The European Poker Awards (EPA) have been a staple of the poker industry throughout Europe for more than a decade, but one category that’s been present since the 2009 EPA ceremony was wiped from the slate this year. There are no longer any categories designated to present online poker awards. According to the CEO of Global Poker Index (GPI), that shouldn’t be the case in 2016.
The 2014 European Poker Awards have been scheduled for March 25, 2015 at the Portomaso Marina Hilton Hotel in St. Julians, Malta. Last week, the nominees for the EPA were announced, and many observers were surprised to find no online poker awards listed among the categories. The Online Player of the Year award had been stricken from the list.
The first time online poker awards were given out by the EPA was in 2009, originally titled Internet Player of the Year. 2005 EPT Baden Champion Patrick “FinddaGrind” Antonius received the inaugural Internet Player of the Year award in 2009, followed by Norwegian poker pro Andreas “Skjervoy” Torbergsen in 2010, Finland’s Ilari “Zigmund” Sahamies in 2011, 2009 EPT Copenhagen Champion Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen in 2012, and Britain’s 2010 EPT Vilamoura Champion Toby “810ofclubs” Lewis in 2013.
The first to voice indignation over the lack of online poker awards in the 2014 EPA was the winner of the 2010 Internet Player title, Andreas Tobergsen. As soon as the nominations were announce, Tobergsen took to Twitter. He called the omission a “shame”, subsequently starting up a poll to see how others felt about the situation.
The online poker awards poll (with current results) reads:
|Should #EuropeanPokerAwards continue to give out awards to online play and players as well? For example 1 award for best online MTT player (trough some ranking) and 1 award for best online cashplayer (trough some panel).
– Yes, online poker should be part of any serious award – 94%
Clearly, the live and online poker community (at least those who follow Tobergsen on Twitter) is in full agreement with his complaint. At present, only 6% of those who voted believe online poker awards should not be a part of the EPA.
Global Poker Index Responds
The European Poker Awards are owned by GPI, and it didn’t take long for Alex Dreyfus, Chief Executive Officer of GPI, to respond to Tobergsen’s publicized annoyance. He rationalized that the EPA omitted online poker awards this year due to difficulties in tracking gameplay and the anonymity of many aliases.
“It is difficult to have a global vision of nicknames,” said Dreyfus, who went on to explain that segregation of online poker in certain regions could undermine the value and presence of some online poker players. For example, in France, Italy and Spain, the markets are entirely ring-fenced into sub-pools.
However, Dreyfus also admitted that he feels online poker awards should be a continued practice at the EPA. He said that too many of the industry’s poker players are not being recognized, and that it could negatively affect the overall popularity of the European Poker Awards. “Whatever twitter thinks, will not change anything this year,” said Dreyfus in response to Sahamies Twitter argument. “I agree next year to have online awards, again.”