On Thursday 22nd February, the fourth American Poker Awards will take place at the Andaz West Hollywood in California. Prior to the event, readers have the opportunity to vote for their APA Personality of the Year.
Back in 2014, the public were allowed to vote on one category in the first ever American Poker Awards. The people spoke and selected Daniel Negreanu as “Poker´s Best Ambassador”. The event´s organizers – the Global Poker Index (GPI) – must have felt the public did not have a clue, so scrapped the people´s vote category for the next two years. This year the category has returned – with a caveat.
The public has been invited to vote on the poker personality “judged to have been one of the game´s best ambassadors in 2017”. However, on the GPI voting page, the public is warned the vote is not a popularity vote and, in order to qualify as an “ambassador”, the personality voted for must have worked hard and made a positive impact in the poker world while engaging his or her audience.
The implication is that, if the GPI or its Awards Jury doesn´t like the person voted for, they can disqualify them and replace him or her with the second most popular personality, or the third, or the fourth. At least the eventual winner will be somebody that the public has heard of, rather than some of the “personalities” that occupy the majority of nominations for the event´s other awards.
Welcome to the American Poker Media Awards
This year´s American Poker Awards is dominated by awards for people who work in poker media. There are awards for journalists, broadcasters, podcasters, vloggers, streamers and content. Some of these guys have been around for years and have been successful poker players; but, If you don´t follow much poker news, you would be forgiven for looking at the nominations and thinking “who?”
The same pretty much applies to the “Breakout Player of the Year” Category. The four nominees each seem to have one WPT event victory this year which – while taking nothing away from their achievements – hardly puts them in the same league as previous breakout award winners Brandon Shack-Harris, Josh Beckley and Maurice Hawkins.
Similarly, the nominations for the “Moment of the Year” category barely have the same drama as Daniel Negreanu busting out of the WSOP Main Event (2015) or the magic of Jason Mercier winning two WSOP bracelets and achieving a second place in a third WSOP event within a week (2016). If the GPI can´t find a decent breakout player or “Moment of the Year”, it should scrap these categories.
Nominees You May Have Heard Of
As usual, awards will be handed out to the GPI male player of the year (Bryn Kenney) and female player of the year (Kristen Bicknell), plus there will be a lifetime achievement award voted for by the Awards Jury and a PocketFives-sponsored Legacy Award that should be awarded to somebody the public has heard of. Also, the GPI has created a new category – “Poker´s Biggest Influencer” – the nominees for which includes:
- Matt Savage – Last year´s “Industry Person of the Year” winner has been nominated for the same award this year. His inclusion in this category implies he won´t win “Industry Person” two years running. If he wins this category after encouraging poker player Mike Noori to eat $1,000 worth of McDonalds in 36 hours (66,000 calories), it doesn´t say much for the competition.
- Cary Katz – Katz´s inclusion in this category is for his founding of the “PokerGo” subscription service rather than his performances at the tables (for which he should be nominated for the “Tournament Performance of the Year” next year). It is hard to see the limited-appeal service qualifying as “Poker´s Biggest Influencer”, even at this media-heavy event.
- Daniel Negreanu – Despite cashing for more than $2.8 million last year, Negreanu recently put his hands up and announced that, once buy-ins (and re-entries/re-buys) were taken into account, he actually lost more than $85,000 on the year. He has also campaigned for the end of seating scripts to stop the practice of bum-hunting on PokerStars. He should walk this category.
- Doug Polk – Polk is a multi-category nominee who has also been nominated for “Tournament Performance of the Year” (which he will probably win) and “Video Blogger of the Year” (which he probably won´t). I don´t feel Polk has the same profile as Negreanu to win this award, but maybe the GPI Awards Jury may feel differently on the night.
If you would like to make your voice heard, you can vote for your “APA Poker Personality of the Year” over at the American Poker Awards website.