On Friday, at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Global Poker Index launched the inaugural American Poker Awards, celebrating the very best poker players, industry workers, and media members in the United States and Canada during 2014.
The World Poker Tour was nominated in several categories, and is proud to announce that two members of the family received awards, along with one very special event.
Charitable Initiative of the Year: “All In” for Kids Poker Tournament Presented by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the WPT Foundation
The 2014 “All In” for Kids Charity Poker Tournament raised $910,000 for the Food Allergy Department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Held at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City, the event attracted some of the biggest pros in the game, including host Phil Hellmuth, co-founder and 2013 champion Dan Shak, American Poker Award winner Vanessa Selbst, and Season IX WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger. Also in attendance were WPT co-commentator Vince Van Patten, WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin, Rounders co-creator Brian Koppelman, and New York Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh.
The event also featured a charity auction where attendees were able to bid on sports memorabilia, vacations, and a VIP experience at the Season XIII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. The Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, a long-time supporter of “All In” for Kids, was instrumental in the evening’s success, donating all of the poker tables and dealers for the event.
Industry Person of the Year: Adam Pliska, WPT President
Under President Adam Pliska’s stewardship in 2014, the World Poker Tour obtained seven new strategic partners and sponsors, including DeepStacks, Monster Headphones, DraftKings, Skrill, Fiat, Royal Caribbean, and luxury Swiss watchmaker Hublot. These key partners represent millions of dollars in revenue for the WPT, and, more importantly, they provide tremendous incremental value to poker players around the globe. In 2014, WPT players received hundreds of free headphones from Monster, more than $400,000 in free watches from Hublot, seven free cruises from Royal Caribbean International, tens-of-thousands of dollars of free buy-ins from Skrill, thousands of dollars in Pocket Kings bonuses from DraftKings, and a free FIAT 500 Abarth Automatic.
Adam also led the effort to secure an exclusive partnership with Ourgame in Asia. This strategic alliance will enable Ourgame to hold WPT events in more than a dozen countries, including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. As a result, tens-of-thousands of social media players across Asia will be able to qualify for WPT events (700 qualified for WPT National China in October of 2014), and a plethora of established professionals will be hosted by Ourgame and have the opportunity to travel throughout the region and enjoy VIP experiences unlike anywhere else in the world.
Lifetime Achievement in Poker: Steve Lipscomb, WPT Founder
World Poker Tour is “the show that started it all,” and with assistance from legends like Mike Sexton, Linda Johnson, and Lyle Berman, WPT founder and former CEO Steve Lipscomb is the man that started it all.
For his vision and execution, Steve was awarded the inaugural APA Lifetime Achievement in Poker award by friend and Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus. Now in it’s thirteenth season, World Poker Tour continues to grow, boasting record ratings on Fox Sports Networks in 2014.
One by one, Steve invited nearly a dozen members of the WPT family to join him on stage and help accept the award.
“This is so much bigger than poker,” Steve said at the podium, surveying the crowd with a smile on his face. “It’s the American dream embodied in a new sport.”
Congratulations to Adam, Steve, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and everyone else who was honored at the inaugural American Poker Awards.
Here are a few photos of the spectacular event, courtesy of revolutionpix and the Global Poker Index: