The first ever Global Poker Awards ceremony held in April 2019 honored players, media personalities, and industry professionals making significant contribution to the overall growth of poker across 20 different categories. While the ceremony was generally successful, it did not pass without controversy.
The awards have been criticized for how nominees were selected, with many hitting out at selection biases and confusing metrics. The panel were seemingly inclined to the more popular candidates, leaving out the more deserving winners in the process. In the Streamer of the Year category for example, Jason Sommerville was among the final four nominees, alongside Lex Veldhuis, Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples.
There is no doubt that Sommerville is among the best and most popular streamers out there today, however, he was not actively streaming in 2018. Considering that the inaugural awards ceremony was intended for the best performers in 2018, Sommerville should have not made the cut. The same applied for Doug Polk who was nominated for 2018 Vlogger of the Year when he has not even vlogged since 2017.
New Selection Process
The Global Poker Awards is a merger of two major awards – the American Poker Awards and European Poker Awards.  The GPI team is aware controversies over the selection process are a major blow to their credibility. As a response, they came up with a new voting method for this year’s awards, with a special panel of experts in each category.
The judges will also be revealed after the ceremony for fairness and transparency. The most notable change is that the public are now allowed to have their say, and their votes will be included for the final tabulation of scores. The awards have also been made even bigger with 25 trophies up for grabs this year, compared to just 20 last year. Among the new categories is the Player’s Choice Award for Best All-Around Poker Player.
Voting Underway
With less than two months left before the winners are revealed, the GPI has recently released the semi-finalists for at least 15 categories, which include Vlogger of the Year, Streamer of the Year, Podcast of the Year, Media Content of the Year (Photo), Media Content of the Year (Video), Broadcaster of the Year, Journalist of the Year, Twitter Personality of the Year and Industry Person of the Year.
Candidates were also listed in the Final Table Performance of the Year, Tournament Director of the Year, Mid-Major Circuit/Tour of the Year, Event of the Year, and GPI Breakout Player of the Year.
Public Votes Open for Two Categories
The GPI has also opened the initial phase of Fan Voting for two awards – the People’s Choice Awards for Hand of the Year and Poker Personality of the Year.
To vote, fans need to go to the GPI website, and throw in their support for their candidate through a write-in ballot. For the Hand of the Year award, fans will need to think about the hand that left an unforgettable impact last year – such as Stephen Chidwick’s insane call at Triton London, Ryan Reiss, ten-high call in EPT Monte Carlo Main Event, or Kristen Bicknell sending Phil Ivey to the rail in the Triton €100K event – it’s all up to the fans.
For Poker Personality of the Year, fans get to choose whoever they want, and the award is not entirely restricted to just players. A poker presenter or reporter, or anybody working in the industry has the chance to receive the honors.
Final Nominees To Be Announced Friday, Jan 24
Voting ends on January 23 at 8pm Pacific time. The GPI suggests that you vote on a computer (desktop or laptop).  The GPI will announce the final four nominations for each category this Friday, and a| final voting round will begin next weekend, until January 31. The winners will be presented with their awards in a prestigious ceremony taking place at the PokerGO Studio in Aria, Las Vegas on March 6.
Among the winners last year were Ali Imsirovic (Breakout Player of the Year), Andrew Neeme (Vlogger of the Year), John Cynn (Tournament Performance), Maria Ho (Broadcaster of the Year), Angelica Hael (Industry Person of the Year), WSOP Main Event (Event of the Year), Justin Bonomo (Moment of the Year), and Doyle Brunson (Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker).