The European Poker Awards are much older than the American Poker Awards: this year will mark the 14th time that they have been awarded, and they’re the model that the American version was based on.
This year’s European Poker Awards are set to be given out on March 25 at the Hilton Hotel in St. Julian’s, Malta, and are set to feature some of poker’s biggest and most successful names.
The venue in Malta marks a change for the European Poker Awards, which had always been held in France previously.
“This is the first time that the European Poker Awards will be held outside its original nest, France,” Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus said to PokerNews.
“We had great success last year during the EPT Deauville, and going to Malta during the EPT will definitively make it easier for the players and the entry figures based on the island to attend.”
The EPT will be holding an event at the Portomaso Casino concurrently with the European Poker Awards, meaning that many of the nominees and eventual winners will likely already be on the island and won’t have to consider a second trip just to find out if they’ve won.
The awards will include some of the best known names in poker, including two who are already certain that they’ll be winners. The GPI Player of the Year award will go to Ole Schemion, while the GPI Female Player of the Year award is being given to Liv Boeree. Those two prizes were based on the official GPI rankings, which is why there will be no drama over the winners.
However, other awards feature some major players going head-to-head. In the Tournament Performance of the Year category, the clear favorite has to be Martin Jacobson, who put together an outstanding display of poker skills at the final table to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.
He does have serious competition, though, particularly from Victoria Coren Mitchell, who became the first player ever to win two EPT Main Event titles when she took down EPT Sanremo. Others nominated include Davidi Katai for his win in the $3,000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP, and Dominik Panka, who won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
The Breakout Player of the Year award also sees Panka nominated, up against other rising stars like George Danzer, who won the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year award. There are also awards that are designed to honor the top events and industry personalities of the year, including the top Media Person of the Year.
One notable group of players, however, won’t be honored at the awards. There is no category that gives recognition to online poker players, a key segment in Europe and an oversight that was quickly noticed by the poker community. This was the first time since 2009 that such an award, sometimes known as Internet Player of the Year and other times as Best Online Player, was not included among the awards.
Dreyfus originally gave a couple of different reasons why such an award would not appear this year, saying that it was hard to accurately assess performances online (particularly with many segregated online markets in Europe), and that with so many players known by nicknames online, it was “difficult to have a global vision” of those players.
But Dreyfus did eventually agree to change his mind.
“I agree next year to have online awards, again,” he wrote on Twitter.