March 6, 2023 Business & Industry
The shiny spectacle that is the Global Poker Index Awards took place this weekend, bringing poker stars to the Aria in Las Vegas to find out just who would take home the squared trophy with the dancing pound sign.
The invited guests sat around poker tables in the PokerGO studio sucking down flutes of champagne and celebrated the year in poker that was 2022 on Friday.
Stephen Song made history by becoming the first player to win two Player of the Year awards in one year. He earned enough points in both the general Player of the Year and Mid-Majors Player of the Year categories in 2022.
Song called poker a life-long passion and said it was great to be a member of a competitive group of people that are able to come together and party.
“In an industry where you are taught to compete against everyone you come across, it’s refreshing to come together as a community and celebrate each other’s achievements,” Song said in his acceptance speech (13:55 mark).
Next up was the Female Player of the Year, Cherish Andrews, who, like Song, locked up the Player of the Year late by having a fantastic few days at the WPT World Championships in December
Andrews gave her parents credit for helping her get to the podium.
“When I told them in August of 2021 that I wanted to pursue tournaments seriously, they were right behind me, rooting me on,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without them, So thank you guys, I love you.”
Andrews also gave credit to her “little rail bird” Brock Wilson, poker coach and professional player with more than $6 million in cashes.
“I wouldn’t be the tournament player that I am today without him. You’ve done so much for me. I love you,” she said during her speech, which begins at the 18:16 mark.
A poker icon honored
The ceremony is loaded with many great moments and speeches — both Dan Cates’ acceptance for the World Series of Poker Player’s Championship win and Matt Berkey’s speech when accepting the win for best Poker Podcast shouldn’t be missed — but a video appearance by Gabe Kaplan may have trumped them all.
Kaplan received GPI’s first Poker Icon award. Kaplan’s poker roots go back to the WSOP in the late 70s, and he’s been around the industry as a competitive player and announcer since then.
He recently retired as the co-host of High Stakes Poker.
“I’d like to thank all my friends, old and new, at the GPI Awards for the Poker Icon Award. I looked up ‘icon’ in the dictionary and it said ‘old person,” he said in a pre-taped clip. It starts around the 1:13:06 mark
The rest of the winners were:
- Comeback Player: Phil Ivey
- Player’s Choice for Toughest Opponent: Stephen Chidwick
- Best Final Table Performance: Dan Cates, WSOP Poker Players Championship
- Best Twitter Personality: Will Jaffe
- Best Media Content, Written: Jennifer Shahade
- Fan’s Choice Best Trophy: WSOP Championship Event Bracelet
- Breakout Player: Angela Jordison
- Fans Choice Poker Personality: Ethan “Rampage” Yau
- Fan’s Choice, Best Trophy: WSOP Main Event bracelet
- Fan’s Choice, Livestream: Hustler Casino Live
- Best Vlogger: Ethan “Rampage” Yau
- Fan’s Choice, Best Hand: Robbie Jade Lew
- Best Mid-Major Tour: RunGood Poker Series
- Best Event: WPT World Championship
- Best Streamer: Kevin Martin
- Best Tournament Director: Ray Pulford, Wynn
- Best Media Content, Photo: Hayley Hochstetler
- Best Industry Person: Jack Effel, WSOP
- Best Media Content, Video: Gregory Liow
- Best Broadcaster: James Hartigan, European Poker Tour
- Rising Star in Content Creation: Caitlin Comeskey
- Best Podcast: Only Friends Podcast
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn’t like. Tips, corrections, complaints and kudos should go to CardsChatBob@gmail.com.
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