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5 Reasons Poker's All-Time Money List is Outdated

29 January 2011, By: compncards
Seidel 400x300
Seidel 400x300

Recently, Daniel Negreanu overtook Phil Ivey for the top spot on the all-time money list for poker. Erik Seidel also moved up to 3rd all-time off the strength of three performances this month in high roller events. The most recent being a $2.5 million score from a Super High Roller's Event at the PCA with a $250,000 buy-in.

After Seidel's performances this month, the debate has begun to really heat up as to how relevant the all-time money list really is. Here are a few reasons that many feel that the current list should be changed:

1. Many "non-open events" are included. This includes anything from a Ladies Event at the WSOP to Poker After Dark. If you look up stats for those that won Poker After Dark, you will see that money added to their lifetime totals, although the event is an invite-only event.

2. The list only tracks tournaments where a player won money. If someone cashes in a live poker tournament, they will usually get credit on their lifetime stats. If they bust early, no change occurs to their stats. There are many players who have lost much more than their earnings on the lifetime list, but you will never hear about the losses, just the wins.

3. Events that are $25,000 and higher skew the numbers. The $250,000 Super High Rollers is the supreme example of a high buy-in event skewing numbers. Only 20 players played, but Seidel walked away with more money than every WSOP Main Event champion before 2003. While the high buy-in events are elite fields, many feel, and rightly so, that the numbers are inflated.

4. Several near the top of the list are there due to one big score. Look at the top 25 and five of them, including Jamie Gold at #4 are all recent WSOP Main Event Champions. With the exception of Peter Eastgate, none of these players have done anything of significance outside of their Main Event win. (Duhamel gets a bit of a pass for now since he is the current champ.)

5. Poker sponsorship plays a role in player's ability to play. Simply put, if not for poker sponsorship, there are many pros that would not be able to play in half or more of the events they play in. How many of the sponsored pros will play in a $25,000, $50,000, or larger event if their buy-in wasn't covered? I expect that the number would be significantly smaller. (Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.) In addition, there are no real measures put in place to track this, at least none that have been released to the public for consumption.

The above reasons are the primary reasons why many feel the all-time money list is outdated and needs a reboot. In my next blog, I will go over several changes that have been discussed and give my thoughts on how to change the all-time list to reflect the current status of poker.

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