The 4th annual American Poker Awards were staged last week in West Hollywood, and the star-studded affair featured some familiar mainstays in the industry as well as some fresh faces. The Andaz Hotel hosted the ceremonies which saw Andrew Neeme take home awards for 'Video Blogger of the Year' and the coveted 'People’s Choice for Poker Personality of the Year', while Cary Katz was named 'Poker’s Biggest Influencer'.
Neeme is a vlogger that’s taken his humble existence as a Las Vegas grinder and parried it into the creation of a budding personal brand that’s growing interest from poker players around the country. On YouTube he boasts a staggering +81,000 subscribers and averages upwards of 80,000 views per his more than 130 videos.
That probably played a factor in his garnering 10,000 fan votes to beat out Jonathan Little, Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu for the People’s choice award. While unable to attend the event, Neeme tweeted his gratitude towards fans for his big moment:
MASSIVE thanks to everyone who voted in the American Poker Awards. When all the hours put into a project results in true value for the audience (entertainment, info, or whatever the case) it’s an awesome feeling.— Andrew Neeme (@andrewneeme) February 23, 2018
Matt Savage, an American poker director who’s officiated three WSOP events and cashed in on one with a fifth place finish in 2009, took home an award for the third-straight year scoring 'Industry Person of the Year' honors.
Cary Katz’s award came due to his role in creating new high-roller events like the Poker Masters and US Poker Open and brought back popular NBC Sports Network television program Poker after Dark. The award came with some social media backlash as many in the Twittersphere believe Katz’s lack of social media clout makes him unfit to claim the “biggest influencer” moniker but as the founder of Poker Central, which won 'Podcast of the Year' acclaim, and PokerGo there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Longtime World Series of Poker sports commentator Lon McEachern, known as the “voice of poker” took home a Lifetime Achievement award along with ESPN’s Norman Chad, fellow broadcast contributor and competitor in the nationally televised event. Former WSOP Tour Champion Nick Schulman won this year’s award for best broadcaster after his work on Poker Central, which recently re-upped it's sponsorship with leading poker site, 888poker.
Also in the media, Lance Bradley, president and editor in chief of PocketFives, was given 'Journalist of the Year' honors. The website provides a collection of forums dedicated to online poker, as well as news and rankings, and Bradley also hosts the Fives. The award for 'Media Content of the Year' went to 'Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story' as featured on Poker Central, which. The documentary series chronicled small-time poker player Matt Berkey’s journey to the final table of Super High Roller Bowl in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Artur Papazyan was a solid choice for 'Breakout Player of the Year' with two World Poker Tour titles in 2017. The Glendale, California native won a 389,405 prize in late September with a first place finish at the WPT Maryland Main Event, and defeated a poker vet in Phil Helmuth to take first and a $668,692 prize at the Legends of Poker WPT Main Event on August 25.
After his scintillating victory in the World Series of Poker Main Event, Scott Blumstein was awarded 'Tournament Performance of the Year', while Ema Zajmovic won 'Moment of the Year' after she became the first female poker player to win an open WPT event. Partypoker’s MILLIONS Orth America won 'Event of the Year' and Jamie Staples took home 'Poker Streamer of the Year'. Finally, Bryn Kenney and Kristen Bickell were named GPI 'Male and Female Players of the Year', respectively and Ari Engel took home the 'PocketFives Legacy Award'.
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