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Make Your Picks for 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards in New Poll!


Who’s your favorite rookie? Who’s been impressive for decades? Which player did you find the most inspiring over the last 12 months?

Make your voice heard.

Every year PokerListings presents the Spirit of Poker Award in conjunction with the Battle of Malta. This award is different from the other awards that you know, just like the Battle of Malta is different from many other poker tournaments.

It’s less about financial success, ranking points or public attention but rather about personality and value for the poker industry. It’s an award from players for players and that’s why you get to decide who should be the chosen one.

Cast your vote in every one of our three categories. The three players with the most votes in each category will make the second round and then it’s up to our panel of experts to determine the winner.

The presentation ceremony will take place during the BOM Main Event and hosted by our new host Gaëlle Garcia Diaz.

Here’s our list of nominees for each category. This list is not exhaustive and there are surely many other players who would deserve to be in there. Check the honorable mentions for just a few of them.

Category 1 – The Rising Star

In this category we predict who’s going make biug headlines in the future. These players caught our attention for either having an extraordinary impact despite their young age or for having skills that only make it a question of time before they have their international breakthrough.

Vivian Saliba

Some names you might be familiar with, while others you might not – yet.

The nominees are:

  • Kelly Winterhalter  (USA)
  • Oriol Fernandez (Spain)
  • Espen Uhlen Jørstad (Norway)
  • Parker "TonkaaaaP" Talbot (Canada)
  • Vivian Saliba (Brazil)

Go to our Rising Star page to find out more about the nominees and why we think they have a bright future in poker.

Honorable mentions – These players were also up for nomination but didn’t quite get there: Koray Aldemir (GER), Will Kassouf (GB), Scott Blumstein (USA), Tomas Söderström (SWE), Sander van Wesemael (NL), Aditya Sushant (IND), Christopher Frank (GER), Ema Zajmovic (CAN).

Past winners – Luca Moschitta (2013), Dominik Panka (2014), Charlie Carrel (2015), Silje Nilsen (2016).

Category 2 – Living Legends

Mike Sexton

These are the players without whom we wouldn’t even be here. They paved the way for poker’s success when they played the grandfathers of today’s champions and they’re still around, holding their ground.

You might say that they are really the best players in the world. The nominees for the Living Legends Award 2017 are

  • Barny Boatman (ENG)
  • Padraig Parkinson (IRL)
  • Mike Sexton (USA)
  • Marcel Luske (NED)
  • Per Hildebrand (SWE)

Head over to our Living Legends page to read more about the players who’ve been there, done that and worn the T-Shirt when most of us were still a twinkle in your daddy’s eye.

Honorable mentions – These players were recognized as nominees but didn’t make the top five spots. Barry Greenstein (USA), Donnacha O’Dea (IRL), John Duthie (ENG), Jan Bendik (SLO).

Past winners – Pierre Neuville (2013), Thor Hansen (2014), Humberto Brenes (2015), Konstantin Puchkov (2016).

Category 3 – Most Inspiring Player

The main category of PokerListings’ Spirit of Poker Awards rewards the player that has overall been the most valuable for the poker community – not in the sense of how much money they made, but how much they’ve done in between hands and away from the table.

John Hesp

Which of the following players do you think deserves a thumbs-up and some official recognition for what they’ve done?

Our nominees are

  • Liv Boeree (ENG)
  • Jeff Gross (USA)
  • Kenny Hallaert (BEL)
  • John Hesp (ENG)
  • Max Pescatori (ITA)
  • Mikhail Semin (RUS)
  • Ema Zajmovic (CAN)
  • Jamie Staples (CAN)

Go to the MIP page in the PokerListings Battle of Malta section to get a clearer picture of who you should vote for in our main category.

Honorable mentions – We had to draw a line somewhere, and these players for various reasons just fell below it: Bill Perkins (USA), Tony Bloom (ENG), Adrian Mateos (SPA), Sam Grafton (ENG), Doug Polk (USA), Nipun Java (IND), Phil Gruissem (GER).

Past winners – Naoya Kihara (2013), Shannon Shorr (2014), Anatoly Filatov (2015), Felipe Ramos (2016).

How can I vote in the PL Spirit of Poker Awards?

We have polls on each of the category pages, so all you need to do is tick a box.
Here you have all the links at a glance.

About the Battle of Malta

The BOM is a success story. It’s PokerListings’ own poker event and it’s set near the PokerListings European headquarters in the Portomaso Casino in Malta.

Since the inaugural event in 2012 it’s grown every year and now has almost six times the number of players it started out with. Within three years it developed so much it was elected “Best low buy-in tournament in Europe” at the European Poker Awards.

Last year the main event had 1813 entries to bring the prize pool up to almost €1 million, which is unique for a €550 buy-in tournament. Robert Berglund from Sweden became the player who collected all the chips. He took home €160,000.

You can qualify online for the Battle of Malta. Click through to see where. There are also lots of live qualifiers at the Portomaso Casino, which you can find here.