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After nearly two years away, the Global Poker Awards returned on Friday night, celebrating the people and events who made headlines in the poker industry in 2021. Hosted by Jeff Platt and Drea Renee, the awards show was a little like the game of poker itself - fun, casual, and packed with moments that keep you wanting more. Sure, it was clunky at times but also a very touching show. The broadcast was packed with heartfelt speeches from award recipients and an overall genuine sense of elation among those enjoying the opportunity to get back to celebrating the game in person, 23 months after the last awards ceremony. A number of the awards were announced ahead of the ceremony including those handed out to Ali Imsirovic (GPI Player of the Year), Nadya Magnus (GPI Female Player of the Year), and David Mzareulov (GPI Mid-Major Player of the Year) for their achievements on the felt. Maria Konnikova was honored with the GPI Award of Merit for authoring her book The Biggest Bluff. Veronica Brill was acknowledged with the Charitable Initiative Award this year for spearheading the effort to help fellow player K.L. Cleeton purchase the much-needed special transportation so he could make it to Las Vegas to participate in the World Series of Poker. Kevin Mathers (aka @Kevmath) was rightly recognized with a Service to Poker Award for his varied and non-stop contributions to the game for the better part of a decade. Finally, the GPI looked back on the life of one of poker's ultimate ambassadors, Mike Sexton, and bestowed his legacy with the 2021 Poker ICON award. Adam Friedman took down the trophy for the stacked category of Best Final Table Performance with his historic back-to-back-to-back victories in the World Series of Poker $10,000 Dealer’s Choice. Another too-close-to-call category was the GPI Breakout Player of the Year in which popular French poker pro and content creator Johan Guilbert was recognized. A pair of Fans Choice awards grabbed the spotlight including Doug Polk winning Best Hand of 2021 for his incredible fold to Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Poker. Also, professional poker pro and content creator from Japan, Masato Yokosawa, topped the tough category of favorite Poker Personality. When the top 100 players were asked who the Toughest Opponent in the game was in 2021, they selected Ali Imsirovic, sending him to the podium to accept his second award of the evening. Here’s a look at the rest of the 2021 GPA Recipients: Best Event 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event Best Streamer Benjamin ‘Spraggy’ Spragg Best Vlogger Brad Owen Best Twitter Personality Jaime Kerstetter Best Industry Person Matt Savage Best Tournament Director Paul Campbell - Aria Resort & Casino Best Podcast Poker In The Ears - James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton Best Broadcaster Jeff Platt Best Media Content: Written Lance Bradley - Isai Scheinberg: His Company, His Legacy, and How Black Friday Impacted Both Best Media Content: Video Remko Rinkema/Run It Back for PokerGO Best Media Content: Photo Enrique Malfavon for PokerGO - The WSOP Main Event Bubble Best Live Reporter Christian Zetzsche, PokerNews Fans Choice Best Trophy Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup
The Czech Republic's Josef Gulas Jr. outlasted French high roller Johan Guilbert to win the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event title and €1,276,712 ($1,448,289) first-place prize at King's Casino in Rozvadov on Wednesday Night. Gulas leveraged every bit of his home-court advantage in a rollercoaster of a ride that had the "businessman and car salesman" starting the day as the overwhelming chip leader, slipping down to the short stack, and battling back - multiple times - to eventually take home the biggest payday of his career. "It's an incredible feeling. I am truly thankful and happy," said Gulas after his win. "It was a perfect tournament with a very nice structure in the best casino in Europe. Just incredible!" Although the final table took some time to complete, nearly nine hours and 139 hands, it took just 15 minutes for Thomas Denie's tournament to come to an end in a massive hand that sent him to the rail. Denie found himself all-in pre-flop with [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Qs"], way behind Athanasios Kidas with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kc"] and that stayed the case through the board of [poker card="Td"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="3h"][poker card="6s"] to make his way from the table for a result worth €163,434. Aleksandar Trajkovski was the next man to bust. With the blinds at 125,000/250,000 (250,000 bb ante) Guilbert opened to 500,000 under the gun holding the [poker card="ts"][poker card="7s"] and Trajkovski defended his big blind off the short stack with the [poker card="kh"][poker card="9d"]. Trajkovski hit top pair on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"] flop and checked it over to Guilbert who put in a small bet of just 250,000. Trajkovski then check-shipped his remaining five big blinds and was snapped off by Guilbert, looking to hit a flush or running cards. The turn was the [poker card="7h"], bringing Guilbert more outs. But it was the [poker card="9s"] river that sent Trajkovski to the rail in sixth place for €217,854. With five players left, only Stanislav Koleno was short-stacked and under pressure to make something happen. The Slovenian got his remaining chips into the middle on a flop of [poker card="Jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="3d"] holding [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Td"] but overnight chip leader Josef Gulas made the call with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Kd"]. The [poker card="7d"] turn didn’t help Koleno other than adding a gutshot straight draw, but the [poker card="3h"] river ended those hopes, sending him to the cash desk for a fifth-place finish worth €292,862. With four players left, Guilbert doubled through Gulas Jr. (aces vs. kings) to grab a chip lead of 24 million, ahead of Athanasios Kidas with 17.4 million, Alexander Tkatschew (16.9m), and Gulas (10.3m) who slipped to the short stack. And for the best part of an hour, very little changed other than the stacks behind Guilbert evening up a little. That was not the case for the next hour. Tkatschew had the lead while Guilbert fought back. The home country’s hope in Gulas Jr. battled for his tournament life on more than one occasion. And, after an epic see-sawing of the chips, Greek player Kidas found himself on the outside looking in as the short stack. In the battle of the short stacks, Gulas was the aggressor as he shoved pre-flop for 22 big blinds with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qc"]. Kidas, down to just 13 big blinds, called off his stack with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Js"] and the pair watched as the board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ad"][poker card="3c"][poker card="8h"][poker card="Tc"] sent Kidas out in fourth for a result worth €401,344. Germany's Tkatschew took over the chip lead for a short time until Guilbert was able to lift a big pot off him to reclaim the top of the leaderboard. Then, slowly, Tkatschew's stack began to shrink and for nearly two hours he navigated a stack of under 20 bigs. Eventually, though, Tkatschew could hang on no longer when he ran into Guilbert holding another big hand. With the blinds at 250,000/500,000 (500,000 bb ante) Guilbert put in a raise from the button to 1 million holding the [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"] and Tkatschew defended his big blind with the [poker card="kc"][poker card="td"]. The flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2h"], giving Tkatschew top pair and Guilbert the nut flush draw. Guilbert didn't have to wait long for his flush to come in as the turn came the [poker card="4c"] and now Tkatschew led for 1.3 million. Guilbert just called, leaving Tkatschew with roughly a half-pot bet behind. The river came the [poker card="7s"] and when Tkatschew moved all-in, Guilbert insta-called and showed Tkatschew the winning hand. Tkatschew made his way out of the tournament area, finishing in third place for €558,505. Guilbert had a two-to-one chip lead over Gulas Jr. headed into heads-up play but the momentum quickly shifted to Gulas when the pair got involved in an all-in confrontation with Gulas' [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"] holding against Guilbert's [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"]. After that, both players slowed the pace of play way down as they traded blows back and forth. Guilbert regained the lead when he rivered a flush versus Gulas' turned straight. Then Gulas took it right back when he flopped two pair with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="5s"] against Guilbert's [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"] on the [poker card="as"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5c"] flop. Eventually, Gulas took control and broke out into a large chip lead headed into what would be the final hand of the tournament. On the button, Gulas open-shipped his massive chip lead holding the [poker card="ad"][poker card="8s"] and Guilbert snap-called it off for just over 10 big blinds with his [poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"][poker card="3h"], keeping Guilbert in the lead. The [poker card="7d"] turn changed nothing. But the river was the [poker card="8h"], giving Gulas a pair and ending Guilbert's tournament as the runner-up for €789,031. Gulas Jr. gave a fist pump as he secured the win, the WSOP Europe Main Event bracelet, and the €1,276,712 first-place prize. https://twitter.com/PokerroomKings/status/1468886306239307776?s=20 WSOP Europe Main Event Final Table Results Josef Gulas Jr. - €1,276,712 Johan Guibert - €789,031 Alexander Tkatschew - €558,505 Athanasios Kidas - €401,344 Stanislav Koleno - €292,862 Aleksandar Trajkovski - €217,854 Thomas Denie - €163,434