One of the special functions of the poker world that went away as the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020 is set to return this February. The 2022 edition of the Global Poker Awards, honoring the best and brightest of the poker world in 2021, will be held on February 18, 2022, at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The ceremony will be live-streamed on PokerGO, as it was the las time it was held in early 2020.

Over 20 Hashies — my term for the award, and it hasn’t caught on, despite my best efforts — will be awarded in as many categories that cover the entire poker spectrum. Several of the awards are tied directly to the related Global Poker Index, for such categories as Player of the Year and Female Player of the Year. Those were the types of categories that really couldn’t be awarded in early 2021 for 2020 action, since so much of 2020’s live-poker events were cancelled. That in turn led to last year’s would-be Global Poker Awards never even being scheduled.

A couple of the other awards are also player-oriented, including the Player’s Choice for Toughest Opponent, and Poker ICON awards. The fans get their say as well. Voting will soon be opened on three special “Fan’s Choice” categories, likely through the GPA’s online home within the Global Poker Index website. Two of the three fan-voting categories are likely to reprise popular categories from two years ago — the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year, and the People’s Choice for Hand of the Year. What the third fan-based honor might be hasn’t been revealed.

Most of the other awards are decided by the Global Poker Awards’ expansive “industry” panel and honor all manner of things as viewed from the industry perspective, from best poker tours and events — both live and online — to the best content being produced throughout the poker world. That again takes several forms, from short, written content to books and photos, and even online vlogs.

A bit of a disclaimer: I’ve been a voter for the Global Poker Awards for several years, even though I beg off of voting in a couple of categories, such as Best Vlogger, based on my own lack of knowledge in the category. I like vlogs, but I just never get around to actually watching many of them. The first year that GPI/THM president Eric Danis asked me to join the voter’s panel I actually begged off the entire enterprise, since I thought there’s be so many categories where I’d also be short of the knowledge I needed to make a wise choice. But then I realized a lot of the other voters were as clueless as me, hardy-har, so I decided to join the fun.

And I think that’s why I’ve come to enjoy the whole Global Poker Awards concept, precisely because it is a bit of fun amid an otherwise cutthroat business. I’ve also yet to attend the awards ceremony in person. That’ll happen one of these years, though perhaps not in 2022, with the latest COVID-19 surge, I’m older, I don’t have the greatest immune system, and traveling cross-country on a flight amid a surge of a contagious virus gives me pause. Besides, there are plenty of Vegas-based industry folk to make sure the February event will be well-attended.

There’ll even be a special “KevMath” sighting. A few days ago, amid an interview I did of poker’s info-source extraordinaire, Kevin Mathers, he disclosed that one of his first major duties as the new Poker Information Manager for GPI/THM would be helping to coordinate this February’s ceremony. I asked if we’d get to see Kevin in a tuxedo, and he said no, probably not that much, though a dress shirt and a tie will likely replace his normal polo shirt for the evening. (Whether he’d make a cameo as an award presenter is something I lobbied for but may not happen.)

Again, it’s all in good fun, a chance for a light-hearted evening that’s separate from the normal day-to-day grind of the poker world. The Global Poker Awards has turned out to be that entity that the poker world didn’t know it needed until the pandemic took it away, at least for one year. I missed that it wasn’t around last year. So did Danis, GPI/THM’s president. “After having to skip last year’s ceremony due to the pandemic,” he told me, “we’re really happy to finally be able to announce the date of the next Global Poker Awards. We cannot wait for the whole globe to get together to celebrate the top performers in our industry once again!”

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