For the 2008 calendar year, there was no doubt that a few players stood out with their poker performances. And though they have their moments of glory when winning an event, it is nevertheless nice to be recognized on a larger scale. The European Poker Awards does just that, with a ceremony in January of 2009 at the Aviation Club in Paris France and honors for players who were voted the best in their respective categories.
The European Poker Awards focuses on European players and their successes around the world, but also recognizes casino staff and media for their contributions to the European tournament circuit. The latter went to Jonathan Raab, manager of the Grosvernor United Kingdom Poker Tour for his success in growing the GUKPT. And in a special award presentation, Rob Yong took home the Rob Gardner Award for Innovation for his creative poker room idea in Great Britain that skirted the laws and opened doors for poker in the U.K.
In the area of poker tournament performances and results, it was Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier who won the Player of the Year honor, as his year was highlighted by a $2 million PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and a World Poker Tour victory . His successes were significant in 2008, and it was not much of a surprise that ElkY won the European POY. Peter Eastgate won the Tournament Performance of the Year award for his victory, especially his four-hour heads-up match with Ivan Demidov, at the 2008 WSOP main event. Demidov himself picked up the Rookie of the Year award, and Sandra Naujoks won the Leading Lady award because of her superb tournament performances in 2008.
The coveted Lifetime Achievement award was given to Marcel Luske, a two-time previous winner of the POY award and long-time professional poker player and spokesperson for the game.
The entire list of nominees and winners of the 2008 European Poker Awards are as follows:
Rookie of the Year: Ivan Demidov Other nominees: Stephen Chidwick, Davidi Kitai, Jesper Hougaard, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Alexander Kostritsyn, Peter Eastgate
Best Tournament Performance: Peter Eastgate Other nominees: Neil Channing, Bertrand Grospellier, David Benyamine, Marty Smyth, Jesper Hougaard, Sebastian Ruthenberg
Player of the Year: Bertrand Grospellier Other nominees: David Benyamine, Andreas Krause, Marty Smyth, Neil Channing
Europe’s Leading Lady: Sandra Naujoks Other nominees: Isabelle Mercier, Kara Scott, Annette Obrestad, Svetlana Gromenkova
Casino Staff Person of the Year: Jonathan Raab Other nominees: Thomas Kremser, Sylvie Berlanger, Simon Trumper, Madeleine Harper
Rob Gardner Award for Innovation: Ron Yong Other nominees: Gene Gioia, Jonathan Raab, PokerStars Team (Francine Watson, Conrad Brunner, Madeleine Harper)