For three years now, CardPlayer Magazine has recognized the best player for the calendar year by awarding its Player of The Year Award. Last year's award, won by Daniel Negreanu in stirring fashion, also came with it an added benefit; a $10,000 buy-in to a tournament in the next calendar year. While Daniel may not need it (after all, he won over four million dollars in tournaments last year), the award is well deserved and a worthy accolade for being the Player of The Year.
Recently, CardPlayer Magazine came out with its criteria for the 2005 Player of The Year tabulation of points. The usual tournaments are there, the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour events and others, but one rule caught my attention. All the tournaments are located in the United States, with three exceptions: the World Poker Tour event held at the Aviation Club de France in Paris, the UltimateBet Aruba Classic and the PartyPoker Millions held on the high seas of the Caribbean.
The glaring omissions are obvious. The newly founded Professional Poker Tour does not count as a points qualifying event because it is a freeroll, even though the prize pool more than covers the minimum of $200,000 that it takes to be counted. The other omission, and the one that bothers me the most, is the ignoring of the major professional tournaments of Europe, Australia and other countries.
A one night event, such as the weekly tournament held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, can meet the requirement as a points event if it takes in more than $200,000, but the recently completed Australian Millions, attended by some of the best players in the world, does not. A middle level ($500-$1000) buy-in preliminary event at any of the tournaments in America can be counted, but the Monaco Millions, with it's A-List player field, is excluded because it is outside of North America.
While I am tremendously proud of my country and its greatest players, I also am able to recognize that there are great players from outside of North America. I am sure that my fellow PokerNews colleagues could come up with a list of, at the minimum, twelve European or other tournaments outside of the United States that meet the criteria that CardPlayer Magazine sets as being eligible for earning Player of The Year points. It would be a fairer assessment of the talent that is out there and would not put the additional travel burden on the foreign player of having to come to America to be able to have a chance at the Player of The Year award.
With No-Limit Texas Holdem, along with Pot Limit and Omaha (the primary skills of the foreign players) becoming the game of choice for most tournaments around the world, why should the great players from outside of the United States be shut out of competing for CardPlayer Magazine's prestigious award? CardPlayer Magazine should rectify this situation, especially to take into account some of the largest tournaments OUTSIDE of the United States and the worldwide expansion of the game of poker. Or maybe it is time for another organization, such as PokerNews, to attempt to recognize ALL of the talent of the poker world with its own Player of The Year award with criteria and statistics from the entirety of the poker community?