At the 2018 American Poker Awards in Los Angeles, Andrew Neeme scooped two trophies and Cary Katz sparked some debate. But was anyone even watching?
From inside a small, but packed, banquet room at the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel, WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin hosted the fourth annual APAs while dozens, at times even hundreds, of people watched on livestream.
Neeme, a Las Vegas grinder who mostly plays $5/$10 and $2/$5 cash games, wasn’t the first to introduce vlogging to the poker community. You can credit Tim “TheTrooper97” Watts for starting the poker vlogging trend. But Neeme has perfected his craft.
On Thursday night, Neeme received recognition for his impact on poker and for helping to attract more players to the game. He was rewarded with a pair of trophies, Video Blogger of the Year and People’s Choice Award.
Neeme wasn’t in attendance to accept his awards, as he was in South Africa on a poker field trip. But he did post a humbling acceptance tweet.
“MASSIVE thanks to everyone who voted in the American Poker Awards. When all the hours put into a project resulted in true value for the audience (entertainment, info, or whatever the case) it’s an awesome feeling,” Neeme tweeted.
Neeme received over 10,000 fan votes in the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year, beating out Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Little, and Doug Polk for the award.
Full List of 2018 American Poker Awards Winners
- Breakout Player: Art Papazyan
- Tournament Performance: Scott Blumstein (WSOP Main Event)
- Moment of the Year: Ema Zajmovic, first woman to win a WPT title.
- Event of the Year: partypoker MILLIONS North America
- Mid-Major Circuit: WPTDeepStacks
- Journalist of the Year: Lance Bradley
- Broadcaster of the Year: Nick Schulman
- Media Content: Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story
- Podcast: Poker Central Podcast
- Video Blogger: Andrew Neeme
- Poker Streamer: Jaime Staples
- Industry Person: Matt Savage
- Poker’s Biggest Influencer: Cary Katz
- 2017 GPI American Player of the Year: Bryn Kenney
- 2017 GPI Female Player of the Year: Kristen Bicknell
- Lifetime Achievement in Poker: Norman Chad and Lon McEachern
- Charitable Initiative: Jacob Zalewski, One Step Closer Foundation
- Jury Prize: Eric Danis
- PocketFives Legacy Award: Ari Engel
- People’s Choice Award: Andrew Neeme
Only one award winner, Cary Katz, sparked much dissent. The Poker Central founder who also regularly competes in high-stakes games was voted in as “Poker’s Biggest Influencer,” beating out Doug Polk, Daniel Negreanu, and Matt Savage.
Katz’s impact on the game hasn’t been on the felt, although he’s no fish at the table. He’s played an integral role in creating new high-roller events, such as the Poker Masters and US Poker Open, along with bringing back the once popular Poker After Dark show. But some on social media aren’t convinced his contribution to the game is truly defined as an “influencer” by modern social media standards.