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Inflation Adjusted All Time Money List

Every sport has thrown up largely unanswerable comparisons between legends of different generations. How would Nicklaus do against Woods if they could play together in their prime, with the same technology available? How would Joe Louis or Mohammed Ali fare against Mike Tyson? There will always be split views, but the general consensus lies with the modern day sportsperson having the advantage, taking athletic performance, technical understanding and everything into consideration. This is probably slightly unfair to previous champions, who couldn’t really do much more than beat everyone that was put in front of them at the time.

In the world of poker, money continues to be the method used to keep score. So using an inflation-adjusted money list such as the one now available on the Hendon Mob database seems to make sense. It will allow people to make more meaningful comparisons between great players through the ages. It will inevitably relegate players like Peter Eastgate, Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang who hit it big in a modern day WSOP main event, relative to players such as T.J Cloutier, Stu Ungar and Jack Keller who used to get a very large share of a much smaller cake back in the early days.
There are of course still arguments as to the importance of tracking entries or entry costs before ultimate comparisons can be made. In releasing this information, tournament organisers might end up discouraging recreational players from playing however. This would obviously result in tougher fields and be detrimental to poker players generally. I wonder what the highest ranked player in the all time money list is that is actually a losing player? Should there be a weighting in favour of the modern game, given that big tournament success is much harder to come by than 30 years ago? Would those early inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame have been good enough to make the adjustments necessary to cope with today’s game? Who knows, but the lists placed side by side undoubtedly make for interesting reading.

What’s the biggest discrepancy between the two lists you can find? Inevitably the top of both lists are populated with the Negreanu’s and Hellmuth’s of this world who have cashed for over $10 million. However much inflation reduces that, it is still a lot of money. But scroll through the list a bit and see a few of the names jump around on the two lists. How about someone like the previously mentioned Jack Keller? He jumps from 76th to 34th after taking inflation into account. His winnings almost doubled, but by eye I would have guessed he had more fun with $660k in 1984 for his bracelet win than he would have with a little over $1 million today?

Who has won the most money between Roland de Wolfe and Surinder Sunar? How would that change in the inflation-adjusted list? How about a match bet between Mike Sexton and Tom McEvoy? Which side would you want in an inflation-adjusted match? Choose carefully if you are going to trade it as a spread, it could cost you 60 points.

Maybe the most talked about match up is Ungar and Ivey. Inevitably the inflation-adjusted list places them closer together than the all-time list. The old school view that Ungar was so far above the rim is in part reflective of the average standard of the field. Younger players might ask if Ungar would have a totally balanced game if he were playing today. It is an unfair question because if hardly anyone back then was capable of exploiting the imbalance, it is harsh to criticise Ungar’s play based on the limited amount of video tape and personal recollection that is available. All he could do was consistently beat the fields he was up against.

What list would you like the Hendon Mob to be able to produce and maintain next? If you've any suggestions for improvements or additions to the ranking lists or any other part of The Hendon Mob Database, just email pokerdb@thehendonmob.com.

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