Posts Tagged ‘Honors’

World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

 World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

Continuing the legacy of honoring those who were instrumental in their contributions to the World Poker Tour and the poker community also, the WPT will give their WPT Honors Award to two men who will join a legendary cast in May.

On May 22, the WPT will look back into their past and honor Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman, two men whose vision created the WPT and cemented its place in poker history. “The WPT is deeply proud to present two extraordinary icons of our industry with the WPT Honors Award,” Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, said during the announcement of the awards. “These Honorees represent the pioneering ingenuity and passionate leadership that has abundantly influenced poker. Mr. Steve Lipscomb and Mr. Lyle Berman brought poker to new heights with the creation of the World Poker Tour, and their passion and dedication have allowed the WPT to become what it is today.”

It goes without saying that, without these two men, there wouldn’t be a World Poker Tour in existence today. Lipscomb was the man who came up with the concept of a tournament poker series that traveled to different casinos. He also knew how he wanted to present these tournaments. Rather than the staid productions that had come previously where the viewers weren’t shown the hole cards, Lipscomb knew that showing these cards would be critical to driving the broadcasts of the tournaments. With that in mind, he utilized the development of the “lipstick camera” as a method of providing the viewer with the excitement of the game.

From the time the WPT debuted in 2002, Lipscomb was instrumental in the success of the show. He served as the director and producer for every episode during the first eight years of the program, with the WPT becoming one of the catalysts of the mid-2000s “poker boom” that erupted during those years. For his efforts, Lipscomb has previously been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the inaugural American Poker Awards in 2015.

While Lipscomb was the one who had the idea, it was Berman who was the one who provided the monetization and the background to be able to work in the cutthroat casino industry. As a businessman, Lipscomb was responsible for the growth and expansion of Grand Casinos, Inc., which allowed him to be able to finance the WPT in its infancy. Because of his casino background, he was also a key player in the negotiations with the different casinos across the States of America and the world when it came to creating the schedule of events and to allowing for the taping of the programs.

Berman’s experience in the world of poker is also noted in his other achievements. He is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, earning over $ 2.6 million in his career in tournament poker. He is also a feared cash game player, giving him the gravitas to be elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

The WPT Honors Award is a relatively new accolade in the poker world, but it has a glowing list of honorees. Former WPT announcer, hostess and tournament director Linda Johnson was the first-ever honoree in February 2017. Later that same year in June, former WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and French poker legend Bruno Fitoussi (instrumental in bringing the WPT to the legendary Aviation Club in Paris) were also feted the award.

Ceremonies to honor both Lipscomb and Berman will be held during the play of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in May. That tournament will be held from May 24-26, so it is likely there will be one night chosen to honor both men simultaneously. Congratulations to Lipscomb and Berman for receiving this prestigious award!

The post World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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World Poker Tour Names Linda Johnson First Recipient of WPT Honors Award

 World Poker Tour Names Linda Johnson First Recipient of WPT Honors Award

Recognized by virtually everyone in the industry as a pioneer in the world of poker, poker industry legend Linda Johnson has received nearly every accolade that can be handed out. That shelf of trophies and tributes will increase by one next week when the World Poker Tour honors Johnson with their first-ever WPT Honors Award.

“We are proud to present Linda Johnson with the inaugural WPT Honors Award,” said Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour. “The award represents WPT’s highest honor and will serve as a lasting tradition that allows us to recognize the most important people in our industry and in the WPT’s history. Linda played a unique role in helping shape the World Poker Tour, and she embodies all that the WPT stands for. In addition to her time spent with the WPT, Linda’s extraordinary contributions have helped better poker globally and her efforts have left lasting impressions that will forever impact our game.”

In her usually understated manner, Johnson quietly expressed her sentiments over receiving the honor on her Facebook page. “I am extremely honored to receive this award,” Johnson simply stated before adding, “Have I said lately that I LOVE poker? Thank you, WPT!”

The inaugural award, which will be given to those who represent outstanding contributions to the WPT and the poker community at large, is a natural to end up in the hands of Johnson. Along with being the first tournament director of the WPT and an announcer at their events, Johnson was integral to the actual birth of the poker circuit. Many of the tournaments that are now staples on the WPT Main Tour schedule are there because of the tireless efforts of Johnson, who organized the meetings that brought together the WPT founder Steve Lipscomb and casino mogul Lyle Berman with the casinos who hosted the biggest events in the game.

But Johnson’s efforts in the game go beyond what has been seen on the WPT circuit. The holder of a World Series of Poker bracelet (1997, Seven Card Razz), Johnson published CardPlayer Magazine for eight years before selling the business to Barry Shulman in 2001. After selling what is recognized as THE major magazine publication in the poker industry, Johnson moved on to make her impact in another area, player conduct in poker rooms.

Fighting against dealer and player abuse, Johnson was the founder of the Tournament Directors Association alongside other industry legends Jan Fisher, Matt Savage, and David Lamb in 2001. Since then, that organization has gone on to become the overseer of tournament rules that are used in hundreds of casinos around the world. As the Poker TDA was beginning to take off in the mid-2000s (along with her work in the WPT), Johnson would add another feather to her cap in becoming the chair of the Poker Players Alliance and, most recently, continuing her work with that organization as a member of its Board of Directors.

The WPT Honors trophy will go along nicely with the other awards on Johnson’s mantelpiece. A member of the inaugural class of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2008, Johnson joined her fellow WiPHoF classmate Barbara Enright in the Poker Hall of Fame in 2011, becoming at that time only the second woman ever inducted into that prestigious Hall. The duo is also both members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.

Hopefully the WPT Honors will have a better history than another endeavor that was meant to honor the greats in poker.

In 2004 (soon after its birth), the WPT created the WPT Walk of Fame at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Utilizing the same idea as Grauman’s Chinese Theater – in which honorees would be immortalized through their handprints, foot prints and possibly other recognizable features – inductees into the Walk of Fame sunk their extremities into cement for posterity. The inaugural class that year included the legendary Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen (who was a terror in the inaugural season of the WPT), and actor James Garner (who portrayed cardsharp Bret Maverick in the television series Maverick). Unfortunately, the WPT Walk of Fame seems to have never caught on. There hasn’t been another person inducted into the WPT Walk of Fame since that inaugural class more than a decade ago.

Johnson will be given the inaugural WPT Honors award on February 27 at a dinner attended by her family and close friends. Congratulations to Linda Johnson for just the latest in the litany of honors that she so aptly deserves!

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2nd Annual American Poker Awards Honors Best in North American Poker

 2nd Annual American Poker Awards Honors Best in North American Poker

In front of a packed ballroom at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards were held on Thursday evening. Created by the chairman of the Global Poker Index, Alexandre Dreyfus, to celebrate the best of North American poker (much like its counterpart in the European Poker Awards), the ceremonies didn’t disappoint anyone as the crème of the poker world in 2015 were honored for their achievements.

Two awards were already determined before the statues were handed out. The GPI Player of the Year, Byron Kaverman, accepted his award for being the best player in North American for 2015 and Kelly Minkin picked up her trophy for being the GPL Female Player of the Year. After that, it was off to the voted awards, of which 11 were up for grabs.

Joe Giron defeated some excellent competition in one of the toughest categories in Media Content of the Year to take home the trophy. Giron’s work as the photojournalist for the World Series of Poker – and in particular his in-the-moment shot of a collapsed Daniel Negreanu upon his knockout from the Championship Event of the WSOP – was able to defeat 2014 AMA winner Brad Willis and his four-part series on the South Carolina underground poker scene, Faraz Jaka’s autobiographical CNN story on his nomadic tournament poker journeys and Jason Somerville’s record-setting Twitch broadcast of his WCOOP final table to capture the top prize.

One of the surprises of the 2015 APAs was in the Tournament Performance of the Year category. Going up against such powerhouse moments as Joe McKeehen’s domination of the WSOP “November Nine,” Mike Gorodinsky’s Poker Players’ Championship win at the WSOP and Jonathan Duhamel’s “Big One for One Drop” victory, Anthony Zinno’s second part of a back-to-back win on the World Poker Tour at the L. A. Poker Classic was thought to be a long shot. That long shot came home, however, as Zinno picked up the statue and the honors for the best tournament performance of 2015.

Another deserving victor was Matt Stout and the Charity Series of Poker. In the Charitable Initiative of the Year category, Stout and the CSOP faced off against other very qualified charitable causes in the Chad Brown Memorial Tournament, Tiger Woods’ Poker Night and the WSOP One Drop High Roller/Little One for One Drop and were able to emerge with the APA trophy. “Thank you so much to the players, casino and sponsors that have gotten behind this thing in a way I could only dream of,” Stout said to his supporters over his Facebook page. “You are quite literally helping me complete my life’s work.”

In addition to these awards, these were the other eight awards that were handed out during the ceremonies on Thursday night:

Event of the Year (Buy-in under $ 2000) – The Colossus at the WSOP Event of the Year (Buy-in over $ 2000) – The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Moment of the Year – Daniel Negreanu’s elimination in 11th place, WSOP Championship Event Breakout Performance of the Year – Joshua Beckley Poker Presenter of the Year – Kara Scott Media Person of the Year – Donnie Peters Industry Person of the Year – Matt Savage Poker Innovation of the Year – WSOP, Online Bracelet Event

A select panel also took the time to choose two “lifetime achievement” awards, and the only reason that those words are in parenthesis are because the people that the awards were given to have so much yet to give to the poker community. For his variety of work in the poker world, Kevin ‘Kevmath’ Mathers was the recipient of a 2015 APA. For his longtime efforts as an ambassador for the game of poker, WPT host Mike Sexton also was honored with a 2015 APA. The audience was more than appreciative of these awards and both men were extremely humbled about being honored by their peers.

With that, the 2015 American Poker Awards are in the books. Now we can start looking towards 2016 and wondering what special moments in North American poker may be honored a year from now when the ceremony’s roll around again.

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Anthony Zinno, Byron Kaverman Battle it Out for Player of the Year Honors

 Anthony Zinno, Byron Kaverman Battle it Out for Player of the Year Honors

As we prepare to head into the final month of 2015, the battle for the two major Player of the Year awards have basically come down to two men. The man who has basically dominated the leaderboards since the 2015 World Series of Poker, Anthony Zinno, has now come under fire from another player who has had an outstanding year, Byron Kaverman. For the most part, it looks as though it will come down to these two men to determine the POY. (Due to the closure of their magazine and website, the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year standings have not been updated and, as such, have been dropped from our review.)

On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year review, Zinno has been the overwhelming leader for virtually all of the last half of 2015. He tacked on some points in winning the Borgata Poker Open’s $ 1000 Heads Up Event to bring his current total to 6632 points. This type of points domination is something rarely seen on the CardPlayer boards; last year, POY Dan Colman seemingly dominated the field on the way to accumulating 5498 points for the entire year. Zinno had that beaten at the end of the WSOP.

Kaverman isn’t the only one who is trying to catch up to Zinno’s pace. In second place on the CardPlayer POY is Joe Kuether, who has been cobbling together some decent finishes in tournaments to grind his way up the ladder. His second place finish at the WSOP Circuit event in Hammond in October, along with his third place finish at the Borgata Poker Open World Poker Tour event in late September, has added 1760 points to his resume to run Kuether up to 5658 points. With some decent finishes in December, Kuether may be the one who knocks Zinno off the mountain.

In third place on the CardPlayer standings is Nick Petrangelo, who has been lurking for much of the 2015 tournament poker year. Although he only earned a few points for his third place finish at the European Poker Tour Malta Super High Roller event, those points were enough to keep him in this slot with 5526 points. Depending on his tournament schedule next month (Europe or the United States?), Petrangelo might find some events to push him further into consideration for the POY.

Although he has had a great year to this point, Kaverman has more work to do if he is going to seize the CardPlayer POY. Despite winning the EPT Malta’s High Roller tournament in late October (for 900 points), Kaverman still finds himself almost 1300 points behind Zinno with 5342 points. From a look at how points are awarded on the CardPlayer charts, Kaverman will probably have to win another tournament and/or have some deep runs in several events if he’s to move up higher.

The remainder of the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings will earn a nice finish for 2015 but have a “slim to none” shot of taking the title. That includes Benjamin Zamani (4561 points), Jason Mercier (4294), Mario Javier Lopez (3898), Steve O’Dwyer (3890) Mustapha Kanit (3860) and World Champion Joe McKeehen (3748), who hold down the fifth through tenth place slots. These men aren’t locked into the Top Ten, either, as players like Dzmitry Urbanovich (3723 points), Rainer Kempe (3720) and WSOP Europe Championship Event winner Kevin MacPhee (3710) lurk beneath them.

The Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings are intriguing in that there are some names there that didn’t appear in the CardPlayer poll. On the GPI’s standings, Kaverman has been able to amass 4736.9 points, with that victory in the EPT Malta High Roller earning him 550.31 points. That finish replaced one of his top 13 finishes for 2015 to help push him to his current mark. (Under the GPI POY, a player’s top 13 finishes are the only ones that count towards computing a player’s total points. A player’s point total can only increase if they have a finish that bests one of their previous efforts.)

Zinno is within shouting distance of Kaverman. With his 4649.07 points that are currently good enough for second place, he would need to replace his lowest POY point total (the 238.09 points earned at the Bellagio Cup XI event in July) with one that earns him more than 100 points more (provided Kaverman doesn’t do anything in December); that usually means that a player has to win a big tournament and Zinno is certainly capable of doing just that.

It gets more difficult as you work your way down the remainder of the GPI POY. Petrangelo (4406.04 points), O’Dwyer (4333.58) and Urbanovich (4095.19) hold the third through fifth place slots, but it will be difficult for any of them to even pass Zinno, let alone Kaverman. The story is also the same for those in the bottom half of the GPI Top Ten.

It is in this segment of the standings that we get some diversity between CardPlayer and the GPI. After Mercier in sixth place (4076.07 points), there is a completely different sixth through tenth place players. Connor Drinan (3996.08), Dominik Nitsche (3848.66), Fedor Holz (3834.3) and Scott Seiver (3834.1) are in these positions and could move up in the GPI Top Ten with some good work in December. If you’re counting at home, that makes for a total of 14 men who can state that they were one of the top ten tournament poker players for 2015 and we still have December to get through.

The December schedule will pretty much jam the big events in well before Christmas. The WPT will hold two events in Prague, the Czech Republic, and at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, while the EPT goes to Prague after the WPT departs. There are some smaller events that might have some chance to push some pros, particularly the WSOP-C stops in North Carolina and at the Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Los Angeles and the Aria High Roller tournaments, but it looks like it is a two-man race for the different POY titles. Who will come out on top? For a prediction, look for Zinno to keep the CardPlayer edge and Kaverman his GPI crown, splitting the tournament poker Player of the Year races once again. By the time the presents are being opened on Christmas Day, we will know the results.

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