A Definitive Guide to the GPI Global Poker Awards – Part One: Players

  • The third GPI Global Poker Awards will be broadcast live on PokerGO on Friday, February 18
  • There are five double-nominees, including Kerstetter, Polk, Stapleton, Guilbert, and Platt
  • David Lappin has made his predictions for the winners of each player achievements category
  • His chosen victors include Friedman for final table performance and Kade for breakout player
Global Poker Awards
In advance of the GPI Global Poker Awards, VSO News writer David Lappin has summarized each category and provided his predictions for the ulimate winners. [Image: Global Poker Index Twitter]

Only five double-nominees

This Friday, the third Global Poker Awards from Global Poker Index and The Hendon Mob will broadcast live on PokerGO from its studio at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The ceremony will be hosted by Jeff Platt and Andrea Renee.

There are five double-nominees this year – Jamie Kerstetter, Doug Polk, Joe Stapleton, Johan ‘YoH ViraL’ Guilbert, and Jeff Platt. I know what you are thinking? Why am I not on that list? And even more scandalously, where is my co-host on The Chip Race, my fellow Unibet ambassador, and the latest VegasSlotsOnline News recruit Dara O’Kearney

VSO News reached out to me for comment on these two shocking oversights:

It’s a f***ing disgrace”

said an incensed Lappin, who insisted that he would not be attending the ceremony in protest. The former GPI Global Poker Award winner continued his rant:

“The poker deep state wouldn’t recognize real talent if it hit them in the face, knocked out their teeth, and fed them to them anally.”

Indeed. 

A smorgasbord of poker talent

From players to content creators, industry figures to icons, the ceremony will showcase a smorgasbord of poker talent. There will be winners and losers. There will be speeches. There might even be another graceless display of bad sportsmanship from Daniel Negreanu should one particular podcast emerge victorious for the second time.

This event is 23 months in the making”

The awards are a labor of love for GPI President Eric Danis who is excited to bring them back after their absence in 2021. Speaking to Gamble Online’s Paul Seaton, he said:

“This event is 23 months in the making… it’s the only night of the year where people look their best, have fun, and enjoy a few drinks together, as an industry. It’s our most proud accomplishment.”

This year’s GPI Global Poker Award nominations can be split into categories that recognize players, content creators, and industry figures, all of whom play a vital role in the health and success of the game. For the next three days, I will take a deep dive into each category, starting with those honoring player achievements. On the way, I will also provide my predictions for the winners.

Best Final Table Performance

  • Koray Aldemir
  • Jeremy Ausmus
  • Daniel Cates
  • Adam Friedman 

All of the nominees in this category came from World Series of Poker (WSOP) events – somewhat surprising when you consider Michael Addamo’s litany of dominating Highroller final table performances.

In any case, the perennial nomination for the Main Event Champion is always a tough person to beat. However, last year, Adam Friedman did something so extraordinary that he must surely be recognized. Aldemir, Ausmus, and Cates are all worthy nominees but Friedman’s sensational back-to-back-to-back in the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice is the stuff of poker legend and simply must take home the gong.

GPI Breakout Player

  • Chris Brewer
  • Kyna England
  • Johan Guilbert
  • Vanessa Kade

In 2021, Chris Brewer cashed for $3m including wins in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Super Highroller and a Poker Masters Event. A similarly successful Johan Guilbert cashed for $2.7m including a runner-up finish in the WSOP Europe Main Event, wins in the Merit Super Highroller, and the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond Highroller.

Having previously cashed for just $21,000, Kyna England came out of nowhere to win the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season 12 Player Of The Year, in large part thanks to a win in the MSPT Minnesota and third-place finishes in MSPT Iowa, and the WPT Venetian. 

It was disappointing not to see Jack Hardcastle in the final list, with the young English pro a revelation in 2021.

From those short-listed though, the standout is Vanessa Kade whose star rose like no other. After a tumultuous February, March proved a life-changing month for Kade. She became an Americas Cardroom ambassador and then won the biggest ever Pokerstars Sunday Million for over $1.5m in June before making back-to-back final tables in the US Poker Open. Finishing off in style, she final-tabled a PokerGO Cup event in July. 

Players Choice for Toughest Opponent

  • Michael Addamo
  • Stephen Chidwick
  • Ali Imsirovic
  • David Peters

Voted for by the GPI Top 100, these four absolute beasts represent the cream of the poker crop. Imsirovic cashed for over $6m last year, including 14 wins. Peters cashed for $4.5m, winning a WSOP bracelet, the US Poker Open, and a WPT Highroller. Chidwick cashed for $2.9m and is the incumbent in this category.

one of poker’s hottest ever hot streaks in 2021

Despite these huge numbers, my pick is the in-form Addamo who put together one of poker’s hottest ever hot streaks in 2021. Addamo cashed for $9.4m, the vast majority of which came in just nine weeks between September 17 and November 21. Bludgeoning his way through elite fields, he picked up two WSOP bracelets, two Poker Masters wins, an Aria Highroller victory, and the Super High Roller Bowl title. 

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 Poker
  • Nicholas Rigby’s monster bluff in late stages of WSOP Main Event
  • Quads over Quads in WSOP Main Event (Chang Liu vs Ugur Secilmis)

A fold, a bluff, a cooler, and a mistake. This is a tough category to judge because each hand was epic for a different reason. 

Ultimately, I think it comes down to which hand will be remembered, and much as I hate to emphasize an error, Ryan Leng’s erroneous attempt to save less than a bet versus Jungleman will go down as one of the worst folds in poker history.

The fact that Jungleman went on to claim victory in the PPC virtually assures that this hand will never be forgotten. 

In part two of my definitive guide to the Global Poker Awards, I will look at the nominations for content creators.