The Aviation Club de France in Paris brought together the superstars of poker on Wednesday, the 26th of January, 2012, for the presentation of the 11th Annual European Poker Awards. It's not surprising that some of poker's exceptional young stars won awards, including Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Pius Heinz, and Sam Trickett.
The "Player of the Year" award was heavy with super-star competition but Sam Trickett beat out the likes of Grospellier, Heinz, Jake Cody, Eugene Katchalov, and Andrey Pateychuk to take down the honors. In 2011 Tricket won almost $4.5 Million on the tournament circuit which included the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge and the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.
Trickett was not available to accept the award but he sent out a tweet to acknowledge how happy he was.
Grospellier, Heinz, and Pateychuk didn't leave empty handed although Player of the Year is the 'one to win.' The "Poker Personality of 2011" award went to Grospellier who won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2011 to take down the coveted Triple Crown along with actively promoting poker - both online and around the world in casino events. PLUS, he tried to bust the chops of his friend and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis in a kickboxing match.
PokerNews reporter Laura Cornelius was on hand to speak with Grospellier about his award. "It's my first personality award so that's why I'm really proud of it. It feels really good to be recognized because the past few years I've tried to be a better ambassador for the game."
The "Best Tournament Performance" award went to Heinz for winning the WSOP Main Event in November. Heinz also became the first German to win the Main Event and took down more than $8.7 million for his incredible feat.
"Rookie of the Year" was captured by Pateychuk in a phenomenal run where he won two legs of the Triple Crown in less than two months; the run began in October when he took down the PokerStars EPT San Remo Main Event to the tune of $875,470 and in December he picked up another $630,000 for winning the World Poker Tour Prague Main Event. He also took 15th place in the 2011 WSOP Main Event for $478,174. At 21 years of age, Pateychuk has plenty of time to blow the lid off all the records that stand now.
"This prize is very important to me and I'm very glad to get it," Pateychuk told PokerNews. "I hope this year I'll be able to win a WSOP bracelet and finish my Triple Crown. That is a big goal of mine."
Other awards that were given: Ilari Sahamies won the award for Online Player of the Year, Natalia Nikitina for Europe's Leading Lady, Warren Lush for Staff Person of the Year, and the WSOP Cannes for Event of the Year.
The "Lifetime Achievement Award" went to poker commentator Jesse May. May has been involved with more than a dozen poker television series and in receiving his award, he joined the ranks of Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, John Duthie, Thomas Kremser, Marcel Luske, Bruno Fitoussi, and Nic Szeremeta who have been recognized for their achievements in the game.
Laura Cornelius has a video recap of the 11th Annual European Poker Awards for your viewing pleasure.