The first ever American Poker Awards has ended in a glitzy night where poker celebrities and industry titans came together united in celebrating poker.
The awards were created by Alex Dreyfus, owner of the Global Poker Index (GPI), and represent another step in his dream of making poker a spectator sport—to “sportify” poker.
His strategy is to bring industry, players and media together in a collective effort to advance the game—such a collaboration between competitors, customers and suppliers being in the interests of all.
The awards ceremony was preceded by a one day conference which provided a forum for discussion on many of the key topics affecting the poker world—innovation, the state of poker in the US, and the players’ perspective, among others.
Glamour came in the evening with the traditional player uniform of hoodie and sunglasses banished in favor of designer suits and cocktail dresses—according to Dreyfus, dress standards are also a route to greater public acceptance of the game.
PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu picked up the award for Best Ambassador, and made a speech that paid considerable tribute to the people who had taken poker to its current state of development—including Mike Sexton, a formidable force in popularizing poker for PokerStars’ competitor partypoker.
And that really was the theme for the evening—competition yes, but cooperation where it helps everyone, and celebration of achievements that take poker forward rather than just individual parts of the industry.
- GPI Player of the Year: Dan Colman
- Media Person of the Year: Chris Grove
- Industry Person of the Year: Adam Pliska
- Breakout Player of the Year: Brandon Shack-Harris
- Tournament Performance of the Year: Mark Newhouse
- Event of the Year (buy-in over $2,000): WSOP Main Event
- Event of the Year (buy-in under $2,000): WSOP Monster Stack
- Innovation of the Year: Twitch
- Charitable Initiative of the Year: “All In” for Kids Poker Tournament Presented by CHOP & WPT Foundation
- Media Content of the Year: Brad Willis
- GPI Female Player of the Year: Vanessa Selbst
- Lifetime Achievement Award: WPT founder Steve Lipscomb