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Jason Mercier, Ari Engel Among 2016 American Poker Awards Winners

Jason Mercier

The third annual Global Poker Index American Poker Awards, presented by PokerStars and honoring the best and brightest in the industry, are on the books. Ari Engel, Maurice Hawkins and PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier were some of the people walking out of the ceremony with freshly won hardware.

Engel claimed Tournament Performance of the Year for his win in the Aussie Millions Main Event, the biggest score by a mile in a long and consistently strong career. Hawkins won Breakout Performance of the Year after banking a career-best $581,000 and crushing the World Series of Poker Circuit for four rings, including three Main Events, in 2016.

Mercier got Moment of the Year for his epic WSOP performance, winning two bracelets, taking one runner-up score and finishing eighth in a series of four $10K events inside of 10 days.

PocketFives' Lance Bradley was the only other person besides Hawkins and Engel to be nominated in two categories; each was a candidate for the award the other won. Like the players, he went one-for-two, taking home Media Content of the Year for "Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey."

Special awards were also presented to online legend and 2016 November Niner Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy (PocketFives Legacy Award), John Holley (Hendon Mob Award), Mori Eskandani (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Matt Savage (Jury Prize).

PokerNews had two nominees — Sarah Herring for Media Person of the Year and The PokerNews Podcast for Podcast of the Year — but both came up short.

Winners were selected by a jury of industry experts out of groups of four finalists in most categories. Here's a full look at the list of winners, along with their fellow finalists.

AwardWinnerOther Finalists
American GPI Player of the YearDavid Peters 
American GPI Female Player of the YearCate Hall 
Media Person of the YearJoe StapletonLance Bradley
  Sarah Herring
  David Tuchman
Industry Person of the YearSean McCormackTony Burns
  Jack Effel
  Matt Savage
Breakout Performance of the YearMaurice HawkinsAri Engel
  Ankush Mandavia
  Sam Soverel
Tournament Performance of the YearAri EngelMaurice Hawkins
  Kristen Bicknell
  Mike Sexton
Mid-Major Circuit of the YearWSOP CircuitMid-States Poker Tour
  Heartland Poker Tour
Event of the YearSuper High Roller BowlSeminole Hard Rock Poker Open
  WSOP Main Event
  WPT Five Diamond
Charitable Initiative of the YearDan Smith Charity Drive 
Lifetime Achievement AwardMori Eskandani 
Moment of the YearJason Mercier at the WSOPGriffin Benger vs. Will Kassouf
  David Peters Wins GPI POY in last major of year
  Mike Sexton mounts comeback to win WPT Montreal
Media Content of the YearBob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event JourneyLife's a Gamble (Mike Sexton)
  Stu Ungar's Last Chance Gone Wrong (Matt Showell)
  Jason Somerville Aussie Millions coverage
Twitch Streamer of the YearJason SomervilleKevin Martin
  Parker Talbot
  Jaime Staples
Podcast of the YearPoker Life Podcast (Joe Ingram)Full Contact Poker (Daniel Negreanu)
  PokerNews Podcast
  TwoPlusTwo Pokercast
PocketFives Legacy AwardCliff Josephy 
Hendon Mob AwardJohn Holley 
Jury PrizeMatt Savage 
  • Some of poker's finest accepted hardware at the American Poker Awards on Thursday.

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