Jason Mercier, Ari Engel Among 2016 American Poker Awards Winners
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.
|American GPI Player of the Year||David Peters|
|American GPI Female Player of the Year||Cate Hall|
|Media Person of the Year||Joe Stapleton||Lance Bradley|
|Industry Person of the Year||Sean McCormack||Tony Burns|
|Breakout Performance of the Year||Maurice Hawkins||Ari Engel|
|Tournament Performance of the Year||Ari Engel||Maurice Hawkins|
|Mid-Major Circuit of the Year||WSOP Circuit||Mid-States Poker Tour|
|Heartland Poker Tour|
|Event of the Year||Super High Roller Bowl||Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open|
|WSOP Main Event|
|WPT Five Diamond|
|Charitable Initiative of the Year||Dan Smith Charity Drive|
|Lifetime Achievement Award||Mori Eskandani|
|Moment of the Year||Jason Mercier at the WSOP||Griffin 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 Year||Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey||Life's a Gamble (Mike Sexton)|
|Stu Ungar's Last Chance Gone Wrong (Matt Showell)|
|Jason Somerville Aussie Millions coverage|
|Twitch Streamer of the Year||Jason Somerville||Kevin Martin|
|Podcast of the Year||Poker Life Podcast (Joe Ingram)||Full Contact Poker (Daniel Negreanu)|
|PocketFives Legacy Award||Cliff Josephy|
|Hendon Mob Award||John Holley|
|Jury Prize||Matt Savage|