Global Poker Index Announces Four Finalists for GPA People’s Choice Award

The Global Poker Index has announced the four finalists for the GPA’s inaugural People’s Choice Award, to be prominently included in next weekend’s inaugural Global Poker Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. The four finalists received the most nominating votes from an open-to-the-public nomination process conducted via the GPA’s online home, with the GPI announcing the four finalists via social media:

All four of the finalists are well known in vlogging circles, with vlogging, podcasts, and other online-focused areas of poker a topic that became the focus of controversy after the list of nominees in most of the other award categories were announced a couple of weeks ago. As the GPI quickly acknowledged once the initial finalists were announced, some of the finalists in a couple of the online categories were likely present due to overall name recognition rather than real achievement.

The biggest example in the minds of most was Doug Polk being named as a finalist for 2018 Vlogger of the Year. Polk didn’t actually produce any vlogs during 2018, and he led the cry over his absurd inclusion. That’s technically as much on the 137 or so nominating people who helped produce the list of finalists as it is the GPA or its shortlisting process. (I’m one of the 137, and though I didn’t select Polk from the shortlist, I admit I had to do some quick research on a couple of the categories to make what I thought were reasonable selections. And I would also admit that despite doing some digging, my choices still weren’t likely the most educated in at least a couple of the categories.)

Despite the fact that the GPI announced that changes will indeed be made for next year — and correctly asserted that despite the process problems, the announced finalists will remain as originally named — the online poker community raised the hue and cry. And I get that, as do most reasonable observers.

That’s why it’s also unlikely that anyone will get too, too upset to see that the People’s Choice finalists are all associated with online content, particularly vlogs. If the online community got together to do a little bit of virtual ballot-box stuffing… well, it’s indeed the “People’s Choice” award, and more online players appear to have been motivated to nominate for this award than folks from other slices of the poker world.

I think that’s okay, here. It’s not at all like the situation that occurred back in 2016 when the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHoF) correctly cancelled its open-to-the-public online voting plans after a different form of ballot-box stuffing occurred, one in which just one or two people found a way to circumvent the online voting protocols. That does not appear to be the case this time out.

Awards and ceremonies and such are always an imperfect, learn-as-you-go process. To be sure, there have been some growing pains to be sure with the GPA’s reworking and relaunch, but it’s all a bit of a tempest in a teapot. Enjoy it for what it is, and don’t let your blood pressure go through the roof over what it isn’t.

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