years. It helps us notice rising stars and spot players that are having great runs that might otherwise fly under the media radar.

Stats and accolades will take care of themselves for the all-time great pros. In the meantime, the GPI will help us keep track of everything else.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.