The British Poker Awards is fast approaching and all this week Lee Davy will be giving us the lowdown on who he believes will walk away with the awards.
In my final analysis of The British Poker Awards I take a look at an award that can lead to a lot of debate between members of the poker community and that’s the award for Poker Personality of the Year.
The debate that generally follows the distribution of this award centers on the interpretation of the word ‘personality’.
When I poke and prod the word I think of charisma, attitude, fun, charm, wit and naughtiness; but I am aware that 20 different people would all have wildly differing views on this.
Although he didn’t use the word ‘personality’ I believe Joe Hachem’s widely circulated opinions on the lack of ambassadorial will in the younger generation of the game was meant to cover a lack of personality, and you have to say that he has a point.
Selecting the next band of characters that have the personality to take the game to the next level is not an easy task.
The UK poker scene is not short of personalities. Unfortunately, most of these personalities prefer to stay in the shadows when the cameras start flashing and the man shouts lights, camera…action.
With that in mind let’s take a look at the nominees in a little bit more depth.
The first person I am going to cut loose from this list is Sam Razavi. I have not had too many dealings with Sam, but each one that I have had has been a joy. He’s a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and will answer any question thrust in his direction with an authenticity that is rare in the game – but he is not in the limelight often enough to be cast in the role of a personality of the year.
Poker needs personalities that can create a global appeal, as it’s important to the success, or failure, of our television coverage, which in turn has a big effect on the future of the game itself.
If I were casting the roles for the future then Sam Grafton would be one of the first names on my list.
He is personality personified.
He looks different, he acts different, he challenges the status quo, he answers every question fired at him with honesty, he is funny, and he can also be controversial whilst remaining respectful.
So if I were choosing the winner for this award then I would choose Grafton, but I’m not, so I won’t. I’m just not sure if Grafton has yet gained the numbers who believe as I believe. Perhaps, he needs more time, and more success, before people see what I see?
So Grafton also falls through the floor on this one.
The difference between the triumvirate of Channing, Boeree and Cody and Sam Grafton is that they have all had more time in the limelight and I think this sort of thing matters when awards ceremonies come knocking. Award winners aren’t always the most deserving and I think this one might be a case in point.
Boeree has started 2014 off in fine fettle, but didn’t have the most inspiring 2013. Unless your name is Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth or Tony G then sponsored pros are usually smart enough to tow the party line and I believe this affects their personality from shining through. What we see is a facade of the person we really want to see and I think this is sometimes true of Boeree.
So is the facade worthy of this award?
I am going to say no.
It’s a readers choice award and I think there are more men than women voting for these awards and therefore Boeree will simply not get enough votes.
That leaves Channing and Cody.
Jake’s problems are similar to that of Boeree in that he has to present the right image for the brand that is paying his wages. Channing doesn’t have that problem because he is a man of experience and knows how the play the media game a lot better that the young pretender.
Channing’s personality is like heroin. You either love it or hate it. His deadpan, one-tone personality has me in stitches, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Cody, by contrast, is a very quiet man who would prefer to steer clear of the limelight and focus on his poker.
Despite that I still think Cody will get some votes.
His very name evokes feelings of victory and success, and coupled with his very photogenic appeal I can see people voting for him.
But Channing will get votes as well.
He is well respected and has a very expansive social media reach and involvement in the game throughout the UK.
So although I believe Sam Grafton deserves to win the award, I think the voters will choose Channing just ahead of Cody.