After the list of the nominees for the European Poker Awards (EPA) became public, a big part of the poker crowd could not help not to notice that this year's edition of the EPA is not going to include any online poker-related award.
Built around 13 categories that include Player of the Year, Female Player of the Year, and Tournament Performance of the Year, this year's edition of the EPA is not going to celebrate the performance of online poker players as the organization of the event decided to take the Best Online Player category off the awards' list.
Part of the EPA since 2009 — when it was introduced as the Internet Player of the Year award — over the years the only category dedicated to online poker has awarded some of the top names in the game as Patrik Antonius (2009), Andreas Torbergsen (2010), Ilari Sahamies (2011), Jens Kyllonen (2012), and Toby Lewis (2013).
As soon as he discovered that the Global Poker Index (GPI) decided to cancel the award he won back in 2010, Norway's high-stakes poker pro Torbergsen chose to take his disappointment to Twitter, where he explained that, in his opinion, the GPI deliberately "ignored a huge part of the [poker] industry."
To bring the issue to the public eye, Torbergsen also launched an online poll — available here — to ask people whether the European Poker Awards should continue to give out awards to online play and players as well. In Torbergsen's opinion, a fair choice to make sure that the awards could reward everyone in the poker industry would be to create two additional award categories and celebrate the best online multi-table tournament and the best online cash game players.
As expected, the vast majority of the participants to Torbergsen's poll supported the opinion of the player, with a mere eight percent of the respondents thinking that the EPA should be a live-poker-only event. Yet, the CEO of the GPI Alex Dreyfus jumped in the conversation to explain that online awards were eliminated because of the complexity to get appropriate statistics about online poker performances.
According to Dreyfus, if on one hand "it is difficult to have a global vision of nicknames," the accuracy of online awards is endangered by the segregation of the online player pool and the existence of national segregated sub-pools like the ones that followed the creation of the dot-fr, dot-es, and dot-it legalized poker markets.
Similarly to Torbergsen, however, Dreyfus seems to believe that the exclusion of the online poker world from the EPA may risk to cut out from the event a too big chunk of the poker community and endanger the popularity of the awards, and that's why he committed to the re-inclusion of at least one online poker-related category in the next edition of the EPA.