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Holz, Filatov, Brenes Headline 2015 Spirit of Poker Award Finalists
The voting period for the 2015 PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards has officially closed and we have our three finalists in each of our three categories.
An eclectic mix of poker players from around the world, the nine finalists exemplify exactly what we envisioned when we created the awards in 2013.
There are "big" names and lesser-knowns, high-stakes pros and everyday grinders and eight different nationalities represented.
The third annual Spirit of Poker Awards will be handed out during the 2015 Battle of Malta and our readers have picked an impressive group on nominees to now pick a winner from.
Here are the finalists selected via fan voting.
Living Legend: Brenes, Cachia, Seidel
In our Living Legends category we’re honoring players who disprove the popular notion that poker is now a young person’s game.
These players consistently distinguish themselves with both extraordinary spirit and a level of skill that passes the test of time. They are true role models for players around the world.
Poker personalities in this pool for 2015 included characters like Dan Heimiller (US), long-time high roller and charity legend Barry Greenstein (US), eternal tournament regular Konstantin Puchkov (RUS), one-liner specialist and spearhead of Irish poker Padraig Parkinson (IRL), and Hollywood icon/poker player James Woods (US).
In the end the three players who captured your imagination the most were Humberto “The Chark” Brenes, Jackie “Pokermama” Cachia, and Erik “Seiborg” Seidel. Without a doubt there are good reasons for each of the three to be there.
Humberto Brenes is the man who single-handedly put Costa Rica on the poker map. A long-time PokerStars pro team member Brenes moved on from the team last year but not before he nailed 10 cashes at the WSOP.
An endless source of enthusiasm and poker stories Brenes has brought innumerable amounts of new players into the poker fold in Central America and beyond.
Jackie Cachia is our "surprise" candidate here but her nomination and number of votes show that a local hero with a bottomless passion for the game can inspire people as much as any WSOP bracelet.
And then there is Erik Seidel. Some call him “Sly;" some call him “Gentle Giant;" some call him “Seiborg." We just call him unstoppable.
Former winners of this category are Norwegian poker icon Thor Hansen and 2015 WSOP November Niner Pierre Neuville. Hansen and Neuville are also players that have stood the test of time in multiple ways. Read here how they literally fought death to find life in poker.
Most Inspiring Player: Filatov, Agarwal, Somerville
No game in the world is as multi-faceted and global as poker. This is why it can be equally well represented by Russian eccentric Anatoly Filatov, Indian phenomenon Aditya Agarwal, and US Twitch star Jason Somerville.
These are your most inspiring players of the last twelve months, edging out (still reigning) WSOP champion Martin Jacobson, highest ranking European in the GPI Davidi Kitai from Belgium, first European with four bracelets Max Pescatori from Italy, WSOP Last Woman Standing and social media activist Leo Margets and poker nomad Dominik Nitsche.
Seen by many as the most important category of the PokerListings Awards, a look at the past winners says a lot about the quality and qualities that players need to have to become the favorites of PokerListings readers.
The first winner was Japan’s first-ever bracelet winner Naora Kihara and last year Shannon Shorr earned the award.
Rising Star: Carrel, Urbanovich, Holz
The closest race in all of the PL awards categories. The top three all finished very close and results confirm these three have shown impressive performances over the last 12 months.
Charlie Carrel from England, known to some as the guy with the psychedelic attire, to others as Epiphany77, went from online player to €25k EPT Grand Final high roller winner within a year of his first live cash.
Dzmitry Urbanovich, a Belarussian player based in Poland, has been crushing one high roller event after the other, final tabling 18 events within one year and finishing in the top three 12 times.
Fedor Holz, another weapon in the German poker arsenal, has cashed big everywhere he's been since joining the live scene, from Barcelona to Vegas.
And that’s not even including his success as CrownUpGuy online, not the least of which is a WCOOP Main Event title. Even more impressively he continues to share his poker profits with noble causes via the REG Charity.
To the Panel
The PokerListings Awards Panel will now sit down this week to determine the winners in each category.
The final results will be published on Monday next week. Good luck to all of our deserving candidates!