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Poker Needs Better Statistics

29 Dec 2007

This has bothered me for a while now, it shouldnít bother me at all, frankly, but it does, so I figured Iíd share my thoughts on the subject.

Iíve looked at various sites and databases that track the all-time money list in poker and I couldnít find one that does it right as far as Iím concerned. To properly track the all-time money list only events that were open to anyone should count. That means no ladies events, no seniors events, no made for TV shows or invitationals of any kind. That includes the following tournaments:

Poker After Dark
Poker Super Stars
National Heads Up Poker Championship
WSOP Tournament of Champions
WPT Invitational events (Battle of Champions, Bad Boys of Poker, etc.)

On the sites I looked at I noticed that I had winnings on my record in every category (aside from the WPT Invitational.) Despite that, I donít think those results should count at all and the fact that they do is really, really, stupid in my opinion.

Currently Jamie Gold sits atop the leader board after his main event win in 2006 with a little over $12 million. However, based on the way these results are calculated he could be unfairly passed on the list by a bogus tournament. Jamie should be the undisputed all-time money winner, but what if there were a ďmade for TV eventĒ where six players were chosen to play a freeze out. The buy in would be $10,000,000 a man, but the prize structure would pay out as following:

1 20,000,000
2 15,000,000
3 10,000,000
4 8,000,000
5 5,000,000
6 2,000,000

So whoever wins this sit ní go would now be the all-time money winner with his $20 million win despite the fact that heíd only net $10 million. There is a lot wrong with that aside from the fact that the winner would net less of a profit than Jamie did. The other problem is that this event was ďinvite onlyĒ meaning that one of the ďchosen sixĒ would now be the all-time money leader in poker history. Thatís just ridiculously stupid and makes the game look bad.

Thatís an unlikely scenario but the all-time money leader rankings are definitely skewed in several places among the top 100 players and even on down the line. Itís unfair that someone like, say, Freddie Bonyadi wouldnít have the opportunity to win as much as Phil Laak simply because Freddie doesnít get invited to these made for TV shows or other invitational that count for the all-time rankings.

All of the things Iím opposed to are actually things that would help my overall statistics in terms of money won. Itís just so stupid, though, and it just annoys me when I look at the rankings from time to time.

I hope one day a site actually comes out with a legitimate all-time money leader list that doesnít include any tournaments that have a barrier for entry (outside of age limit restrictions). Winning invitational and made for TV events are often impressive feats but there is just no way they should count for a legitimate money ranking list. Does ANYONE out there disagree with me? If not, someone get to work and create a REAL all-time money leader list. Obviously no list could be completely accurate as tournaments werenít covered as well in the late 70ís and early 80ís, but all WSOP events should be on record as well as other tournaments dating back to the late 90ís.

Iíve got loads of other pet peeves that Iíll save for another blog, namely WPT versus WSOP in terms of skill required. Many in the public put more weight into WSOP results than WPT results yet WPT tournaments are clearly events that require more skill to win. Itís not even close. The levels are longer, you get more chips, the quality of play is higher, and the buy ins are bigger. There is certainly a specific skill set requited to win faster paced no limit holdíem tournaments, but clearly and undoubtedly playing in deep stack tournaments requires a greater amount of poker skill. (ok, maybe I wonít save it for another blog)

That may come off as bitter since my WPT results are much better than my WSOP results, but thatís not the case at all. Itís simply true. The better overall no holdíem players simply have a better chance for success in WPT events than they do in WSOP events. Strangely, in the top 10 WPT money list only two players on that list actually have a WSOP bracelet to their credit. Guys like J.C. Tran, Michael ďThe GrinderĒ Mizrachi, Tuan Le, Alan Goering, and Nick Schulman are players that are without a bracelet but have each won on the WPT and earned $3 million plus in WPT events.

When you compare the top ten no limit holdíem money list from the WSOP you have only one WPT champion: Joe Hachem. No player is in the top 10 on both lists. Here is a look at the top 10 from both lists and their corresponding ranking in the opposite series (only if they rank in the top 100):

1. Daniel Negreanu (68th on WSOP list)
2. Carlos Mortensen (32nd on WSOP list)
3. Tuan Le
4. Michael Mizrachi
5. Alan Goering
6. Joe Bartoldi Jr.
7. Nick Schulman
8. J.C. Tran
9. Martin de Knijff
10. Eric Hershler

1. Jamie Gold
2. Jerry Yang
3. Joe Hachem (19th on the WPT money list)
4. Paul Wasicka
5.Greg Raymer
6. Allen Cunningham (98th on the WPT money list)
7. Tuan Lam
8. Michael Binger
9. Steve Dannenmann
10. Phil Hellmuth Jr.

As you can see the WSOP list is obviously overrun by WSOP main event winners, more specifically since the poker boom. The WPT list also has four WPT championship winners in the top 10. The WPT also keeps track of another list and when I saw the names on that list I was quite surprised. Checkout the list of WPT point leaders:

(points are based on final 9 player finishes with 1000 points awarded for a win)

1. Daniel Negreanu 5400
2. Gus Hansen 4200
3. Erick Lindgren 3600
4. Phil Ivey 3400
5. Scotty Nguyen 3200
6. John Juanda 3100
6. Michael Mizrachi 3100
8. J.C. Tran 2900
9. Ted Forrest 2600
10. Carlos Mortensen 2500

Recognize any of those names? See any random flukes there? Thatís a pretty solid top ten if you ask me. Whatís even more shocking is the next ten is also a solid group of players:

11. Layne Flack 2400
12. Hoyt Corkins 2300
12. Alan Goering 2300
14. Humberto Brenes 2200
14. Howard Lederer 2200
16. Doyle Brunson 2100
16. Gavin Smith 2100
18. Tuan Le 2000
18. David Pham 2000
20. Antonio Esfandiari 1900

Anyway, time for bed. None of this stuff really means anything, but I enjoy stats, itís always been a hobby. Itís why I even bother playing tournaments at all, itís fun for me to try and improve my standing the same way itís fun for me to try and improve my golf handicap.


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