Daniel Negreanu called Alexander Dreyfus a “visionary” after the inaugural Global Poker Index American Poker Awards and American Poker Conference turned out to be a tremendous success.
Alexander Dreyfus said that poker is an old game but a new industry. It does feel like that. The Frenchman has provided that feel. He has picked the game up by the scruff of the neck, given it a good old-fashioned spit wash, and now it looks shiny and new.
Part of that new look is the American Poker Awards (APA). It looked amazing. The highlight reel put together by PokerNews put a smile on my wife. 14-awards were dished out to the deserved. It was great to see nearly all of them turning up to pick up their award in person. I guess the only surprise was the lack of tears.
Daniel Negreanu called Alex Dreyfus a “visionary.” He is. This was a smart move. If you think awards ceremonies serve no purpose then you are wrong. These awards ceremonies are important for poker. It’s part of the new wave of new wave.
So who won and more importantly how many winners did I predict?
I decided to take my shot at predicted nine awards and I only got two wrong. How did Daniel Colman’s record-breaking year not merit enough votes for him to walk away with the Breakout Player of the Year award? It’s quite simple really. Colman’s media shun – he was one of the few people not to turn up at the APA for example – means he is not gaining any fans. He won’t care one iota. Not today, perhaps tomorrow? Brandon Shack-Harris was the lucky recipient of Colman’s lack of appeal.
The other prediction that I got wrong was my vote for Raising for Effective Giving (REG) to be handed the award for Charity of the Year. That award went to Dan Shak and the team behind the All-In for Kids charity. Congratulations to everyone who puts the time and effort behind that initiative.
The most interesting part of the night was Daniel Negreanu’s acceptance speech for his ambassadorial award. Kid Poker paid tribute to poker’s past when he said that “the footprint that Mike Sexton has left on the poker industry is everlasting.” He also paid tribute to poker’s future when said that Jason Somerville ‘has taken playing online poker and made it fun. He is engaging a whole new spectrum of poker players like nobody else in the world.”
Finally, he had a tongue in cheek word or two about his his dear friend, Phil Ivey, who was also nominated in the Best Ambassador award.
“Raise your hand if you are wondering why on earth he is on this list. I love the guy. Great guy. Best poker player in the world…but come on…seriously?”
To be fair, most hands were raised.
“Good…I’m not alone,” joked Negreanu.
• 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
The American Poker Conference
It was a day of firsts for the Global Poker Index (GPI). Not only was it the first APA ceremony, but it was also the first American Poker Conference. Once again, another huge hat tip towards Alex Dreyfus. The event was held in the exclusive SLS in Beverley Hills, and it was free of charge.
Interesting points of note from the conference were:
• World Poker Tour (WPT) President, Adam Pliska, said that poker is the third most watched sport in the world.
• The WSOP, WPT and EPT are now working together to ensure there are no scheduling conflicts.
• Dan Goldman, former CMO for PokerStars, and now working for a tribe in the San Jose area believes Californians will not see a regulated online poker market until 2020 at the earliest.
• 2014 was the biggest year so far, in the poker tournament world, with over $1 billion in total buy-ins.
• It’s widely believed that the next state to legalize online poker will be Pennsylvania.
• Both Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville do not like the online poker VIP system, and instead prefer systems that reward recreational players.
So that’s a wrap for the APA and American Poker Conference. Now it’s time to do it all again when the European Poker Awards (EPA) and European Poker Conference will be held in Malta 25 May 2015.