The Global Poker Index’s Eric Danis has begun counting down the top nine poker players of the past decade in what is being called the GPI Player of the Decade Project. The GPI team looks to determine which player was the best on the live tournament circuit during the era of the poker boom, an idea that came about with this past summer being the 10th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker's famed World Series of Poker Main Event victory.
To determine the top nine, the exclusive GPI scoring system was used, minus the aging factor. A maximum of 12 results per year will be used to help determine a player's overall score, making each player viable to earn points from a maximum of 120 events.
Phil Ivey, JC Tran, and Shannon Shorr were the first three players named on the list, and recently three more names — Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, John Juanda, Barry Greenstein, and Michael Mizrachi — were added in sixth through third place, respectively.
No. 6 — Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
The 32-year-old Frenchman, who currently sits 32nd on the GPI, took the No. 6 spot after earning 5,778 points. Grospellier, who has been revealed as the only European to make the list, debuted on the tournament circuit back in 2006 and has amassed $10,771,840 in earnings since.
Grospellier’s poker career started slow, but he broke through in the beginning of 2008 when he took down the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $2 million. Later on that year, he went on to win the World Poker Tour $15,000 Festa Al Lago for $1,411,015, and he followed that up by winning the 2009 PCA $25,000 High Roller for $433,500. Grospellier ended up finishing 2009 with $1,498,563 in winnings and 2010 with $478,250.
In 2011, Grospellier had the second-best year of his career with 16 cashes for $2,150,565 in earnings, which included wins in the European Poker Tour Grand Final €25,000 High Roller for €525,000; EPT Grand Final €10,000 High Roller Turbo for €153,000, and the World Series of Poker $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship for $331,639 and his first gold bracelet — which gave him poker’s equivalent of the Triple Crown.
According to the GPI, Grospellier is one of only five players to hold the No.1 spot on the GPI. He spent 18 weeks at the top back in 2012.
To read Grospellier’s full GPI Player of the Decade Project article, please click here.
No. 5 — John Juanda
John Juanda may not be in the GPI 300 right now (he comes in at No. 320), but he sits in the No. 5 spot on the GPI Player of the Decade Project thanks to 6,261 points from 2004-2013. The 42-year-old Juanda has $15,113,770 in career earnings, of which 82% has come from the past decade.
Juanda is consistent, but it was his career year in 2012 that helped move him up on the list. That year Juanda had nine cashes for $3,162,942, numbers that are made all the more impressive when you consider he didn’t have a single win. Instead, he had a third-place finish in the WPT $100,000 Super High Roller for $526,320; eighth in the EPT9 Barcelona Main Event for $93,500; fifth in the $258,000 Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller for $1,645,752; and runner-up in the WSOP Europe €50,000 Majestic High Roller for $782,789.
Juanda, a five-time WSOP bracelet winner, only had two cashes in GPI qualifying events in 2013 for $133,445 — his lowest of the decade — but that’s due in large part to a new addition to his family. He’s shown a history of earning in the millions every other year, so don’t be surprised if you see him back at a final table or two in 2014.
To read Juanda’s full GPI Player of the Decade Project article, please click here.
No. 4 — Barry Greenstein
Barry Greenstein’s inclusion on the list at No. 4 was somewhat surprising, but upon closer inspection one would discover that 16 of his 17 career wins came between 2004-2013. During that time “The Bear” amassed $6,706,250 in winnings, which accounts for 83% of his career earnings.
The 59-year-old Chicagoan, who currently sits 194th on the GPI, graces the list thanks to his performance in 2004. That is the year he banked $1,987,237 in winnings including a win at the World Poker Tour Fifth Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open for $1,278,370; first in the Bellagio Five-Star World Poker Classic for $215,969; and a gold bracelet win in the 2004 WSOP $5,000 No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw for $296,200.
Greenstein has failed to post another million-dollar year since 2004, but he did manage to win two more bracelets – first in the 2005 WSOP Event #19 $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha for $128,505 and in the 2008 WSOP Event #26 $1,500 Razz for $157,643. He also won a second WPT title by winning the 2006 L.A. Poker Classic Invitational for $100,000.
To read Greenstein's full GPI Player of the Decade Project article, please click here.
No. 3 — Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who is currently 84th on the GPI, has 23 career wins under his belt, and all of them came between the measured 2004-2013. His lifetime earnings of $14,537,352 also came from that period. Mizrachi's made his mark on the game in 2005 and 2006 when he won $2,785,844 and $2,406,971, respectively. That included winning the WPT 2005 L.A. Poker Classic for $1,859,909; the $1,500 Mirage Poker Showdown Heads-Up Challenge for $203,700; second in the WPT 2006 Gold Strike World Poker Open for $566,352; and first in the WPT 2006 Borgata Winter Open for $1,173,373.
Personal issues resulted in "down" years for Mizrachi — and by that we mean yearly winning in the mid-six figures — and then he stormed back into the poker spotlight in 2010 by winning an amazing $4,048,508. That was highlighted by a $1,559,046 win in the 2010 WSOP $50,000 Players Championship, and he followed it up with a fifth-place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event for $2,332,992. It was a career year for Mizrachi, and he kept the ball rolling in 2011 and 2012 winning $843,603 and $2,200,070 respectively.
To read Mizrachi's full GPI Player of the Decade Project article, please click here.
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The GPI plans to release the top two players on Friday, and PokerNews will be providing you with brief summaries of each when that happens.