GPI Responds to Criticism of Award Nominations

Global Poker AwardsThe Global Poker Index has responded to criticism about how nominations for this year´s Global Poker Awards were selected and says it will do better next year.

Once upon a time, GPI´s award ceremonies meant something. There would be a handful of categories in the States (the American Poker Awards) and a handful more in Europe (the European Poker Awards), celebrating the best of the best in the world of poker. Over the last couple of years the number of categories has expanded significantly; and although the best of the best still get celebrated, their achievements are diluted by awards being given to any Tom, Dick, or Harry in the poker industry.

This year, the Global Poker Index made the decision to “combine” the two award ceremonies into one, and create a Global Poker Awards event. However, looking at the US-centric nominations, what it looks like the GPI really decided to do was scrap the European Poker Awards and rebrand the American version in order to gain some media attention. Unfortunately (for the GPI) the inaugural Global Poker Awards got the media attention the GPI was hoping for, but for all the wrong reasons.

Vloggers that Don´t Vlog, Streamers that Don´t Stream

If the motive of combining the two award ceremonies was to rein in the volume of awards being handed out willy nilly, it hasn´t worked. The leading male and female players of the year will still receive awards to recognize their achievements, but so will journalists, tournament organizers, and industry people (of which there is one European). Then there are the podcasters, vloggers, and streamers – including a vlogger who hasn´t vlogged for over a year, and a streamer that gave up streaming in 2017.

What was once a meaningful event has now turned into a back-slapping booze-up for members of the poker media. In all honesty, it would be better to abandon the pretence this is anything more than a media awards ceremony that has the objective of raising the profile of the GPI and come clean about what the Global Poker Awards stands for. However, before the GPI renames the event the “Thank You for Raising Our Profile Awards Ceremony”, it should actually figure out who qualifies for which award.

What Went Wrong with This Year´s Nominations?

The way in which the nominations are decided upon is that the GPI sends voting papers to a panel consisting of 137 poker players, media representatives and “industry leaders”. The voting papers list the thirteen categories decided by the panel, and each of the panelists suggests two names in each category. The top four suggestions in each category get selected as the official GPI nominees. Clearly what went wrong with this year´s nominations is that the GPI sent voting papers to panelists out of touch with the game.

It would be interesting to see which of the panelists was unaware Doug Polk didn´t produce a vlog last year, or that Jason Somerville didn´t stream any of his online action; but quite possibly the “industry leaders” on the voting panel felt that the Global Poker Awards is a meaningless PR exercise and didn´t give it much thought. Anyway, due to a significant amount of criticism across social media, the GPI has promised to do better next year in an attempt to regain the awards´ credibility.

We won´t know whether or not changes to the nomination process achieve their objectives until next year; and, in my opinion, the only people who will likely care about it are the members of the poker media who attend the awards ceremony and the “Industry leaders” who sponsor the event. The Global Poker Index is a good leaderboard system for classifying the world´s top poker players. It´s a shame its image has been tarnished by incompetence in the pursuit of a better media profile.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett