Mustapha Kanit was picked #1 in the Global Poker League draft as expected. Many industry figures were honored in the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards. PokerStars will officially be back in the United States as of March 21. The daily fantasy sports industry continues to implode.

Surprises Abound in Season 1 Global Poker League Draft

Take a look at any poker media site today, and you’re almost certain to find something about yesterday’s events at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. These included the three panels of the American Poker Conference in the morning, the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards in the evening, and the draft day for the inaugural season of the Global Poker League sandwiched in between.

PokerNews and PocketFives were both quick out of the gates with brief rundowns of the selections, presented with minimal commentary.

Lee Davy at CalvinAyre offered a lengthier and more enthusiastic summary.

The mainstream media has been surprisingly keen on the GPL, and Kevin Taylor offered some thorough analysis of the picks in a piece for USA TODAY.

Here at PartTimePoker, I ran down what I thought were the event’s five biggest surprises.

PokerListings also posted a piece breaking down some of the day’s surprises and snubs.

Even in Losing, Negreanu Wins

Meanwhile, the American Poker Awards unfolded more predictably for the most part. Many of the winners were shoe-ins, like the Colossus for Event of the Year Under $2000, WPT Director and TDA Founder Matt Savage for Industry Person of the Year and Kara Scott for Poker Presenter of the Year. Meanwhile, Kevin Mathers, media legend and “the most patient man on Twitter” was given his due in the form of the Jury Award.

If there was any controversial decision, it was the award for Poker Moment of the Year, which went to Daniel Negreanu’s elimination just shy of the final table in this summer’s World Series of Poker Main Event. For some, it was just further evidence that Negreanu is an industry darling who will be in the spotlight no matter what he does, but at the same time, it’s undeniable that his loss on the river to eventual winner Joe McKeehen and subsequent collapse to the floor is probably the single most lasting image of the year in the minds of the casual poker-viewing public.

Quick Hitters

PokerStars has set March 21 as opening day for its newly legalized operations in the state of New Jersey. PokerStars NJ must keep its users separate from the global player pool, but it is nonetheless an important step in bringing online poker back to the US.

– It’s a good-news-bad-news day for online gaming in the US, however, as the site FantasyHub continues to refuse to pay its players. Meanwhile, LegalSportsReport is of the opinion that the lobbying of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association is contrary to the best interests of players and will only lead to additional scandals in the same vein.

– In a much anticipated instalment of Joey Ingram’s podcast, Jason Mo debated Remko Rinkema on the subject of Phil Galfond’s op-ed for PokerNews, and whether it should have been published. You can watch the replay on YouTube.