Daniel Negreanu Named Global Poker Index “Player of the Decade”

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Although there is still seven years left in the decade of the ‘Teens, the Global Poker Index has taken the step to decide who the “Player of the Decade” is. Now we know that this decade is barely three years old, so the GPI is looking at the “New Age” of poker (and let’s use this instead of the “poker boom” – it sounds much more classy!) that began with the advent of the World Poker Tour in 2003, the win by Chris Moneymaker at the World Series of Poker Championship Event that year and other milestone events. When the numbers were finally crunched, Canada’s Daniel Negreanu was judged to be the man atop the “Player of the Decade” rankings.

Calculating the statistics since 2003, Negreanu was atop an impressive list. His 7377 points was enough to get past Erik Seidel (6953) for the top slot on the ladder and Michael Mizrachi gave Seidel a run at the runner up slot with his 6553 points. Barry Greenstein, who has been quiet of late, finished in the fourth slot with 6457 points, while the rest of the Top Nine rounded out with John Juanda (6261 points), Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (5778), Shannon Shorr (5578 and a slight surprise), J. C. Tran (5569) and Phil Ivey (5422).

“I’m very honored by this award,” Negreanu noted as he prepared for the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which starts tomorrow. “I’ve worked hard on my game throughout the decade, so that I could find ways to consistently win year in, year out against tougher and tougher competition each year.”

“I’ve never wanted to rest on my name alone and winning has always been important to me,” Negreanu continued. “The game has changed a lot over the past 10 years, but the key ingredient for success hasn’t: confidence. I enter the next decade more confident than ever before.”

The GPI may be using their tried-and-true formulas on this subject, but there is plenty of room for debate on the issue. Negreanu, who had one of his best years as a pro in 2004 and nearly duplicated that success in 2013, has had a fantastic decade, but the others behind him have had arguably equal or greater success.

Mizrachi is perhaps the greatest argument, with his two WSOP Poker Players’ Championships (among three bracelets) that are considered the toughest game in poker and two World Poker Tour titles. Seidel, who hasn’t won a WSOP bracelet since 2007 or a WPT event since 2008, has been a force in the High Roller poker world, making $6.4 million alone in 2011. The other gentlemen on the list also have their arguments for the top slot.

There has naturally been quite a bit of discussion over Negreanu earning this honor. On the Two Plus Two forums, poster ‘NickMPK’ points out, “This award (was) perfectly timed to include his two monster years (2004 and 2013). Seems almost as absurd as Negreanu NOT winning the GPI POY.” On the 2013 GPI POY, Negreanu was caught in December by Ole Schemion, whose fifth place finish at the European Poker Tour stop in Prague, the Czech Republic, garnered enough points to pass Negreanu; Negreanu won the other two major POY races, Bluff Magazine and CardPlayer Magazine.

“Winning all the donkaments in the world will never compare to ‘Isildur1’ in November 2009,” another Two Plus Two poster, ‘The4thFilm,’ opined. Others pointed out that the list was lacking in that Phil Hellmuth wasn’t mentioned in it despite “The Poker Brat” racking up six bracelet wins since 2003.

On the PocketFives boards, poster ‘tonyddl’ did give Negreanu some credit. “Ridiculous how people berate his play,” he wrote. “However, he has continually (proven) himself year (after) year. I would love to see a two-table six-max sit and go, throwing in ‘Isildur1’ (Viktor Blom), (Tom) Dwan and (Sam) Trickett with the nine men and a $250,000 buy-in.”

It is also worthy of noting that the men on the GPI’s Decade Project list also play some of the highest stakes tournaments in existence today. Negreanu is a fixture in High Roller events, as are Seidel, Grospellier and Ivey, while Mizrachi’s PPC WSOP bracelets are for a $50,000 buy in tournament. How those High Roller events affected the standings isn’t known.

Much like the arguments over Player of the Year races – or even the “best player of all-time” debates – this isn’t one that is going to be resolved at any time soon. But kudos has to be handed to Negreanu for his performance over the last ten years and the attempt by the GPI to quantify how the last ten years of tournament poker have rolled.

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