Confessions of a Poker Writer: Figuring Out Award Nominations

TAGs: Alex Dreyfus, award nominations, British Poker Awards, dan smith, Daniel Negreanu, Global Poker Index, Hendon Mob, Jack McClelland, Lee Davy, Max Silver, pocketfives, Poker Hall of Fame, Poker Writer Confessions, Rob Yong

Lee Davy continues his confessions series with a look at how he deliberates before nominating whom he believes are worthy candidates for the British Poker Awards and the Poker Hall of Fame.

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Figuring Out Award NominationsI have just been talking to a 70-year old trainspotter called Ken. I met him during a community event, and he gravitated towards me because he learned that I worked in the rail industry for 20-years.

“Why on earth would you leave the rail industry to write about poker?”

That’s a new one.

He asked me if I had ever visited the York Railway Museum. I have – several times – but my abiding memory is when English, Welsh and Scottish (EWS) Railway held their version of the Oscars back in 2007.

I was nominated for an award called: ‘Contribution to Cost Control’. My face was in a shiny brochure, the written bio made me sound great, and when I won they showed a short film of customers & colleagues saying how fantastic I was.

It was a great time.

There were two of us shortlisted for the award. I remember thinking that we both really deserved it. The panel knew everything about us. Every penny we had saved, every project we had created, and every job we had cut. Their deep knowledge of who we were, and what we had achieved, made the selection process for the awards so much easier.

Seven years on and I am not being nominated for awards anymore. Instead, I am being asked to nominate other people. I have been asked to join the panel for the British Poker Awards, for the second year running, and I have also been asked to join the select group of media who votes for the Poker Hall of Fame.

Being asked to step up to the plate means a lot to me. I feel a great sense of pride. Suddenly, writing morning, noon, and night means something. People are reading. My opinion seems to matter.

I Will Always Be a Pup

After 19-years on the Railway I was still known as a pup. I had six years to go before I earned my long service award, but to the people within the industry, 25-years was nothing. It seemed that no matter how many years I worked, I was always destined to be a pup.

Theoretically, that makes me an amoeba in the poker industry. I haven’t been around that long, I don’t own the back catalogue of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and the only poker history that sticks in my mind is what I read on the Wiki.

I imagine there are a number of people who don’t feel I am deserving enough to be held in such high regard. I sympathize with you. As proud as I am of my inclusion, I agree with you that perhaps there are better candidates out there. There are people who eat, shit and dream poker. Cut them open and chips scatter all over the floor. I get it. I really do.

The British Poker Awards

The 2014 British Poker Awards have 16 categories, and when I was asked to vote for my likely heroes, I realized instantly that there were a number of categories that I didn’t feel qualified to have an opinion: Best Live Cash Game Player, Best Online Tournament Player, and Best Online Cash Game Player, are a few that immediately come to mind.

Nominating for poker awards is always difficult because everyone knows that winning titles doesn’t necessarily mean that you have played the best poker. When you are a member of the media this is the only yardstick you can go by. The players know who the best players are. Members of the media use PocketFives, The Hendon Mob, and The Global Poker Index to work their shit out.

I voted for Max Silver as the best live tournament player in the UK. I am impressed by the way he turned the worst run of his live tournament career into the best. That shows that he has strength of character. Is he any good at poker? I don’t have a clue, but his results, and consistency caught my eye.

The Best International Player is an easy vote. In fact, it’s that easy there shouldn’t even be a voting system, and perhaps the same should be true for the Best Live Tournament Player, and Best Online Tournament Player.

The Global Poker Index is the ranking system for live tournament poker. If Dan Smith is at the top of that list, then Dan Smith gets my vote. He has proven his consistency over the past 12-months. There is nothing subjective about it. The points system does the work.

I voted for Rob Yong in at least three categories. Whilst I believe Alexandre Dreyfus is at the forefront of everything that is good about poker right now, Rob Yong is doing exactly the same in the UK. He has balls bigger than King Kong, and it’s about time that Yong – not just his club – got the recognition his balls deserve.

Performance of the year was a toss up between the World Series of Poker performances of John Kabbaj and Richard Ashby, and Vicky Coren’s second EPT win. The sentimental vote goes to Vicky – and something tells me she will win it by a landslide – but I thought Ashby’s performance in Vegas was absolutely mustard. Kabbaj also had to put a living nightmare behind him to once again rule the world.

Poker Hall of Fame

This was a lot tougher for me.

How can I vote for Bob Hooks if I don’t know who Bob Hooks is?

My lack of experience made me feel vulnerable when casting my vote.

Initially, I was going to give 100% of my vote to Daniel Negreanu, and I hope I don’t have to waste my word count explaining why. Then I learned that Jack McClelland was extremely unwell and my sentimental side shone through.

Negreanu can have my vote another time. There is no rush. It will happen sooner rather than later. For now I want Jack McClelland’s family to celebrate with him while they can. Too many people are honored after they have left their physical frame. I think this is a shame. Honor them when they are alive. Allow them the opportunity to stand on that stage and let loose the speech that has rattled around that skull for the past 50-years.

So that’s how I compensate for my lack of experience.

I don’t just lick my finger and thrust it into the air.

There is some method behind my madness.

You may not agree with it, but hopefully you will respect it; just as the organizers of these two events have respected me enough to ask for my opinion.


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