Just as the European Poker Tour (EPT) rolled into Barcelona, Spain, to launch its fifth season of poker tournaments, they kicked it all of with a bang. The EPT Awards were held on September 9th at the Opium del Mar to honor the achievements of players – and even the media – during Season 4. When it was all said and done, Julian Thew and Mike McDonald walked away with two awards each, and Luca Pagano was awarded Player of the Year honors.
The ceremony was hosted by Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu and video interviewer Gloria Balding. The party took place near the beach on the Mediterranean at the Opium del Mar bar and nightclub, and the first ever EPT Awards went off with much success.
Awards were given on the basis of a voting panel of judges, though two of the seven categories – People’s Choice Award and Poker Writer’s Award – were judged by an online vote, the public voting for the former, and the poker media voting for the latter as the player they most enjoyed interviewing and writing about. The panel consisted of EPT Executive Director John Duthie, former PokerStars Online Card Room Manager Lee Jones, Team PokerStars Pro Victoria Coren, and PokerNews Editor-in-Chief John Caldwell.
Duthie was quoted as saying, “The EPT Awards, which we expect to become a regular feature on the EPT, look back at last season’s record breaking tour and acknowledge the achievements of the players who once again dazzled us all with their exceptional poker skills.”
And without further ado, the winners of the night were as follows:
EPT Season 4 Player of the Year: Luca Pagano Best Newcomer: Trond Eidsvig Performance of the Year: Julian Thew Overseas Player of the Year: Mike “Timex” McDonald PokerStars Qualifier fo the Year: Danny Ryan Poker Writer’s Award: Julian Thew People’s Choice Award: Mike McDonald
Luca Pagano seemed to be the crowd favorite, and all winners appreciated the honor and the trophy that was bestowed upon them. The awards ceremony was not only a gathering of everyone involved with the EPT, but it gave credit to the players who made the fourth season such a memorable one.
When it was all said and done, party goers enjoyed the festivities of the evening but with a bit of caution. The first of two starting days of the EPT Barcelona was set to begin the following day, and every player there hoped to not only perform well but secure a possible spot in the EPT Awards ceremony likely to take place next year to honor this season’s best performers. And on Day 1, everyone and anyone is in the running.