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Brenes, Filatov and Carrel Triumph in 2015 Spirit of Poker Voting
After three months of fan voting and a long, heated debate by the PokerListings panel the winners of the 2015 Spirit of Poker Awards have been determined.
Costa Rican poker legend Humberto Brenes, Russian spark plug Anatoly Filatov and psychedelic young Brit Charlie Carrel will receive PokerListings’ own Spirit of Poker Awards during the 2015 Battle of Malta.
Brenes will collect the Living Legend Award, Filatov Most Inspiring Player and Carrel the Rising Star Award.
Brenes a True Legend
In our Living Legend category there was no denying that fan favorite Humberto Brenes, the spearhead of Latin-American poker, deserved more than just an honorable mention as a nominee.
“The Chark” was nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame last year and didn’t make the shortlist this year, but Brenes took up tournament poker the year (1974!) before Daniel Negreanu was born.
He’s an old school, all-round player who feels just as comfortable in NLHE as in Omaha Hi-Lo or Ace-Five Triple Draw.
Brenes came fourth in the WSOP main event before any of the GPI top 20 were even born and was one of the early members of Team PokerStars, joining in 2006 and staying on for nine years.
Still, despite all his success, Brenes never considered himself a professional player. He was always involved in a business on the side to keep poker more fun than work.
It showed in his joy at the tables and that clearly still resonates with fans as Brenes easily collected the most votes overall to top fellow nominees like Erik Seidel and Barry Greenstein.
Congratulations to Humberto Brenes from everyone at PokerListings! We look forward to greeting him at the Battle of Malta in early November and seeing Maria Ho hand over our Living Legends Award to “the epitome of competitive spirit and class” (Nolan Dalla).
Filatov in a Landslide for Most Inspiring Player
Our search for the Most Inspiring Player over the last 12 months found such a clear winner this year there wasn't much to discuss.
Russian Anatoly Filatov received over 70% of the total votes to make him the runaway choice and obvious driving force in one of the most important markets in the poker economy.
Known online and on Twitter as nl_profit Filatov has amassed $1.8 million in earnings and transitioned to being a regular at the biggest live tournaments around the world.
Filatov represents the fastest growing poker room in Russia – Pokerdom – and is known for being a meticulous worker who spends a lot of time coaching other players.
Long before Twitch Filatov was also one of the first players who streamed his games live using a website now known as gosupoker.
For the European Poker Awards held last March in Malta he was elected to be on the panel of judges who picked the winners.
With his outspoken nature and his memorable style Filatov won the PokerListings readers over to defeat Indian superstar Aditya Agarwal and Twitch phenomenon Jason Somerville, both of whom have recently joined the PokerStars pro team.
Last not least his famous “Filatov splits” show that he’s one of the modern players who values physical fitness just as highly as mental vigor. Kudos from PokerListings to Anatoly Filatov, who on his next trip to Malta will be on the receiving side of an awards ceremony.
Carrel Claims Rising Star
It's always difficult to predict if a young gun who’s had some early success will make it to the top of the international elite and stay there.
This year there's no doubt in our minds that each of the top three players in the Rising Star category will have long careers in the game if they choose to.
We'll hear from Charlie Carrel, Dzmitry Urbanovich and Fedor Holz for many years but it was British player Carrel who has collected and inspired the most fans among the readers of PokerListings so far.
Carrel has risen to the highest levels of the game in a dazzlingly short timeframe, going from ranking around 20,000 in the GPI to the top 200 within the last 12 months; from depositing $15 to playing NL5k; from being a relatively anonymous online player as 'epiphany77' to EPT Grand Final high roller champion.
This was the closest race of the three categories of the Spirit of Poker Awards and in the final vote Carrel rose to the top over German wunderkind Holz, who just may have grown right past the level of 'rising' and into the legend category.
Kudos to Mr Carrel; we look forward to presenting your award at the Battle of Malta.
Ceremony at Battle of Malta in November
Our three winners follow in the footsteps of popular poker personalities Shannon Shorr, Pierre Neuville, Dominik Panka, Thor Hansen, Naoya Kihara and Luca Moschitta.
This is the third year PokerListings has presented the Spirit of Poker Awards and the list of nine winners already covers some of the most fascinating and inspiring players around the globe.
Representing nine different nationalities they also show just how far-reaching the game of poker has become and hint at how much further it can go.
Host Maria Ho will present our latest group of awards at the Battle of Malta 2015, held November 4-9 at the Portomaso Casino in St. Julian’s.
There are still lots of seats for the “Best Low Buy-in Tournament of the Year" winner at last year's European Poker Awards. Buy your complete package here or qualify online at one of our partnering online poker rooms.