4th Annual Poker Awards Handed Out
The best of the best of U.S. poker shared tables in Los Angeles Thursday night without taking each other’s money*, as they celebrated the 4th Annual American Poker Awards at the Andaz West Hollywood.
A baker’s dozen of categories had their finalists determined by a limited balloting process. A group of 102 media members, poker players, and industry insiders submitted their nominations, naming no more than two people per category. As I was not one of the media members on the panel, let’s be honest: all of the awards should be taken with a grain of salt. Additionally, I was not one of the finalist for Journalist of the Year, though this is understandable, as, I mean, have you READ my stuff?
The ballot boxes then went to a special jury, which sorted things out and put out a list of finalists. That jury also then selected the winner in each category. We do not know who was actually on the jury – that will be published at a later date.
We actually do know that Eric Danis, the Global Poker Index’s Head of Poker Content, was the lead on the jury, as he mentioned it in his acceptance speech for the Jury Prize. It was an emotional speech, as Danis has been fighting testicular cancer and he broke down during the ceremony. He showed a fantastic sense of humor, though, joking about his testicle already being removed, the fact that he was on the jury that awarded him the prize, and that the doctor saying that cases like his have an 80-85 percent success rate isn’t much of a consolation, as in poker, 15-20 percent odds are quite high.
As you will see in the list of winners that follows, several categories had no finalists. These were awards specially chosen, like the Jury Prize. PocketFives and the GPI chose the winner of the PocketFives Legacy Award and the GPI also picked the Charitable Initiative of the Year. Additionally, the jury selected the Award for Lifetime Achievement Winner, while the public voted for the People’s Choice Award.
Player of the Year and Female Player of the Year were determined by the Global Poker Index rankings for 2017, so everyone knew who the winners of those prizes were from the get-go.
Below are all the winners of the 4th Annual Poker Awards. For the applicable categories, the finalists are listed with the winners shown in italics.
Dejuante “DJ” Alexander
Michael Del Vecchio
William Alex Foxen
Scott Blumstein (WSOP Main Event)
Darren Elias (WPT Fallsview)
Bryn Kenney (PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Super High Roller)
Doug Polk (WSOP One Drop High Roller)
Moment of the Year
70-year-old John Smith makes back-to-back WSOP 10K Heads-Up finals
Ema Zajmovic becomes first female player to win open event on World Poker Tour
Vanessa Selbst’s Full House loses to Gaelle Baumann’s Quads early in the WSOP Main Event
Tom Dwan makes his return to America, stars on Poker After Dark reboot on PokerGo
Event of the Year
Super High Roller Bowl (ARIA Las Vegas)
partypoker MILLIONS North America (Playground Poker Club Montreal)
Poker Masters Event #1 (ARIA Las Vegas)
World Series of Poker Main Event (Rio Las Vegas)
Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT)
RUNGOOD Poker Series
World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC)
Journalist of the Year
Broadcaster of the Year
Adrian Moreno in tears after Little One for One Drop win; days after losing his friend (Drew Amato, photo for WSOP.com)
Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story (PokerCentral documentary)
Poker Brat: The Phill Hellmuth Story (Phil Hellmuth, published by D&B Publishing)
Resilience Defined: Sheddy Siddiqui Raising his Two Boys #ForCathy (Lance Bradley, article for PocketFives)
PokerCentral Podcast (Brent Hanks, Will O’Connor, Remko Rinkema)
PokerNews Podcast (Brent Harrington, Sarah Herring, Matt Parvis)
Poker Life Podcast (Joe Ingram)
TwoPlusTwo Podcast (Terrence Chan, Ross Henry, Adam Schwartz)
Poker’s Biggest Influencer
2017 GPI American Player of the Year: Bryn Kenney
2017 GPI Female Player of the Year: Kristen Bicknell
Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker: Norman Chad, Lon McEachern
Charitable Initiative: Jacob Zalewski, One Step Closer Foundation
Jury Prize: Eric Danis
PocketFives Legacy Award: Ari Engel
People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year: Andrew Neeme
*I cannot guarantee no prop bets were made.