Pagano earns EPT Player of the Year

Luca Pagano

Before the PokerStars European Poker Tour started up its fifth season in Barcelona this week, it celebrated with an award ceremony to honor players from Season 4. The big winner of the evening was Luca Pagano, who was chosen as the EPT Player of the Year.

Along with the Player of the Year, the PokerStars EPT Awards also named Best Newcomer, Best Performance, Best Overseas Player, Best PokerStars Qualifier, a Poker Writers Award and People's Choice Award winners.

All but the last two categories were chosen by a panel of judges that included poker player and author Lee Jones, EPT creator John Duthie, poker player and TV presenter Vicky Coren, and poker writer and editor John Caldwell.

The poker media was able to vote to give the Poker Writers Award to a player, and the general public was able to vote to award the People's Choice Award.

And the winners were:

  • Best Newcomer: Trond Eidsvig
  • Best Performance: Julian Thew
  • Best Overseas Player: Mike McDonald
  • Best PokerStars Qualifier: Danny Ryan
  • Poker Writers Award: Julian Thew
  • People's Choice Award: Mike McDonald

Trond Eidsvig is from Alesung, Norway, and went up against a tough field to win the Best Newcomer award. Denes Kalo, Jason Mercier, Annette Obrestad and Mike McDonald were all nominated for the category as well.

However, Eidsvig's final table at the Polish Open as well as two other cashes in EPT Season 4 were enough to put him above the rest.

Mike McDonald didn't need to worry about a loss in that category - he managed to pick up two other awards during the night. He was named Best Overseas Player and won the People's Choice Award, which wasn't much of a surprise considering the Canadian's win at the EPT German Open.

Julian Thew was also a double winner for the evening, picking up Best Performance and the Poker Writers Award. Thew notched a win at the EPT Baden last season at a final table that included Ted Lawson and Thierry van den Berg in addition to nominee for Best Newcomer Denes Kalo.

That just leaves Danny Ryan as the best PokerStars Qualifier for Season 4. McDonald was also nominated for this category, as were Glen Chorny, Christian Harder and Isaac Baron.

Ryan, who plays at PokerStars as The_D_RY, had a fifth-place finish at the EPT Scandinavian Open, and nearly missed the final table, coming in in 10th place at the German Open.

Season 5 of the EPT started this week as well with a stop in Barcelona, so now players can vie for the top cash prize and perhaps a nomination for this season's awards.

See how the cards are falling for your favorite players in our live coverage of the event.

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