2nd Annual American Poker Awards Honors Best in North American Poker

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In front of a packed ballroom at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards were held on Thursday evening. Created by the chairman of the Global Poker Index, Alexandre Dreyfus, to celebrate the best of North American poker (much like its counterpart in the European Poker Awards), the ceremonies didn’t disappoint anyone as the crème of the poker world in 2015 were honored for their achievements.

Two awards were already determined before the statues were handed out. The GPI Player of the Year, Byron Kaverman, accepted his award for being the best player in North American for 2015 and Kelly Minkin picked up her trophy for being the GPL Female Player of the Year. After that, it was off to the voted awards, of which 11 were up for grabs.

Joe Giron defeated some excellent competition in one of the toughest categories in Media Content of the Year to take home the trophy. Giron’s work as the photojournalist for the World Series of Poker – and in particular his in-the-moment shot of a collapsed Daniel Negreanu upon his knockout from the Championship Event of the WSOP – was able to defeat 2014 AMA winner Brad Willis and his four-part series on the South Carolina underground poker scene, Faraz Jaka’s autobiographical CNN story on his nomadic tournament poker journeys and Jason Somerville’s record-setting Twitch broadcast of his WCOOP final table to capture the top prize.

One of the surprises of the 2015 APAs was in the Tournament Performance of the Year category. Going up against such powerhouse moments as Joe McKeehen’s domination of the WSOP “November Nine,” Mike Gorodinsky’s Poker Players’ Championship win at the WSOP and Jonathan Duhamel’s “Big One for One Drop” victory, Anthony Zinno’s second part of a back-to-back win on the World Poker Tour at the L. A. Poker Classic was thought to be a long shot. That long shot came home, however, as Zinno picked up the statue and the honors for the best tournament performance of 2015.

Another deserving victor was Matt Stout and the Charity Series of Poker. In the Charitable Initiative of the Year category, Stout and the CSOP faced off against other very qualified charitable causes in the Chad Brown Memorial Tournament, Tiger Woods’ Poker Night and the WSOP One Drop High Roller/Little One for One Drop and were able to emerge with the APA trophy. “Thank you so much to the players, casino and sponsors that have gotten behind this thing in a way I could only dream of,” Stout said to his supporters over his Facebook page. “You are quite literally helping me complete my life’s work.”

In addition to these awards, these were the other eight awards that were handed out during the ceremonies on Thursday night:

Event of the Year (Buy-in under $2000) – The Colossus at the WSOP Event of the Year (Buy-in over $2000) – The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Moment of the Year – Daniel Negreanu’s elimination in 11th place, WSOP Championship Event Breakout Performance of the Year – Joshua Beckley Poker Presenter of the Year – Kara Scott Media Person of the Year – Donnie Peters Industry Person of the Year – Matt Savage Poker Innovation of the Year – WSOP, Online Bracelet Event

A select panel also took the time to choose two “lifetime achievement” awards, and the only reason that those words are in parenthesis are because the people that the awards were given to have so much yet to give to the poker community. For his variety of work in the poker world, Kevin ‘Kevmath’ Mathers was the recipient of a 2015 APA. For his longtime efforts as an ambassador for the game of poker, WPT host Mike Sexton also was honored with a 2015 APA. The audience was more than appreciative of these awards and both men were extremely humbled about being honored by their peers.

With that, the 2015 American Poker Awards are in the books. Now we can start looking towards 2016 and wondering what special moments in North American poker may be honored a year from now when the ceremony’s roll around again.

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