The shortlists for the Global Poker Index European Poker Awards are out with the likes of Fedor Holz, Charles Carrel, and Dzmitry Urbanovich vying for Breakout Player of the Year.
It’s that time of year again.
Someone, somewhere, is spitting on a set of trophies after a select band of merry men and women (62 to be exact) cast their votes on who they believe were the stars of the European poker community in 2015.
The 15th Global Poker Index (GPI) European Poker Awards (EPA) will take place in the salubrious surroundings of the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival in Monte Carlo. Let’s take a look at the runners and the riders.
Breakout Player of the Year
• Charles Carrel
• Dzmitry Urbanovich
• Fedor Holz
• Rainer Kempe
I think the voting panel got this one right. Under normal circumstances, I would love to lavish praise on the rise to prominence of Charles Carrel, but the two Global Poker League (GPL) stars Fedor Holz, and Dzmitry Urbanovich took success to new heights last year. I would have to play rock, paper, scissors to pick a winner, though.
Event Low Buyin (below €2,000)
• Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona
• Norwegian Championships Norway Cup
• PokerListings Battle of Malta
• WPT500 at Dusk Till Dawn
I don’t know too much about the Estrellas Poker Tour in Barcelona. I played in the WPT500 at Dusk Till Dawn (DTD). It’s a marvellous event. The Pokerlistings Battle of Malta (BOM) attracted over 1,800 entrants. You can’t sniff at that. However, there is something beautiful about the return of the Norwegian Championships to home soil. That’s where my vote would go.
Event High Buyin (€2,000 and more)
• EPT Barcelona Main Event
• EPT Grand Final Main Event
• EPT Prague Main Event
• WSOP Europe Main Event
Ok, we get the point. The European poker community has a soft spot for the EPT. But how can you bet against the greatest tournament in the world?
Industry Person (5 nominees due to a tie)
• Edgar Stuchly
• Hermance Blum
• Luca Vivaldi
• Rob Yong
• Thomas Lamatsch
I am a fan of the underdog, always have been, and always will be. So my vote would either go to Hermance Blum or Rob Yong. It’s difficult for most people to fathom how difficult it was for Hermance to get to the position she has, and to continue doing an excellent job in that position year in year out. And that’s because most of you are are men.
As for Yong, what a star that man is. He is the Robin Hood of poker. A tireless advocate for the working class man who sinks a few pints in the pub while playing cards with money hidden underneath the table. Without people like Yong, there would be no poker.
• Norwegian Championship broadcast (sports style)
• PokerStars Play Along App – Interactive Poker on TV
• PokerStars using superstars (athletes) for global campaign
• WSOP Europe remote Twitch broadcasts
I tried using the PokerStars Play Along App but couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), nor did I watch the Twitch broadcasts. I didn’t look at the coverage of the Norwegian Championships despite telling you earlier how much I fell in love with the concept. I did watch Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo order pizza and play poker in two rather expensive commercials. I think I will give this one a miss.
• `The Future of Poker in the Post-Boom Era`, Sam Grafton blog
• `The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat` Neil Stoddart’s picture captures Montury consoling Messina at EPT Malta
• Devilfish: A Friend with a Heart of Gold by Jesse & Mickey May
• Remko Report, PokerNews Podcast, August 2015 – Eli Elezra talks time in Israeli Army and high stakes with legends
I didn’t listen to the Eli Elezra interview, so I can’t offer a view on that. I enjoyed Grafton’s piece on the future of poker, but maybe it’s the media person in me, but a blog post from a player isn’t media content.
That leaves two contrasting pieces of art for the choosing. The beautifully shot photograph from Stoddart, and the beautifully written article by Jesse May. I can’t split them. But Jesse has enough awards on that rickety bookshelf of his so I would give the award to Stoddart. The photographers are so often the ghosts of the world of poker, and it’s high time we recognised them as the essential parts of the fabric they are.
• Frank Op de Woerd
• Lee Davy
• Neil Stoddart
• Remko Rinkema
My first gig on the live poker circuit was a trial at the EPT London that David Vamplew won. There were two Dutch reporters called Frank and Remko. I remember coming away from London thinking they were the nicest guys in the world.
Here are two guys who could easily have remained as two ‘Dutch reporters’. Instead, they saw a gap and went for it. There were a lot of people going through the motions when I arrived on the scene. There’s not an idle bone in their bodies. They have become the two most respected media representatives on the live tournament circuit. They do the lot. They write. They interview people. They host. They commentate. They take photos.
So unless I get the sympathy vote for being the guy who keeps getting voted on the shortlist but never crosses the finishing line, then I think these two are worthy winners.
• Dzmitry Urbanovich wins 4 x EPT Malta events
• Epic hand between Mateos and Lodden at EPT Grand Final
• John Gale returns from three years off to win 2nd bracelet
• Pierre Neuville qualifies for the WSOP November Nine
I know Pierre Neuville won’t thank me for mentioning that he is an old man, but he is, and for someone of that age to reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event, and to consistently go deep, time after time, I think there is only one worthy winner of this one.
• Adrian Mateos Wins the 2015 EPT Grand Final Main Event
• Barny Boatman wins second career WSOP bracelet
• Fedor Holz Wins WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas
• Mustapha Kanit wins EPT Barcelona 10K High Roller
I am going to go for Adrian Mateos for this award. He consistently does the business in the toughest events on the circuit, and I think he is has the ability to become one of the stars of our game.
A secret panel of judges will decide the nine winners. The awards will be handed out May 3 at the Monte Carlo Bay and Resort during the EPT Grand Final festivities. Fedor Holz will pick up the award for the 2015 GPI European Player of the Year, and Liv Boeree will pick up the award for top female.
Joe Stapleton will be providing the gags.