The Global Poker Index – one of the pieces of the failed Federated Sports & Gaming experiment – is alive and well, having introduced several new features to its system. One of those features is a ranking of individual nations’ top players which, for Canada, show that the best player in the nation is Mike “Timex” McDonald.
The GPI looks at a three-year timespan of tournament performance, giving out points on a graded scale with most recent success weighted more heavily than older finishes on a three tier system. Using this ranking, the GPI determined that McDonald is the best tournament poker player in Canada and the numbers are hard to ignore. In that three year timespan, “Timex” has earned 29 cashes around the world (ironically enough, one of those was a win in a FS&G Epic Poker League event) to earn 2518.16 points, good enough to capture the top slot on the leaderboard.
McDonald can’t sit back on his success, however. Right behind him in the rankings is Matt Marafioti, who has taken in 27 cashes in the same three year timespan to accrue 2392.89 points. Marafioti’s hold on second is a tenuous one as he has slightly more than a two point lead over Sorel Mizzi (2390.63). After starting the 2012 poker season with a flash, Jonathan Duhamel may have cooled off a bit, but he is still in the Canadian rankings in the fourth place slot (2354.82) and Shawn Buchanan (2347.15) rounds out the Top Five.
The remainder of the Top Ten is within striking distance of these men and it will be interesting to see how the rankings shake down when past performances drop off the board and/or are replaced with more recent success. Samuel Chartier (2224.59), Daniel Negreanu (2046.28), Michael “SirWatts” Watson (1956.51), Erik Cajelais (1831.77) and Gavin Smith (1723.58) are the players who round out the Top Ten. Although Smith is more than 800 points behind the leader, a big win for Gavin (or anyone in the Top Ten, for that matter) could potentially push them past McDonald.
Just off the Top Ten are such notable Canadian pros as Andrew Chen, Daniel Idema, Chris McClung, Timothy Adams and Mike Leah, who are also in the Top 300 on the overall GPI tournament rankings list.
When it comes to 2012 alone, the rankings take on a much different look. In the Canadian GPI Player of the Year race, Duhamel has been able to ride his early season success to sit atop the leaderboard with 668.79 points (the yearly race is broken into two six-month segments, with the best six finishes in each segment earning points). Cajelais, who just missed making his second World Poker Tour final table of 2012 in August in finishing seventh at the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, is challenging Duhamel for the Canadian GPI POY. His 639.54 points would take a big jump – perhaps past Duhamel – with another big score.
Negreanu holds onto the third place slot (607.28 points) over Chartier (583.37), while McDonald doesn’t make a dent on the Canadian GPI POY until fifth place (560.41). Rounding out the Canadian GPI POY are Marafioti (516.16), Mizzi (450.03), Idema (406.00), Buchanan (396.21) and Watson (384.19).
The GPI was created by FS&G in 2011 to be its benchmark for determining its membership for the now-defunct Epic Poker League, ranking the top 300 tournament poker players worldwide. After FS&G went bankrupt, Pinnacle Entertainment purchased the company’s assets and made its first move with those new pieces when it sold the GPI to Zokay Entertainment last month. With their new toy, Zokay Entertainment introduced some new rankings, including the new national rankings process, in an attempt to have a further impact in the poker community.
While the discussion regarding the “best poker player in the world” is, at best, an arbitrary one, the GPI has proven to be a solid rankings system. With the introduction of the new National Rankings system, Zokay Entertainment is definitely looking to maximize its investment on the GPI. As the remainder of 2012 rolls along – and as the three year window moves forward, with results changing for good and bad – it will be interesting to see how the Canadian rankings will play out.