Table Talk: GPI Awards Should Expand Beyond Europe

Europe map

Last week, the Global Poker Index partnered with Poker52 and others to host the GPI European Poker Awards. From the pictures, it looks to have been a very fancy affair at the Casino Barriere in Deauville, France.

It’s not often that the poker industry hosts formal ceremonies. For the second year in a row, though, the GPI made it a beautiful occasion, complete with dinner for the 200-person crowd and rumors of an open bar. Hosting it at the location of EPT Deauville was also a smart move, knowing that many in the poker industry would be on hand and in attendance. Of course, some poker players didn’t have dress clothes with them – or simply chose to wear jeans – but the majority of attendees did dress appropriately for the occasion.

The only thing that comes close to such an awards-type ceremony is the WSOP Hall of Fame, but there’s little known about it other than the inductees and the select few who are invited to the dinner. I’ve never seen much made of it for the public, such as professional photos or reporting from the scene.

That’s where the GPI stands out. They have taken the GPI Awards to a new level with publicity and a good deal of publicity on social media with live tweeting, live blogging, and photography from the scene and released after the fact.

But what about the rest of the world?

The GPI European Poker Awards focus on honoring Europe’s best players, legends, and media. However, the GPI prides itself on tracking players from all over the world. It would make sense to expand the awards to give props to players across the globe.

I do realize the problems with that. Where to host it? The WSOP in Las Vegas would be the logical choice, but the WSOP has effectively driven away quite a few online poker sites that might be interested in participating and/or live blogging the ceremony. And finding a way to do it without stepping on the WSOP’s proverbial toes or trying to infringe on the WSOP Hall of Fame has its difficulties.

Finding sponsors would also be tricky, as the current status of US law pertaining to online poker is murky and divisive. Considering there are only two legal online poker sites in Nevada – one is hosting the WSOP and the other is struggling – they are not great options for sponsoring an awards shindig.

I think about this mostly because it is awards season for film and television. The Oscars are just weeks away, and other Hollywood organizations are doling out the honors left and right. It would be nice if poker could do the same. And there’s no better group to do it than the GPI.

The GPI European Poker Awards covers major categories of poker accomplishments, which are given in the form of Player of the Year according to the official rankings. It would be fitting to give them a night for their honor, one they could share with family and/or friends and peers. Categories like “best tournament performance” and “rookie of the year” are great ways to shine a light on those who have made names for themselves in one way or another. And the Lifetime Achievement Award is a bit like the WSOP Hall of Fame but more inclusive of rest-of-world players than the typical list of nominees.

There are many ways that poker players are honored each year, mostly through “player of the year” rankings done by various media outlets. They are then given a magazine cover and some coverage by the outlet with the rankings, and that’s it. A grand ceremony would be something to look forward to, something to remember, and a way to include everyone.

So, congratulations to the Europeans honored at the most recent ceremony – Philipp Gruissem, Ole Schemion, Adrian Mateos Diaz, Toby Lewis, Ana Marquez, Neil Johnson, and Roger Hairabedian. The poker event of the year was the Full Tilt Poker Galway Festival, and the special jury selection award went to the poker dealers. And a big across-the-pond handshake to Barny Boatman for his lifetime achievement award.

If you’d like to see a global GPI awards ceremony next year, let the good folks at GPI know on Twitter or Facebook. They’re always interested in what the community at large has to say.

I should include a disclaimer here. I do work for the GPI on a freelance basis, posting daily news reports on the site, and I chose to participate in some tweeting of the recent GPI Awards. With that said, I have no input on awards, judges, or future ceremony plans.

1 comments
g_arroyo3
g_arroyo3

I work for CodigoPoker a LatAm poker news site and we tried to contact them in order to help GPI correcting some issues with names and nationalities. They never answered, for a lot of player in LatAm GPI is quite a big deal.