Global Poker Awards Honors Best in 2021 Poker
There aren’t many elegant evenings in poker. There aren’t many events in poker that warrant formalwear. The Global Poker Awards is an exception. And after its absence in 2021 due to the pandemic, this year’s gathering was all the more anticipated.
The Global Poker Awards took place at the PokerGO Studio, which transformed from a high-stakes poker haven into an upscale ballroom. Many nominees, friends and family, and industry luminaries gathered on Friday night, February 18, to honor the best of the best in the poker community.
Jeff Platt was the host, with a humorous monologue to start and comedic timing on point throughout the ceremony. Drea Renee was elegant, as always, and in the crowd to talk with attendees.
The Global Poker Index (GPI) and The Hendon Mob (THM) presented the Global Poker Awards. President Eric Danis gave a formal introduction to the evening’s activities and recognized the people who made it all happen. Meanwhile, more than 600 viewers tuned in to see it live on YouTube via PokerGO. (And only 12 hours after the ceremony ended, the YouTube video already had more than 11K views and counting.)
Players of the Year
There were four categories in which the winners had been declared at the beginning of 2022. The Global Poker Index determined those winners by way of the annual points awarded for live tournament play. To properly honor them, Platt presented each of them with official awards.
|GPI Poker Player of the Year||Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)|
|GPI Female POY||Nadya Magnus (USA)|
|GPI Mid-Major POY||David Mzareulov (Azerbaijan)|
|PokerGO Tour Player of the Year||Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)|
And the Winners Were…
There were 18 categories determined by a mix of voting panels and public voting. And more than 50,000 people voted this year. Winners were not known until they were announced at the ceremony. Those winners were:
|Best Tournament Director||Paul Campbell (USA)|
|Best Final Table Performance||Adam Friedman (USA) WSOP Dealer’s Choice Championship|
|Best Twitter Personality||Jamie Kerstetter (USA)|
|Best Media Content: Photo||Enrique Malfavon (USA) for PokerGO: WSOP ME bubble|
|Fan Choice: Best Trophy||Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup (accepted by Adam Pliska)|
|Best Live Tournament Reporter||Christian Zetszche (Germany)|
|Best Media Content: Written||Lance Bradley (Canada) for PocketFives: Isai Scheinberg|
|Best Vlogger||Brad Owen (USA)|
|Best Event||WSOP Main Event (accepted by Jack Effel)|
|GPI Breakout Player||Johan Guilbert (France)|
|Fan Choice: Best Hand||Doug Polk v Hellmuth: High Stakes Poker|
|Best Podcast||Poker in the Ears (James Hartigan & Joe Stapleton)|
|Players Choice: Toughest Opponent||Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)|
|Best Industry Person||Matt Savage (USA)|
|Best Media Content: Video||Remko Rinkema (Netherlands) for PokerGO: Run It Back|
|People’s Choice: Poker Personality||Masato Yokosawa (Japan)|
|Best Streamer||Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg (England)|
|Best Broadcaster||Jeff Platt (USA)|
Special Recognition Awards
KL Cleeton presented the award for the best charitable initiative of 2021. The reason for that was specifically related to the reason that Veronica Brill won the award. She raised funds to purchase an accessible van for Cleeton, as he had been without one for a couple of years. The van made it possible for Cleeton to get to Las Vegas for the 2021 WSOP.
Via video, KL expressed his gratitude to Brill for her efforts and to GPI/THM for recognizing her with an award. He mentioned that she stood up for poker and tried to expand it in the last couple of years. “Veronica,” he said, “thank you for your bravery. Thank you for friendship. And most of all, thank you for being awesome.”
In her acceptance, Brill thanked the people who helped with the funds and ended with this: “In poker, we have a lot of conflict. Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth are constantly arguing, Doug Polk versus the whole poker community all the time, but when we really need it most, we come together, and we do what’s right, and we help each other. So, this is not an award for me; this is an award for the poker community, and I am going to accept it on their behalf. So, I’d like to thank all of you for your donations, and thank you to KL for being an awesome member of our poker community.”
🌐♣️🏆 We're happy to announce Veronica @Angry_Polak Brill will receive the Charitable Initiative Award this Friday for her tireless work in bringing KL @highhands89 Cleeton to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. #GlobalPokerAwards pic.twitter.com/8zdyoSgKsL
— Global Poker Index (@gpi) February 15, 2022
GPI/THM Head of Partnerships Roland Boothby presented the THM Achievement Award to Kevin Mathers, who is now the Poker Information Manager for GPI/THM. For many years, though, he has been the go-to person for information about everything related to poker. “This is someone who we see as incredibly hard working, incredibly devoted to the game, and above all, incredibly patient.”
A very surprised Mathers accepted the award, saying he was very overcome. “I would just like to thank the poker community,” he said. “It’s because of all of you that I have a job in poker. … Thank you very, very much.”
🌐♣️🏆 After joining our team near the end of last year, @Kevmath will never be eligible again to win a poker award, so it's an honour to take this opportunity and award him for the very last time for everything he does for poker. #GlobalPokerAwards
— Global Poker Index (@gpi) February 19, 2022
The GPI Award of Merit went to Maria Konnikova, poker player and author of The Biggest Bluff. Her Ph.D in psychology, her previous New York Times bestsellers, writings for The New Yorker, and her mainstream appeal brought new people into poker through her latest book. Jeff Platt introduced her and the book, which is another New York Times bestseller. “It’s safe to say that Maria represents this game very, very well.”
Via video, Konnikova accepted the award. “Poker has given me so much over the last few years,” she said. “It’s really an honor to be able to give something back and to be recognized by the people who made it all possible.”
Thank you so much ☺️💕🙏🏻 https://t.co/xiFoRXz0iP
— Maria Konnikova (@mkonnikova) February 19, 2022
Vince Van Patten took to the podium to speak about Mike Sexton, who posthumously received the Poker ICON award. Sexton and Van Patten worked together as World Poker Tour commentators for 15 years and became close friends. “He was a funny, smart, charismatic, endearing, wonderful person that just shared poker,” Van Patten said. “He’s one of the greatest ambassadors of poker of all time. … Bingo, bango, bongo forever.”
Earlier in the evening, WPT President Adam Pliska accepted the award for the best trophy in poker. Since it is the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup, Pliska said a few words about Sexton in that speech as well.
— Global Poker Index (@gpi) February 19, 2022
For the first time, the Global Poker Awards put together a video to recognize those that the poker community recently lost. The video showed the names and faces of 29 people who died in the last two years and whose memories will live on through their contributions to and participation in the game.
To see that part of the ceremony, fast-forward to the 1:38:00 mark.