Bluff Magazine recently announced their Power 20 of poker and I’ve seen several people comment here and there about who should or should not have been on the list. Before I give my views, here’s the list:

1. PokerStars
2. Full Tilt Poker
3. Mitch Garber
4. Howard Lederer
5. Ty Stewart
6. Doyle Brunson
7. Joe Cada
8. Barney Frank
9. Tony G
10. Daniel Negreanu
11. Phil Ivey
12. John Pappas
13. Mike Sexton
14. Mori Eskandani
15. Brian Balsbaugh
16. Lance Bradley
17. Joe Sebok
18. Barry Shulman
19. Matt Savage
20. Per Hagen

I think if Bluff is going to recognize entities like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker then I’m not really sure on some of the other logic. Is Mitch Garber #3 because he’s Mitch Garber or is he #3 because he is essentially in charge of the WSOP at the moment? If it’s the later then shouldn’t the WSOP be #3 instead of the man?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I used to work for Mitch and he’s a very bright and intelligent guy and very capable of leading the WSOP but my question goes more to whether he would be on the list if he would have taken another job. If he was running another poker room would he be #3? Personally, I don’t think he would be. I don’t find that to be a reflection on Mitch but more on how these rating things tend to skew results towards organizations than individuals even though they honor the individual who is at the top of the organization.

Which makes it equally confusing as to why they left off Ray Bitar (CEO Full Tilt Poker) or Isai Scheinberg (founder PokerStars). If you’re going to name Full Tilt and PokerStars as the top two in your Power 20 then how do the driving forces behind them not even get a mention?

And what about Bluff’s Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley, being on the list? Is Lance Bradley that influential or is Bluff? I’m not taking a stab at Lance as I don’t even know the guy. I’m simply asking why name a person in one instance and an entire company in another?

I’m also not really a fan of picking the current WSOP ME winner as a shoe-in for the list. Joe Cada is probably a really cool guy but this time next year will he make the list after a new WSOP champion has been crowned? If not, what is he doing on the list? Why not just list it as “Current WSOP ME Champion”? Shouldn’t the list reflect lifetime contribution to the industry rather than who’s the flavor of the week? I mean that in no disrespect to Cada but let’s face it, the press is fickle and the spot on the Power 20 goes to the current WSOP ME champion and not to the actual individual human being.

Overall putting together these types of lists is difficult. Mostly because it’s subjective. On top of that Bluff claims “Each year BLUFF Magazine seeks the opinion and input of the poker industry in hopes of putting together a comprehensive list for our readers of the most influential and powerful people in the poker industry” which sounds good on paper but if you ask a group of people who all have a certain view on the industry your list is going to be biased towards that view.

For instance, the list seems to be somewhat over-represented with agents and media people. Considering the billions of dollars made throughout the industry do they really represent that much influence? Or is it that a magazine publisher would need to deal with agents in order to get exclusive interviews so these people seem much more influential than they might be to the industry as a whole.

I really don’t know and I’m not accusing anyone of anything other than being subjective which leaves room for others to question how the list was put together. You can’t really argue with lists like Fortune 500 or Forbes Richest lists because they’re objective. Forbes may love me but that still doesn’t mean I can get a spot on their rich list.

Anyway, enough with that malarky, on with the week(s) that was . . .

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Bill Rini has been working in the online poker industry since 2004. He was a product manager for poker at Full Tilt and was the poker room manager at PartyPoker. Currently, Bill is the Head of Online Poker for WSOP.   Bill has been blogging about online poker since 2003 and is considered one of the leading authorities on the online poker industry.   "I like What Bill Rini said in his blog" - Doyle Brunson   "In other news, we had Bill Rini write an absolutely home run blog." Daniel Negreanu   "Industry insider Bill Rini has one of the most popular blogs in poker, with thousands of subscribers and fans regularly coming back for his universally respected insight into the industry" - Barry Carter (News editor for PokerStrategy, Co-Author: The Mental Game of Poker)

(2) Readers Comments

  1. I love PStars and FullTilt. But yea, how can you list websites and players together and up against one another? Strange eh? ha.

  2. The Bluff list is literally meaningless.

    If they wanted to have a list with meaning, they’d do profiles on the individuals who are involved in running PokerStars and Full Tilt.