Since 2020, we have been awarding the best poker operators and innovators in the poker business with our PokerListings Operator Awards. Every year the operators are nominated and awarded in several categories.
Here are the winners and nominees from 2020:
Most improved Software 2020
Which operator has made the biggest leap forward in terms of its software? And what was the biggest software improvement for the industry? We award the operator that has put the most effort into their product over the last 12 months.
The winner of the most improved software award in 2020 is 888poker - largely due to its major mobile update in November. The new "Made to Play" software meant a visual facelift and more focus on players, based on feedback 888 gathered over months.
We thought the new portrait mode for tables was fantastic for playing one-handed on mobile. It's also easier to switch between tables and you get red notification dots so you never miss anything while playing. We also believe that removing chat on mobile, or rather replacing it with emojis, will help speed up games significantly and make them friendlier.
Nominees: partypoker, GGPoker, 888poker
Best Software 2020
This award is for outstanding software. Who has the sleekest interface, the best features and the best graphics right now? In this category we award the poker operator with the best overall software solution for players.
From a longevity standpoint, Pokerstars has been a consistent frontrunner in the poker software race since the beginning. They are always striving to update their award-winning offering and provide players with the best experience. And PokerStars are the pioneers of most modern internet poker features. One game that became more popular this year was their online home games variant. Another big plus are their multi-tabling options, which are second to none.
Aside from that, Stars has the most variety of games out of all the poker providers. This includes mixed games and more niche options for players. And you will always find an active game because they have players at the tables 24/7. All of this contributed to our decision to award PokerStars with the Best Overall Software award.
Nominees: PokerStars, GGPoker
Best Beginner Software 2020
Which operator offers the ideal environment for players who are brand new to the game? This prize goes to the poker site with the best product for newbies and which does the best job of attracting new online poker players.
888poker is rather cartoonish, but above all beginner-friendly. In addition, 888poker has a special beginner section as well as a great selection of low-stakes games.
There are plenty of promos and freerolls for players with no or a very small bankroll, and 888poker also currently offers the best bonus for new players.
All of this is why we voted 888poker the best poker newbie site of 2020.
Nominees: Unibet, 888poker, Tiger Gaming
Best Grinder Software 2020
PokerListings also awards the best software option for grinders. The award in this category goes to the operator that has the best environment for professional players. This includes the most extensive game selection and the most lucrative VIP program for players who play a lot of poker.
Grinders play regularly and are basically rake machines. So the fact that partypoker has such a good rakeback system is a big plus in this category. There aren't many poker providers that offer this in 2020 - hardly any offer over 40% like party.
There are always tables with medium to higher stakes and good player numbers around the clock. The software also supports HUDs, which makes it easier to play at multiple tables. The overall software package has also improved recently and even though there is still room for improvement here, partypoker narrowly prevails in this category.
Nominees: partypoker, PokerStars, William Hill
Best Poker Operator 2020
This award goes to the poker room that performed best overall this year - the all-rounder that ticked all the boxes: game options, support, promotions, tournament series and guarantees.
GGPoker had the biggest growth in 2020. The poker site refined the innovative built-in staking platform and offers software that focuses on recreational players. GGPoker was very active throughout the year, focusing on features that don't necessarily increase the expected value, but increase the fun factor.
That being said, we can't discount the numerous events they have hosted this year, such as the Battle of Malta. But more importantly, this year they hosted the first WSOP Online, setting new records in terms of prize money.
Nominees: partypoker, PokerStars, 888poker, GGPoker
Best Online Series 2020
There have been many great online series this year. But which one is the best in terms of overall event management, promotion and support? This award goes to the operator who gave us the best tournament series in 2020.
Winner: WCOOP 2020 (PokerStars)
In giving this award to PokerStars, we considered several factors such as the overall organization of the event, Tournament structure, branding, prize pools, and number of players and participants. The WCOOP was the only major online series of the year to offer mixed games in its tournament schedule, which included a 4-day Main Event with a $5,200 buy-in.
The Main Event had a prize pool of $10 million. PokerStars did a great job organizing the best online series of 2020, with the WCOOP narrowly beating the WSOP on GGPoker, as the latter only offered tournaments in NLH and PLO and had to deal with technical glitches in the beginning.
Nominees: WCOOP 2020 (PokerStars), WSOP (GGPoker), WSOP USA (WSOP.com), EPT Online (PokerStars), WPT Online (partypoker)
PokerListings Player's Favourite 2020
Which poker room has the most fans and dedicated players this year? Here it were the PokerListings readers who took center stage and voted for their favourite poker operator.
Players voted via a Facebook poll that lasted over 2 weeks. GGPoker came out on top with a landslide lead of over 1,000 votes. This made GGPoker this year's winner of the "Player Favourite" award.
Nominees: partypoker, PokerStars, 888poker, GGPoker, Unibet, William Hill, Tiger Gaming
Poker Innovation of the year 2020
Online poker is constantly evolving and new games and variants are constantly being added on all sites. But which operator had the best poker innovation in 2020? This award goes to the best new product idea this year.
Winner: Integrated Staking (GGPoker)
We can consider this the true poker innovation of 2020. A built-in staking platform has been in demand in the community for a long time. But until GGPoker, this was not possible as part of a poker site. Now you can support your favorite players and share in their excitement and winnings.
You can buy shares of a brand ambassador or a friend you believe in. Or you can sell your own action to play tournaments you wouldn't normally want to play.
The ease with which you can do this and how it brings a community together are the reasons why PokerListings gives the Poker Innovation of the Year Award to GGPoker.
Nominees: Real names in online tournaments (partypoker), Grand Tour knockout game (PokerStars), Integrated Staking (GGPoker)