On Friday night, the first-ever American Poker Awards took place at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. The event, the brainchild of Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus, attracted a who's who of poker stars, from players to industry heavyweights. After a day of conferences and night of festivities, 13 awards were bestowed upon previously announced nominees.
Among those to take home awards were Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, who was named Poker's Best Ambassador; GPI Player of the Year Dan Colman; GPI Female Player of the Year Vanessa Selbst; and Brandon Shack-Harris, who was named Breakout Player of the Year.
Here's a full list of those who received an American Poker Award:
- Poker's Best Ambassador: Daniel Negreanu
- GPI Player of the Year: Dan Colman
- GPI Female Player of the Year: Vanessa Selbst
- Breakout Player of the Year: Brandon Shack-Harris
- Lifetime Achievement Award: World Poker Tour founder Steve Lipscomb
- Industry Person of the Year: WPT President Adam Pliska
- Media Person of the Year: Online Poker Report's Chris Grove
- Tournament Performance of the Year: Mark Newhouse in WSOP Main Event
- Media Content of the Year: Brad Willis for PokerStars Blog's "WSOP 2014: Stages / Never Stop Fighting"
- Event of the Year (buy-in over $2,000): World Series of Poker Main Event
- Event of the Year (buy-in under $2,000): WSOP Monster Stack
- Charitable Initiative of the Year: "All In" for Kids Poker Tournament Presented by CHOP & WPT Foundation
- Innovation of the Year: Twitch for Live Streaming Poker
The American Poker Awards were preceded by the American Poker Conference, which included a series of panel discussions over five seminars including Live Poker in a Digital Era led by Matthew Parvis; The Future of Poker — Live Poker Leaders led by John Caldwell; Live & Online Poker: Two Industries in Harmony led by Nolan Dalla; Online Poker Snapshot: The Current State of Online Poker in the U.S. led by Chris Grove; and Players' Perspective led by Eric Raskin.
"If you're in any way involved in the poker industry, you must experience the American Poker Conference and the American Poker Awards. Amazing job," boasted PokerNews Editor-in-Chief Donnie Peters, who was in attendance.
Likewise, DeepStacks President Chris Torina echoed those sentiments: “Special thanks to Alex and the entire GPI team for putting on a first-class American Poker Conference and Awards event here in LA. This weekend was truly a key initiative in moving our industry forward and taking the necessary steps to grow the sport of poker. Personally, I am appreciative for the opportunity to be part of the first APC discussion panel and extremely happy for the people I call friends and colleagues who received the recognition they very much deserved. Here's to next year."
Indeed, the general consensus was that both the American Poker Conference and American Poker Awards were a huge success, and Dreyfus is already looking forward to next year.
"Honestly, we had a blast and I really hope that it will set a precedent in our 'old game but young industry,'" said Dreyfus. "Next year it will be live streamed, I promise."
Dreyfus and the GPI look to continue their mission to "sportify poker" in Malta later this month with the Global Poker Masters, which will be broadcasted on Twitch, and then onward to the European Poker Awards on March 25.
For those interested in experiencing the American Poker Awards secondhand, check out this video PokerNews put together: