gpi american poker awards trophy

2nd Annual American Poker Awards Winners Celebrated

The 2nd Annual American Poker Awards celebration was held last night at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. The awards, created and presented by the Global Poker Index, were given out shortly after the conclusion of the inaugural Global Poker League draft. A total of 15 awards were handed out; nominees were selected by a panel of more than 80 people from around the poker community, including poker players, media members, and industry executives. The winners were selected the day before the award ceremony by a special jury; the composition of the jury has not been revealed, but it should be soon.

A few awards strayed from the four nominee/winner formula. Byron Kaverman won GPI Player of the Year for ranking at the top of the 2015 GPI POY race and Kelly Minkin was given the GPI Female Player of the Year award.

Mike Sexton received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while media maven Kevin Mathers, who was also nominated for Media Person of the Year, receive the special Jury Award.

Daniel Negreanu after busting out of the 2015 WSOP Main Event Photo credit: Joe Giron/WSOP

Daniel Negreanu after busting out of the 2015 WSOP Main Event
Photo credit: Joe Giron/WSOP

Last year, Daniel Negreanu was anointed Poker’s Best Ambassador and this year, followed it up with another award, but one that had to have been bittersweet for the Poker Hall of Famer. The Moment of the Year went to Negreanu for busting out of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 11th place. It wasn’t THAT Negreanu was eliminated that was the highlight, it was HOW he was eliminated.

Eventual champ Joe McKeehen raised pre-flop to 800,000 chips from the button and Negreanu called in the big blind. The flop was T-K♣-A, prompting Negreanu to check. After McKeehen continued for 700,000 Negreanu moved all-in for 5.825 million chips, only to be insta-called by McKeehen.

Negreanu showed A♠-4 for top pair, while McKeehen had all sorts of flush and straight outs, holding J-3. The 3 on the turn gave McKeehen even more outs, but he had just one more card with which to hit one. The Q on the river completed his straight, eliminating Negreanu and not only dashing his hopes for the WSOP Main Event championship, but dashing the hopes of poker fans who wanted to see one of the most popular players in the history of the game at least make the November Nine.

The aftermath of the river card also led to another awarded handed out last night: Media Content of the Year. WSOP photographer Joe Giron grabbed a shot of Negreanu collapsed on the floor, hands over his face, in agony after he was eliminated. That image of the normally upbeat Negreanu in mental anguish is jarring to poker fans and will live on as one of the most poignant visions in poker history.

Below is the complete list of nominees and winners at the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards:

Tournament Performance of the Year

WINNER: Anthony Zinno, WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Jonathan Duhamel, WSOP One Drop High Roller
Mike Gorodinsky, WSOP Poker Players’ Championship
Joseph McKeehen, WSOP Main Event

Moment of the Year

WINNER: Daniel Negreanu busts 11th in the WSOP Main Event
Anthony Zinno goes back-to-back winning WPT Fallsview, WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Over 22,000 players enter WSOP Colossus for chance at a gold bracelet
Phil Hellmuth wins bracelet #14 – WSOP 10K Razz Championship

Breakout Performance of the Year

WINNER: Joshua Beckley
Asher Conniff
Cate Hall
Kelly Minkin

Event of the Year (Buy-In Up To $2,000)

WINNER: WSOP The Colossus, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
WPT500 at ARIA, Las Vegas
WSOP Millionaire Maker, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
WPTDeepStacks – DSPT Championship, Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Calgary

Event of the Year (Buy-In Over $2,000)

WINNER: WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Hollywood, FL
Super High Roller Bowl, ARIA, Las Vegas
WSOP Main Event, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
WSOP One Drop High Roller, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Industry Person of the Year

WINNER: Matt Savage, TDA Founder, WPT Executive Director
Jack Effel, WSOP Vice President and Tournament Director
William Mason, Seminole Hard Rock Director of Poker
John Pappas, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director

Charitable Initiative of the Year

WINNER: Charity Series of Poker (Matthew Stout)
Chad Brown Memorial Tournament (Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso)
Tiger’s Poker Night (hosted by Tiger Woods, WPT Foundation)
WSOP One Drop High Roller / Little One for One Drop

Media Person of the Year

WINNER: Donnie Peters
Joey Ingram
Kevin Mathers
Jason Somerville

Poker Presenter of the Year

WINNER: Kara Scott
Sarah Herring
Joseph Stapleton
David Tuchman

Poker Innovation or Initiative of the Year

WINNER: WSOP adds online bracelet event (with live final table)
Poker Central launches 24/7 television network
SHRPO (in conjunction with PNIA) livestreams four FT’s in same room/at same time
WSOP introduces ‘The Colossus’

Media Content of the Year

WINNER: Joe Giron shoots photo of Negreanu crumbled on the floor after ME elimination
BUST, an Insider’s Account of Greenville’s Underground Poker Scene (Brad Willis)
Faraz Jaka Homeless Poker Millionaire, CNN Money (Jaka, Gayles, Carson)
Jason Somerville’s record Twitch Broadcast during WCOOP in September 2015

Jury Award

WINNER: Kevin Mathers

Lifetime Achievement Award

WINNER: Mike Sexton

2015 GPI Player of the Year

WINNER: Byron Kaverman

2015 GPI Female Player of the Year

WINNER: Kelly Minkin


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