Last year Poker Player ran a column similar to this one on who really was the Player of the Year for 2005. The column showed that several entities close to the game are involved in ranking the performance of tournament players, but that there were surprising inconsistencies once the results were tabulated in determining a unanimous winner.
If you've followed tournament poker over the last few years, you've witnessed what appearing on television can do to enhance a player's popularity. Many established professionals have become celebrities on the basis of their success in televised tournament play, while previously unknown players have stepped into the limelight by winning a major tournament and then following up on their success in others, becoming household names in the process.
It's getting very difficult to find a time slot during the calendar year when a major poker tournament is not being held. In fact, it's getting so difficult; something that three years ago no one would have ever thought possible is starting to occur, and this is overlap. Sheesh. Who would have thunk?
Authoritative proof supplied courtesy of a branch of the Federal Government Remember the 1947 holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street? Kris Kringle claimed that he was Santa Claus, and by doing found himself at a hearing to determine his competency. The district attorney demanded of the judge that Kringle's defense attorney provide "authoritative proof" that Kringle was whom he claimed. With a little help from the post office, the movie reached its denouement when thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus were delivered to Kringle at the courthouse and placed upon the judge's desk.
Several different prominent members of the media and poker community compile Player of the Year rankings, usually based on the players' tournament performances during a particular calendar year. ESPN does in association with Bluff magazine, as do Card Player and TopPair magazines, and the International Poker Federation, or IPF.
Even Phil Hellmuth computes his Poker Champion of the Year rankings that appear in ALL IN magazine, but more on that later. Poker Player is wise enough not to get involved, as doing so can be the basis for some controversy, as you will see below.