Thursday night at the posh SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, a veritable “who’s who” of the poker world gathered for the second annual American Poker Awards (APA). The brainchild of Global Poker Index founder Alex Dreyfus, the awards honor the best the industry had to offer in 2015.
The second-to-last trophy of the night was the Jury Award, determined by the APA’s jury. With an introduction from PocketFives President and Editor-in-Chief Lance Bradley, the award went to none other than PocketFives Community Manager Kevin Mathers.
Mathers received a standing ovation on his way to the podium from the right side of the room and told the crowd, “This is pretty sweet, I have to say… Thanks to the jury for this award… I have to thank Tatjana Pasalic. If it weren’t for her, maybe, I’m sitting at home and watching this on Twitch or doing something. Thank you very much, everyone.”
“I was disappointed to not win the Media Person of the Year award, but I am glad that it went to Donnie Peters,” Mathers said. “He certainly deserved to win. The fact that the American Poker Awards Jury decided to award me this year’s Jury Award was certainly a pleasant surprise.”
Mathers, who formerly anchored the player relations arm of Bluff, was also up for Media Person of the Year, an award that went to PokerNews Editor-in-Chief Donnie Peters. “Wow,” a genuinely surprised Peters began. “Knowing who I was up against, I definitely did not think I was going to be winning this award… Thank you to everyone I have worked with over the years at PokerNews and iBus [Media], whether that be past or present or in the future. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today.”
Towards the end of the evening, Daniel Negreanu gave out the award for Charitable Initiative of the Year. The nominees in this category were the Chad Brown Memorial Tournament (Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso), Charity Series of Poker (Matt Stout), Tiger’s Poker Night (Tiger Woods, WPT Foundation), and the WSOP One Drop High Roller / Little One for One Drop.
Matt Stout‘s CSOP was the winner, giving CSOP its first APA win. “I started the Charity Series of Poker because I absolutely love playing poker for a living, but didn’t think I gave back enough to the world for me to be satisfied on a deep level personally,” Stout said after the win. He thanked the CSOP’s host casinos for their support.
The World Series of Poker received a considerable amount of love. The WSOP Colossus, which had over 22,000 entrants last year and is returning again in 2016, won for Event of the Year (buy-in up to $2,000).
Josh Beckley, the runner-up in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, won for Breakout Player of the Year. Also WSOP-related, the online bracelet event won for Poker Innovation or Initiative, Joe Giron‘s iconic photo of Daniel Negreanu busting in 11th place from the 2015 Main Event won Poker Content of the Year, and Daniel Negreanu‘s elimination was good enough for Poker Moment of the Year.
To close out the evening, World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton was presented with the APA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which he posted on Twitter that he was not expecting to get. Last year, the same award went to WPT founder Steve Lipscomb.
Here were the winners of the 2016 American Poker Awards:
Media Person of the Year
The Nominees: Joey Ingram, Kevin Mathers, Donnie Peters, Jason Somerville
Winner: Donnie Peters
Industry Person of the Year
The Nominees: Jack Effel, William Mason, John Pappas, Matt Savage
Winner: Matt Savage
Breakout Player of the Year
The Nominees: Josh Beckley, Asher Conniff, Cate Hall, Kelly Minkin
Winner: Josh Beckley
Tournament Performance of the Year
The Nominees: Jonathan Duhamel (WSOP One Drop High Roller), Mike Gorodinsky (WSOP Poker Players’ Championship), Joe McKeehen (WSOP Main Event), Anthony Zinno (WPT LA Poker Classic)
Winner: Anthony Zinno (WPT LA Poker Classic)
Event of the Year (Buy-in up to $2,000)
The Nominees: WSOP Colossus, WPT500 at ARIA, WSOP Millionaire Maker, WPTDeepStacks – DSPT Championship
Winner: WSOP Colossus
Event of the Year (Buy-in over $2,000)
The Nominees: Super High Roller Bowl, WSOP Main Event, WSOP One Drop High Roller, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Winner: WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Poker Innovation or Initiative
The Nominees: Poker Central launches 24/7 television network, SHRPO (in conjunction with PNIA) live-streams four final tables in same room at same time, WSOP adds online bracelet event (with live final table), WSOP introduces Colossus
Winner: WSOP online bracelet event
Charitable Initiative of the Year
The Nominees: Chad Brown Memorial Tournament (Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso), Charity Series of Poker (Matthew Stout), Tiger’s Poker Night (Tiger Woods, WPT Foundation), WSOP One Drop High Roller / Little One for One Drop
Winner: Charity Series of Poker
Poker Presenter of the Year
The Nominees: Sarah Herring, Kara Scott, Joe Stapleton, David Tuchman
Winner: Kara Scott
Poker Moment of the Year
The Nominees: Anthony Zinno goes back-to-back winning WPT Fallsview and WPT LA Poker Classic, Over 22,000 players enter WSOP Colossus, Phil Hellmuth wins bracelet #14, Daniel Negreanu busts in 11th from the WSOP Main Event
Winner: Daniel Negreanu busts 11th in the WSOP Main Event
Poker Content of the Year
The Nominees: BUST, an Insider’s Account of Greenville’s Underground Poker Scene (Brad Willis); Faraz Jaka Homeless Poker Millionaire, CNN Money (Jaka, Gayles, Carson); Jason Somerville’s record Twitch Broadcast during WCOOP in September 2015; Joe Giron shoots photo of Negreanu crumbled on the floor after Main Event elimination
Winner: Joe Giron
Winner: Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Mike Sexton
GPI Female Player of the Year
Winner: Kelly Minkin
GPI Player of the Year
Winner: Byron Kaverman