The Global Poker Index’s 3rd Global Poker Awards is gearing up to welcome members of the poker industry to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas in a celebration of the achievements of the poker community in 2021. Some of the biggest names in the game will sit with industry insiders as 26 awards are handed out in a variety of categories spanning the breadth of poker achievements on and off the felt.
Some of the awards are already determined, specifically the GPI’s three Player of the Year awards. Ali Imsirovic earned the title of overall 2021 Player of the Year while Nadya Magnus won the distinction of 2021 Female Player of the Year. A new addition to the GPI’s leaderboard competition is the 2021 Mid-Major Player of the Year and David Mzareulov will be the first-ever player to take that down.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s name will be called for any given category. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do – take a guess and predict who will take home some of the night’s more notable awards.
Best Final Table Performance:
- Koray Aldemir – WSOP Main Event
- Jeremy Ausmus – WSOP PLO High Roller
- Daniel Cates – WSOP $50K Poker Player’s Championship
- Adam Friedman – WSOP $10K Dealer’s Choice 6-Max
The real winner of this category is the World Series of Poker itself which held all of the action up for an award. Daniel Cates put on an amazing performance with an incredible comeback in one of the most prestigious events of the year. But Cates’ notorious non-elimination when he was on the verge of hitting the rail was in the face of a much-debated fold by Ryan Leng, which separates it from the rest of the pack. Koray Aldemir’s control of the WSOP Main Event final table was a marvel to behold and his call on the final hand against George Holmes was one of the most memorable finishes to a WSOP Main Event in some years. However, Friedman’s three-peat in the $10K Dealer’s Choice is historic on a different level. He bested a red-hot Phil Hellmuth at the final table one of the series toughest events with nearly every game on the table and completed a back-to-back-to-back defense of a bracelet to take down his fourth career WSOP event. Cates may end up winning, based on pure star power but it’s unlikely that anyone is going to win a WSOP event three times in a row anytime soon (if ever again), and therefore Friedman should be recognized here.
GPI Breakout Player of the Year
- Chris Brewer
- Kyna England
- Johan Guilbert
- Vanessa Kade
This is as tough a category as there is with all four players deserving recognition for making headlines in 2021. Vanessa Kade certainly made an impact, a high-profile feud with Dan Bilzerian seemingly powered her to win the biggest PokerStars Sunday Million in history for $1.5 million and she immediately made her presence known on the high roller scene after securing an ambassador deal with America’s Card Room (which she left this week.) France’s Yohan Guilbert also had an incredible 2021, with a barrage of six-figure scores, including a runner-up finish in the WSOP Europe Main Event for $892K. In addition, Guilbert is a noted streamer with a solid social media presence helping him acquire a legion of fans. Chris Brewer seemed to come out of nowhere to smash the high-roller scene, proving to be an aggressive and fearless player in both high-stakes tournaments and livestreamed cash games. Any of the three would be excellent choices, but we’re guessing the story of Kyna England is going to win out. England, who had sparse live results prior to 2021, truly broke out last year. She was on a consistent grind with scores that included a third-place finish at WPT Venetian for a career-high score of $448,755 and a victory in the $1,110 MSPT Minnesota Winter Poker Classic for more than $186,000 which helped her secure the title of MSPT Player of the Year. She didn’t play as high as the other three players in this category, but we’re thinking the fact that England didn’t play high rollers will help her here.
Players Choice For Toughest Opponent
- Michael Addamo
- Stephen Chidwick
- Ali Imsirovic
- David Peters
Honestly, all of these guys are among the best in the world. Stephen Chidwick won at the last awards, Ali Imsirovic is the 2021 GPI Player of the Year, and known crusher David Peters is ranked #4 on the All-Time Money List. But, really it’s a no-brainer that 2021 belonged to Michael Addamo. He was practically unbeatable whenever he was on the felt. His historic high-roller heater is the stuff of legend and should Addamo not win this award, something in the voting went really, really wrong.
- Will Jaffe
- Jamie Kerstetter
- Kitty Kuo
- Kevin Mathers
This is such a strange – almost random – category, but #pokertwitter is indeed a thing and this category tries to capture who in the poker world had…the best Twitter account in 2021? Well, all four of these people have different styles of trying to entertain on social media, and far be it from us to try and determine who delivers what it is you are looking for on the most consistent basis. But when it comes to pure poker knowledge and information, Kevin Mathers has been doing it for more than a decade without fail, so while we’re happy to be entertained by Will Jaffe, Jamie Kerstetter, and Kitty Kuo…when you need to know a table draw as soon as it’s available or when the WSOP schedule will drop, Mathers is the guy, making him one of the most valuable accounts to follow in poker. That said, the joy of Kuo’s account will probably win out.
- Kevin Martin
- Benjamin Spragg
- Jonathan Van Fleet
- Lex Veldhuis
Another field of nominees where no matter who wins, it’s a good pick. Lex Veldhuis is still the current king of Twitch Poker and Benjamin Spragg, a fellow PokerStars ambassador, is no longer the new kid on the block but a seasoned streamer with an avid audience. Well-known PocketFiver Jonathan Van Fleet really took off in 2021, but we feel like it will be GGPoker Squad member Kevin Martin who takes home the trophy after dedicating more time to his stream over the past year and stepping into his new role as the host of GGPoker’s Super MILLION$ broadcast.
- Jaman Burton
- Ryan Depaulo
- Brad Owen
- Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau
This category mirrors Best Streamer in that whoever walks with the trophy, it will feel like the right choice. Brad Owen appears to be the clear favorite with his vlog becoming the most popular in the space, enjoyed by hand-breakdown maximalists who enjoy a dry wit. Ethan Yau’s popular vlog is modeled on the Andrew Neeme/Brad Owen blueprint, delivering hand histories, higher stakes, and an engaging host. But we think this year it’s going to come down to Ryan Depaulo’s “Degenerate Gambler” vlog and Jaman Burton’s “The Drawing Dead.” Both have a unique style: Depaulo’s is filled with humor, honesty, and, sometimes, pure guts while Burton’s merges hand histories with creative animated storytelling. It’s a tough call, but if voters have been paying attention it feels like will be Burton’s year to get his due.
- Seminole Hard Rock Rock ’N’ Roll Open Event
- WSOP Main Event
- Wynn Mystery Bounty
- Wynn Millions
It’s difficult not to say that the WSOP Main Event is the best poker tournament on the calendar each and every year. However this year the Wynn challenged that notion by putting up their own all-new, incredibly successful $10K tournament with a massive $10 million guarantee. The result of the Wynn Millions was not only Andrew Moreno taking it down after a three-way chop for $1.46 million but also enough buzz that may be enough to dethrone the WSOP Main Event for this year’s award. But the outright winner of this category should be a different tournament at the Wynn – the Wynn Mystery Bounty. The Wynn Mystery Bounty captured the awe of the poker world as players who earned a bounty would slow sweat the reveal of the amount they won. And there were big-time paydays inside some of those bounties, with six-figure windfalls up for grabs. The Wynn Mystery Bounty is likely to be a roadmap for other series that want to increase the excitement on their schedule and so the Wynn should walk with the trophy this year.
- Jamie Kerstetter
- Ali Nejad
- Jeff Platt
- Joe Stapleton
It seems a shame that there has to be a single winner here. With Nick Schulman out of the running for 2021, these four voices elevated some of the best poker content of the year. Ali Nejad and Joe Stapleton are the veteran pair, with both having roots all the way back to the PokerRoad days, and both have only gotten better with time. Jamie Kerstetter really became an essential part of a legendary broadcast team this year, bringing her insights and wit to the WSOP Main Event. However, we feel like, overall, it was the year of Jeff Platt when it came to broadcasting. From sideline reporting at the WSOP to being in the booth at PokerGO to firing up a stream to follow the WSOP.com bracelet events, Platt was in the middle of the action wherever it was and was a consummate pro whenever he was called into action. The award may go to one of the vets as recognition for their career contributions, but if we’re looking at last year alone, Platt – who serves as one of the hosts for the ceremony – should be calling his own name to the podium.
Best Media Content – Written
- Lance Bradley
- Alex O’ Brien
- D’Arcy Maine
- Charles Rabin
We can’t really be objective here: Lance Bradley’s exclusive profile on PokerStars founder Isai Schienberg was published here on PocketFives and therefore, we’re picking this piece. However, all of the nominated stories are solid reads including Alex O’Brien’s “How A 10K Poker Win Changed How I Think” and D’arcy Maine’s “While Battling Brain Cancer, Michael Graydon Lives World Serries of Poker Dream”.
Best Media Content – Photo
- Antonio Abrego
- Hayley Hochstetler
- Enrique Malfavon
- Danny Maxwell
There were plenty of great poker photos, but the one that seemed to capture the excitement that people coming back to the game of poker. Enrique Malfavon’s photo for PokerGO as the bubble burst in the WSOP Main Event is a standout of the year and the one, we think, will earn him the award.
Watch and see who wins on Friday, February 18 live on PokerGO at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.