Get Your SOPA Votes in Now! Gale, Nilsen, Ramos Edge Ahead

Felipe Ramos
Ramos: Joy of poker personified.

For the fourth year in a row, PokerListings will present the Spirit of Poker Awards at the Battle of Malta this November.

These awards were created and designed for one reason - to recognize players who’ve left and continue to leave a special, lasting impression in the poker world beyond huge tournament wins.

A love of the game, a joy shared at the tables and a commitment to expanding the understanding of the game into the mainstream – these are just a few ways our nominees convey the real “Spirit of Poker."

The nominees for this year's awards were announced earlier this summer and fan voting is in its final stages.

Who is your Most Inspiring Player, the most promising young gun and a true poker living legend? Vote on our SOPA page for your personal favorite!

Bendik, Gale, O’Dea Lead Legends

In our Living Legends categories we honor players who’ve held their ground in poker for decades and show no signs of slowing down.

John Gale
John Gale.

Like past winners Pierre Neuville, Thor Hansen and Humberto Brenes these are players who’ve battled with the best and don’t flinch when things get rough - either in poker or in life.

Currently leading the voting:

  • Jan Bendik -- The Czech regular on the EPT and most other poker tours in Europe, North America and Asia finally won a big title, taking down the 2015 EPT Grand Final.
  • John Gale -- The English gentleman and bracelet holder has fought and won far tougher battles than there will ever be at a poker table.
  • Donnacha O’Dea -- One of the pioneers who brought Texas Hold’em to Europe over 30 years ago, the first Irish man to reach the WSOP final and a role model for a whole poker generation.

Head to the Living Legends page and vote for the player you think should carry the torch for the legends this year. Also still in contention are Konstantin Puchkov and Barny Boatman.

Luca, Nilsen, Treccarichi Rise

Silje Nilsen 2044
Silje Nilsen

A “Rising Star” isn’t just a player who won a million dollars when he or she was barely old enough to walk into a casino.

Rising Stars are emerging players who’ve scored a series of impressive results but also show they can keep up their heads in a tough environment and/or share their experiences with the poker community.

Leading votegetters in the Rising Stars category:

Ivan Luca -- the Argentinian has become sort of a spearhead of South American poker. Steadily climbing in winnings and rankings since 2011, he’s a case in point for how to build long-term success in poker.

Silje Nilsen -- One of the latest additions of the bottomless pool of skilled Scandinavians to the poker world, Silje has not only had major tournament success but is also one of the most fun and most authentic players to have at the table.

Walter Treccarichi -- A surprise draft choice for the Rome Emperors of the Global Poker League, he's shown since he’s not a fluke. Constantly running deep in tournaments all over the world, he’s living the dream that still has players take up poker every day.

Also still in the running are Rainer Kempe and Samantha Abernathy; head to the Rising Stars page to place your vote.

Kuo, Ramos, de Melo Inspire Equally

The Most Inspiring Player has always been considered the main category of the Spirit of Poker awards and our 2016 nominees have all done outstanding things in the last 12 months that have caught everyone’s attention.

Indefatigable de Melo.

This year the voting is so close it’s impossible to tell who’s going to win; it’ll likely come down to the very last votes to come in.

Kitty Kuo -- Any way you look at it, Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo is a rock star. Check her results, check the Taiwanese all-time money list, check her Twitter or, if you're lucky enough to have the chance, go talk to her in person. You’ll understand why so many people have been inspired by her at and away from the tables.

Felipe Ramos -- An essential face of the poker boom in Brazil, one of the top players in the GPL, friend of superstars like Neymar and still a down-to-earth guy with an open, friendly personality. That’s Felipe Ramos for you in a nutshell. The joy of playing poker radiates off him.

Fatima de Melo -- Former Olympic gold medallist, singer and always entertaining at and away from the tables. As a frequent and popular guest in the EPT commentator booth, she’s shown more all-around skills than any nominee in this category.

Head to the Most Inspiring Player page to vote for who you think inspires most in the poker world. All the nominees still a chance to win and that includes fellow nominees Daniel Cates, Mike Leah, Dominik Nitsche, Luca Pagano and Vladimir Troyanovsky.

Voting Closes August 31

It’s now up to you to determine who will be on the shortlist for the PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards 2016. Once the top three candidates in each category have been decided our PokerListings editorial panel will determine the winner.

Head to the PokerListings Awards page for a quick overview of all the 2016 nominees. Public voting ends August 31 so have your say now!

PokerListings will publish the winners in September. The awards ceremony will take place during the Battle of Malta in November with the presentation of the medals by host Maria Ho.

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