Table Talk: Ranking Accomplishments in Poker

Businessman celebrating

Let’s raise a glass or two of champagne to toast to poker players. There are awards, Player of the Year races, and records being set all over the place. It seems that there’s always something to celebrate in poker.

What brings this up is the current historic path of Chris Moorman. It was reported last week that the longtime online poker player was closing in on the $10 million lifetime online tournament earnings mark, and he is edging closer as I write this. He may cross that bridge by the time this article is published. It is historic, not only for online poker but the industry as a whole.

Moorman is a player who has not always garnered a lot of attention from the poker media or sites offering sponsorships, maybe because he plays poker for the love of the game, not the recognition. He is a quiet grinder but an incredibly skilled one, and one who has been severely underestimated due to his typically low profile. So he grinds and grinds and is now ready to make history. And the soft-spoken Englishman has taken to creating his own website this week to promote himself and his accomplishments.

His journey to $10 million is rightfully being covered by most poker media outlets because of its historic nature and the rarity of what he has done. It is truly a moment that poker should toast (with champagne purchased by Moorman, of course!).

At the same time, the 10 finalists of the Poker Hall of Fame have been announced. Being inducted into this elite club of poker stars is something that does garner a great deal of attention from fans and media, as only a select few from the entire poker industry are honored each year. And they have all contributed something (or things) significant to the game and the industry.

Other awards in poker are becoming tougher to drum up the excitement they once did. When CardPlayer used to do their Player of the Year award, it was a major honor and something that garnered many accolades for that player. Now, nearly every media outlet has some type of award. Bluff has its Player of the Year race with a different system of rankings. The World Series of Poker calculates a Player of the Year chart within its own circuit of events, as does the World Poker Tour and now the Heartland Poker Tour. And the rise of the Global Poker Index, which also has a Player of the Year among its honors, has put it near or at the top of ranking systems in the game.

My thought is that someone should give it up. There are too many systems, too many POY races, and even award ceremonies in Europe that give out other honors. It’s all quite a bit to keep track of, and I’m not even competing for any of the awards.

Maybe something else should be tracked. What about a “Giver of the Year” award for the poker player who donates the most time/money to charity? Could there be a “Tweeter of the Year” for the best poker tweets? The best answer may be a “POY of the POY” award to rank the rankings systems.

Of course, it makes sense to give credit where it’s due and make the players feel appreciated for their efforts throughout the year/season/tour. Players have more for which to strive, and it may encourage them to play particular tournaments or tours that they would not have in the past. It just seems that the rankings are beginning to overlap.

This brings me back – only momentarily – to the Tournament Directors Association discussions of weeks past. The TDA has worked hard to be the go-to body that establishes rules and regulations for live tournament poker around the world, to develop one comprehensive system that is used by all respected poker rooms and casinos. But with the current whoop-tee-doo about Rule 29, it seems that some tours are beginning to back away from the TDA. The WSOP, for example, has decided that it will use most of the rules but ignore Rule 29. It’s only a matter of time before other tours cave in to the complaints of a few players and set their own rules. The WSOP Association, the WPT Council, the Bluff Rules of Order, the CardPlayer Cooperation….

Poker is still a relatively small industry that should be able to work within itself to create some types of cooperative standards. But the Player of the Year phenomenon has shown how fragmented one aspect of the industry can become.

But that brings me back to Moorman. The feat that he is about to accomplish is unique. His earnings have nothing to do with different ranking systems established by different entities. And Moorman will stand alone at the top of the mountain of online tournament players for some time. Hopefully, he’ll get the recognition he deserves while he’s there.

Cheers to Chris Moorman!