GPI Celebrates 10 Years of Rankings With Relaunch for 2021, Adds New Mid-Major Race

The Global Poker Index celebrated a decade of rankings last week and has now relaunched the points and 2021 Player of the Year (POY) races.

The loss of live poker in 2020 was not only an issue for casinos and poker tours, but also other aspects of the poker industry. That included the Global Poker Index (GPI) international rankings. 

The rankings were deactivated for the last 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the GPI celebrated a decade of rankings last week and has now relaunched the points and 2021 Player of the Year (POY) races. 

The index is now back in force for the first time in a year. Along with the relaunch, the GPI also kicked off a new “Mid-Major Player of the Year” leaderboard. Organizers unveiled the slogan “10 years of rankings” in conjunction with the new announcements.

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History of the GPI

The GPI, which also owns The Hendon Mobe, officially launched on June 27, 2011, with Jason Mercier as the first player to hold the top spot. Since then, 19 other players earned the top rank including Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, and Vanessa Selbst.

Most recently, Alex Foxen reigned atop the standings as defending back-to-back GPI Player of the Year winner. 

The Global, Female, and National GPI races officially relaunched on June 30, retroactively to Jan. 1. Each qualifying result collected since the start of the year will count toward points and rankings.

Along with Alex Foxen dominating the last two years in the Player of the Year race, Kristen Bicknell has been a force on the female side. The Canadian partypoker pro has won the last three Female Player of the Year titles.

Foxen and Bicknell are quite a poker power couple and recently announced their engagement.

Achieving top spots among the rankings means consistency throughout the year in many tournaments. That was a topic on a recent special episode of The Poker Show podcast announcing the return of the rankings.

“You need to grind, you need to play these tournaments,” GPI President Eric Danis said on the podcast. “We’ve seen for every one of these players, they’ve done it. They’ve gone on tour for a year, two years at a time.”

Adding something new

Along with the GPI relaunch, organizers also announced a new leaderboard. The organization recognized the mid-major circuit at the Global Poker Awards and will now recognize these players as well.

The Mid-Major Player of the Year race includes all eligible open events priced at $2,500 and below with a minimum of 32 entries.

That leaderboard is also retroactive to Jan. 1 and the winner of the new race receives a Global Poker Award.

The new recognition adds some extra competition for players who play lower buy-in events than found among the greater GPI rankings.

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A look at the rankings so far

With the relaunch of the rankings, the battle among poker’s elite is now underway. Considering events since Jan. 1 are now in the mix, how have things shaken out so far?

Joe McKeehen became the GPI’s 20th player to be ranked first in the index’s history. The 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champion has won 22 qualifying live tournaments. McKeehen replaces Foxen in the top spot.

Before McKeehen’s advancement on June 30, Foxen and Stephen Chidwick were the only players ranked No. 1 since April 18, 2018. 

On the female side, Nadya Magnus ended Bicknell’s streak of 144 consecutive weeks as the No. 1-ranked woman. Magnus also kicks off the 2021 POY season as the top player in the female race.

In the overall POY race, 2018 Breakout Player of the Year Ali Imsirovic takes the lead heading into July. Imsirovic also sits atop the PokerGO Tour Leaderboard.

In the new Mid-Major POY race, Jordan Cristos became the first leader last week. He’s since been passed by Jesse Lonis. Here’s a look at all the rankings so far as of July 27.

GPI Overall Rankings

  1. Joseph McKeehen (USA) – 2,200.88
  2. Nick Pupillo (USA) – 2,125.12
  3. Brian Altman (USA) – 2,107.56
  4. Qing Liu (USA) – 2,103.51
  5. Matas Cimbolas (Lithuania) – 2,102.69

2021 Player of the Year

  1. Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) – 2,758.21
  2. Jesse Lonis (USA) – 2,409.35
  3. Qing Liu (USA) – 2,339.32
  4. Alex Foxen (USA) – 2,293.88
  5. Adam Hendrix (USA) – 2,232.61

2021 Female Player of the Year

  1. Nadya Magnus (USA) – 1,974.4
  2. Camille Brown (USA) – 1,115.63
  3. Gloria Jackson (USA) – 1,085.4
  4. Kyna England (USA) – 932.8
  5. Louise Francouer (Canada) – 926.75

2021 Mid-Major Player of the Year

  1. Jesse Lonis (USA) – 2,019.27
  2. Jordan Cristos (USA) – 1,837.17
  3. Joseph Henry (USA) – 1,810.14
  4. Tuan Mai (USA) – 1,790.21
  5. Daniel Sepiol (USA) – 1,702.53