The European Poker Awards were held on Wednesday at the Portomaso Marina Hilton Hotel in St. Julians, Malta, honoring the top performances by European poker players in 2014.
The ceremony drew hundreds of individuals who were part of Europe’s vibrant poker community, and were sponsored by the Global Poker Index (GPI).
Schemion, Boeree Named Players of the Year
Given their key role in the awards, it should come as no surprise that the GPI rankings were critical in two of the biggest prizes awarded during the ceremony. The GPI Player of the Year award went to Ole Schemion, as he accumulated the most GPI ranking points over the course of 2014.
Schemion, one of a number of top-level German pros, had a monster year, winning at EPT San Remo and in an Aria $100,000 Super High Roller in Las Vegas last summer. Overall, Schemion won more than $2.8 million in live tournaments during 2014.
The winner of Europe’s GPI Female Player of the Year award was Liv Boeree, who put in solid performances throughout the year to take down that title. While she didn’t have any major tournament victories in 2014, she did cash eight times in high level events, including a second place finish in the UK and Ireland Poker Tour’s Edinburgh Main Event.
There was more mystery surrounding the rest of the awards, as they were voted on by a panel of industry experts and the winners weren’t known until they were announced at the ceremony. Of course, that didn’t mean that some of the winners weren’t a little predictable.
Martin Jacobson was the clear favorite to win Tournament Performance of the Year, as his win in the World Series of Poker Main Event wasn’t just one that came in the biggest event of the year, but also one that showed off his skills as he masterfully worked his way through the final table.
Salter Named Breakout Player
The Breakout Player of the Year award went to Jack Salter. The English player was a constant presence on the European Poker Tour throughout 2014, and scored big by finishing second at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, a prize worth €765,000 ($834,000). He also won a Six Max event at the 2014 Aussie Millions.
As with the American Poker Awards, many of the prizes went to influential members of the poker industry rather than players. For instance, the Media Person of the Year award went to Marc Convey, commentator for the European Poker Tour. The Event of the Year awards went to the Battle of Malta in the “Under $2,000” category, while the EPT Vienna Main Event took the award for higher buy-in tournaments.
Pierre Neuville Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
One very special honor went to Pierre Neuville, who took home the Lifetime Achievement Award. Neuville is a mainstay in EPT fields, and has won over $2.1 million in tournament play, making him the second-winningest Belgian poker player of all time (trailing only Davidi Kitai).
Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment, however, was managing to qualifying for 23 consecutive EPT main events through online satellites, then managing to cash in about 40 percent of those tournaments.
The European Poker Awards were determined by a nomination and voting process that included more than 60 poker industry experts. From those nominations, four finalists were determined, after which winners were picked by an eight-person jury, including both media members and top professional players.