The third annual GPI American Poker Awards took place last night (Thursday 23rd Feb) at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills, California. So, without further ado, here are all the winners from the night.
Let’s start with the three winners who had already been announced going in to the event. David Peterswas officially named the GPI Player of the Year, after an amazing 2016 somehow saw him overtake the phenom of Fedor Holz in the POY race. At EPT Prague in December, Peters needed to finish third or better in a tournament with an 1,100 field to win this award, and he managed to do just that, finishing third.
Meanwhile, Cate Hallwas named the GPI Female Player of the Year, and gave an impassioned speech about how she felt women and men shouldn’t be separated in poker.
“I’m really genuinely very proud to win this award, but I have to say the concept of Female Player of the Year to me doesn’t make a lot of sense,” she said. “There were 77 men who finished ahead of me [in the GPI POY rankings], so for me to win an award sends the message that I’m not expected to be able to compete with them.”
Jason Mercier was also officially awarded his WSOP Player of the Year award, after an epic summer saw him win two bracelets, finish second in another win, notch up more than $900K in winnings, and get engaged live on air.
Mercier picked up his second award late into the ceremony, winning the trophy for Moment of the Year for the aforementioned hot streak.
PocketFives had its very own award on the night: the PocketFives Legacy Award, to be given to a player who has had great success both online and live. This year’s winner was Cliff Josephy, aka JohnnyBax, the online legend who has since won multiple WSOP bracelets and made the 2016 WSOP November Nine.
The award for Media Content of the Year went to PocketFives’ very own President and Editor-in-Chief Lance Bradley, for his article ‘Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey’. Bradley beat Mike Sexton, Jason Somerville and Matthew Showell.
“Wow. This is really fantastic,” Bradley said when accepting his award. “I got into poker writing 12 years ago because of the players. I saw a group of people with all types of different stories that needed to be told, and I’ve been really fortunate to tell a lot of them throughout my career.”
Bradley was also nominated in the Media Person of the Year category, along with Sarah Herring and David Tuchman, but that honour went to PokerStars and Poker Night in America commentator extraordinaire Joe Stapleton.
“I’m with Cate Hall on this one,” Stapleton said at the mic. “I’d rather have won Person of the Year!”
Joe Ingram picked up the award for Podcast of the Year for his popular ‘Poker Life Podcast’, while Jason Somerville was awarded with the Twitch Streamer of the Year gong.
The award for Breakout Performer of the Year went to US grinder Maurice Hawkins, while Ari Engel won the Tournament Performance of the Year prize for his victory at the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event for $1.6 million.
The Super High Roller Bowl was named the Event of the Year, while the WSOP Circuitwon the award for the Mid-Major Circuit of the Year. The Aria Casino’s Director of Poker Operations Sean McCormack was honoured with the Industry Person of the Year title, and the Hendon Mob Award went to John Holley.
Dan Smith was awarded with the Charitable Initiative of the Year award for his poker charity drive which managed to raise $1.6 million for several charities.
Finally, a standing ovation was given to the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Mori Eskandani. As the producer of many TV poker programs like High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Eskandani has undoubtedly brought countless players to the game of poker, an accomplishment that everyone in attendance recognised.