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With over two dozen trophies handed out at the Global Poker Awards, Ali Imsirovic took home the most hardware: GPI Player of the Year, PokerGO Tour Player of the Year, and Toughest Opponent. [Image: Global Poker Index]
Ali Imsirovic could do no wrong
The Global Poker Awards returned Friday night to celebrate the best and brightest of 2021 after being cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around two dozen awards were handed out at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas, but of all the honorees, Ali Imsirovic was the king of the evening.
Imsirovic won three awards, two of which were already known beforehand, as they were based on mathematical ranking formulas. The first was the Global Poker Index Player of the Year, which started 2021 with Imsirovic in the lead and ended with him way ahead of the pack, never having relinquished the pole position. His 14 live tournament wins, 32 top-ten finishes, and $6.1m in earnings gave him 3,478.55 points on the Global Poker Index leaderboard, 253 points ahead of Chance Kornuth.
Imsirovic also nabbed the PokerGO Tour Player of the Year title and is already in fourth place early in this year’s race.
I couldn’t even describe the shock and disbelief my 18-year-old self would have.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was possible,” Imsirovic said after accepting both awards. “It feels surreal. I couldn’t even describe the shock and disbelief my 18-year-old self would have.”
Perhaps his greatest honor, however, was in the third award, “Players Choice for Toughest Opponent,” which was voted upon by the top 100 players in the GPI rankings. As one would imagine, Imsirovic’s competition was…tough: Stephen Chidwick, Michael Addamo, and David Peters.
“I feel like I won this one because Addamo isn’t here, to be honest,” Imsirovic joked.
Adam Friedman honored for his back-to-back-to-back titles
There were way too many awards to cover here, but let’s touch on a few. The “Best Final Table Performance” category was interesting in that all four nominees were involved in (and won) World Series of Poker events. The easy choice would have been Koray Aldemir for the 2021 WSOP Main Event, but the one many in the poker community wanted to see win was Adam Friedman for his WSOP $10,000 Dealer’s Choice 6-Max Championship victory. And it was Friedman who, in fact, took the trophy after amazingly winning the extremely difficult tourney for the third straight year.
The WSOP Main Event won “Best Event,” which is not a big surprise.
Johan Guilbert won a stacked field in the “GPI Breakout Player” category, beating out Vanessa Kade, Kyna England, and Christopher Brewer. Among his 2021 accomplishments were a win and a third-place finish in the Super High Roller Bowl Europe for more than a million dollars combined and a runner-up finish at the World Series of Poker Europe for nearly $900,000.
And to come back to what I called “arguably the oddest category,” the “Best Trophy,” the World Poker Tour took the, well, trophy for the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. While it is kind of a weird award, it makes sense that the WPT won: it is the most coveted trophy in poker, winners get their names put on it with all the other winners in perpetuity, and it is named after a poker legend.
Lappin and O’Kearney honored to be nominated
We would be remiss, though, if we did not mention VegasSlotsOnline News’ own David Lappin and Dara O’Kearney, who were nominated in the “Best Podcast” category for The Chip Race, sponsored by Unibet Poker. They, unfortunately, did not take home the hardware, bested by Poker in the Ears, hosted by James Hartigan and Joseph Stapleton for PokerStars.
David and Dara did win the Global Poker Award for their podcast in 2018, so perhaps it was just someone else’s turn.
he has been mysteriously silent after the weekend
Interestingly, after all of David’s articles previewing the Third Annual Global Poker Awards last week, he has been mysteriously silent after the weekend. Coincidence, sour grapes, or hungover? I’ll wait patiently by Slack to find out.
The entire list of Global Poker Awards winners can be found on the Global Poker Index website.