2020 is pretty much a “lost year” in many aspects of life and sports. Major sports leagues did crown champions, but it just did not seem like those achievements were really earned. Poker had a similar situation, without any of the usual events associated with the game. Thus, it was announced recently that the Global Poker Awards, which were last held in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown, would not be held this year and will return in 2022.
Awards Will Again Honor Greatness in the Game
There will be other changes when the Global Poker Awards return in 2022. Although they have been hosted at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas in 2019 and 2020, there was never a set place to hand out the honors (more on this in a bit). This will change starting in 2022, when the PokerGO Studios will become the host location for the next three editions of the awards program.
“We are honored to be a part of celebrating the accomplishments of the most renowned figures in the poker industry,” Eric Danis, the President of the Global Poker Index/The Hendon Mob organization, stated during the announcement. “After having to cancel this year’s ceremony due to the pandemic, we are so excited to welcome the poker world once again to the Global Poker Awards in March 2022 and for years to come.”
The highlight of the yearly Global Poker Awards has been the crowning of the Poker Player of the Year, as compiled by the Global Poker Index. Additionally, the Female Poker Player of the Year is also recognized. Other awards handed out during the ceremonies are for Best Tournament, the Poker ICON award (a Lifetime Achievement Award, if you will) and the Player’s Choice Award for Best All-Around Poker Player.
“The Global Poker Awards recognize and celebrate the most elite poker players and significant figures making a notable difference in the industry,” Mori Eskandani, the President of PokerGO and a 2018 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame, added during the announcement. “At PokerGO, we aim to give credit to those who make a splash in our sport and holding these awards in the PokerGO Studios for the next three years allows us to do so.”
Long History Behind the Awards
The Global Poker Awards date back to 2019, when the American Poker Awards and the European Poker Awards were combined into a singular entity.
The American Poker Awards originated in 2015 and lasted for four years before its merging with the European version of the event. The four years of the American Poker Awards were highlighted by an extravaganza that was held in Los Angeles, usually around the weekend of the Academy Awards. Originally hosted by Kara Scott and then, in its final year, by Lynn Gilmartin, some of the best players in the game picked up trophies in this short four-year history. Tournament director par excellence Matt Savage picked up three of the statues, with Bryn Kenney, David Peters, Jason Mercier, Byron Kaverman, Kristen Bicknell and Kelly Minkin picking up hardware.
The European Poker Awards had a much richer history than the American Poker Awards. The final time the European Poker Awards were handed out was in 2016, but they had an extensive 15-year history prior to that time. In that final ceremony, Fedor Holz and Liv Boeree were honored as the last European Players of the Year, while Adrian Mateos and the late John Gale were lauded for their achievements on the tables.
Although we will not have a Global Poker Awards in 2021, we will at least have something to look forward to in March 2022 – provided that there are enough events and important moments that go off to merit such accolades, that is!