The third annual Global Poker Awards took place on Friday, Feb. 18 at PokerGO Studio at the ARIA Resort and Casino, celebrating the achievements of poker players, content creators and media personalities across the industry.
The ceremony, which was hosted by Jeff Platt and Drea Renee, marked the end of a two-year hiatus of the Global Poker Awards after the 2021 ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is good to be back in person,” Platt told the audience. “After 23 months off, we are here to celebrate the very best that this industry has to offer.”
The night kicked off with Almedin “Ali” Imsirovic receiving both the GPI Poker Player of the Year and PokerGO Tour Player of the Year, followed by Veronica Brill getting the Charitable Initiative Award.
More than two dozen awards were handed out throughout the ceremony, ranging from best trophy to best vlogger and best poker personality.
Here’s a look at all of those who took home Global Poker Awards on Friday evening.
AWARDWINNER GPI Poker Player of the YearAlmedin “Ali” Imsirovic PokerGO Tour Player of the YearAlmedin “Ali” Imsirovic GPI Female Poker Player of the YearNadya Magnus GPI Mid-Major Player of the YearDavid Mzareulov Best Tournament DirectorPaul Campbell (ARIA) Charitable Initiative AwardVeronica Brill Best Final Table PerformanceAdam Friedman Twitter PersonalityJamie Kerstetter Best Media Content: PhotoEnrique Malfavon for PokerGO Fans Choice: Best TrophyMike Sexton WPT Champions Cup Services to PokerKevin Mathers Best Live ReporterChristian Zetzsche Best Media Content: WrittenLance Bradley for PocketFives Best VloggerBrad Owen Best EventWorld Series of Poker Main Event GPI Award of MeritMaria Konnikova GPI Breakout PlayerJohan Guilbert Fans Choice: Best HandDoug Polk makes epic fold vs. Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Poker Best PodcastPoker in the Ears (James Hartigan and Joseph Stapleton for PokerStars) Best Industry PersonMatt Savage Players Choice for Toughest OpponentAlmedin “Ali” Imsirovic Best Media Content: VideoRemko Rinkema for PokerGO: Run it Back with Stefanie Ungar Fans Choice: Poker PersonalityMasato Yokosawa Best StreamerBen “Spraggy” Spragg Best BroadcasterJeff Platt
There were a number of repeat winners awarded on Friday, beginning with Imsirovic, who won Breakout Player of the Year at the 2019 Global Poker Awards.
Later, Jamie Kerstetter was awarded Best Twitter Personality for the second year in a row after winning it at the 2020 Global Poker Awards.
Other repeat winners include ARIA’s Paul Campbell, who won Best Tournament Director after winning it in 2019, and Brad Owen, who was awarded Best Vlogger after being named People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year in 2019.
Imsirovic Wins Three Awards
The biggest winner of the ceremony was undoubtedly Imsirovic, who began the evening by being honored GPI Poker Player of the Year and PokerGO Tour Player of the Year.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was possible,” Imsirovic said in his acceptance speech. “It feels surreal. I couldn’t even describe the shock and disbelief my 18-year-old self would have.”
Later in the ceremony, the 27-year-old Bosnian-American pro returned to the podium after winning the Players Choice for Toughest Opponent award, beating out poker heavyweights Michael Addamo, Stephen Chidwick and David Peters.
“I feel like I won this one because Addamo isn’t here, to be honest,” laughed Imsirovic.
In all, Imsirovic took home three awards for his superb poker performance throughout the 2021 year.
An early highlight in the evening was Brill taking home the Charitable Initiative Award for her efforts to raise money to get KL Cleeton a van to take to Las Vegas for the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP).
“There’s literally nobody who deserves it more (than Brill),” Cleeton said in a pre-recorded video in one of the most heartfelt moments of the ceremony.
Later, poker reporter Christian Zetzsche won the award for Best Live Reporter for his work throughout the year, which included live reporting at the 2021 WSOP for PokerNews. PokerNews Executive Editor (US) Chad Holloway was also among the four finalists in the live reporting category.
Enrique Malfavon for PokerGO won Best Media Content: Photo for his shot of the 2021 WSOP Main Event money bubble Hand. Other nominees in the category included PokerNews’ Hayley Hochstetler and Danny Maxwell.
Other highlights included Nadya Magnus winning GPI Female Poker Player of the Year, Adam Friedman winning Best Final Table Performance for WSOP Event #36: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice 6-Max Championship, Japan’s Masato Yokosawa winning Fans Choice: Poker Personality and Ben “Spraggy” Spragg winning Best Streamer.
An In Memoriam segment during the ceremony honored late poker players including Louie Anderson, Layne Flack, Norm Macdonald, Larry Flynt, Susie Zhao, Noel Furlong, Willie Garson, Stephane Godet, Robert Gray, Sam Grizzle, Clyde Hinton, Tommy Hufnagle, Keith Kozar, Ethan May, Joy Miller, Kenny Rogers and Paul Strohm.
Full List of Winners
Here’s a look at all the categories with the winners of each award bolded.
Best Tournament Director
Paul CampbellJustin HammerRay PulfordAndy Tillman
Best Final Table Performance
Will JaffeJamie KerstetterKitty KuoKevin Mathers
Best Media Content: Photo
Antonio Abrego for PokerGO: Adam Friedman defeats Phil Hellmuth for 3rd straight WSOP 10K Dealers Choice title Hayley Hochstetler: The End of an Era Enrique Malfavon for PokerGO: The WSOP Main Event Bubble Bursts Danny Maxwell for PokerNews/WSOP: Brandon Shack-Harris and his umbrella at WSOP
Fans Choice: Best Trophy
Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup MSPT South Dakota State Championship Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast
Best Live Reporter
Mickey DoftTim DuckworthChad HollowayChristian Zetzsche
Best Media Content: Written
Jaman BurtonRyan DepauloBrad OwenEthan “Rampage” Yau
GPI Breakout Player
Chris Brewer Kyna England Johan Guilbert Vanessa Kade
Fans Choice: Best Hand
Daniel “Jungleman” Cates gets Leng to fold in 50K PPC Doug Polk makes epic fold vs. Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes PokerNicholas Rigby pulls monster bluff during late stages of WSOP Main EventQuads over Quads on Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event (Chang Liu vs Ugur Secilmis)
Poker in the Ears (James Hartigan & Joseph Stapleton for PokerStars) The Chip Race Poker Podcast (David Lappin & Dara O’Kearney for Unibet Poker) The Doug Polk Podcast (Doug Polk) The Heart of Poker (Kara Scott)
Best Industry Person
Tony BurnsJack EffelMori EskandaniMatt Savage
Players Choice for Toughest Opponent
Michael AddamoStephen ChidwickAli ImsirovicDavid Peters
Best Media Content: Video
Paul Guyer & Andrew Neeme: The Villain Who Stole Christmas Last Call Pokeridokumentii Jeff Platt for PokerGO: “Stand Up for Me, Please!” Remko Rinkema for PokerGO: Run it Back with Stefanie UngarRun It Once: Meet The Jungleman
Fans Choice: Poker Personality
Johan “YoH ViraL” GuilbertGreg “Greg Goes All In” LiowJonathan Little Masato Yokosawa
Kevin “kevinmartin” Martin Ben “Spraggy” SpraggJonathan “apestylespoker” Van FleetLex “LexVeldhuis” Veldhuis
Jamie KerstetterAli NejadJeff PlattJoe Stapleton
Those who won awards on Friday include Ali Imsirovic, Nadya Magnus, Johan Guilbert and Adam Friedman.