The American Poker Awards is expected to host its 4th annual showcase event early next year, with the aim of recognizing players, media and industry representatives who have been a positive influence on the game throughout the 2017 calendar year.

The APA awards show is the largest of its kind dedicated to our industry, and could represent one night of collaboration between all facets of the poker world. With that goal, here are 5 Suggestions that could significantly improve the 2018 event, and legitimize the ceremony in the eyes of many poker fans around the world.

Suggestion #1: Video Conference Absentee Winners

One of the main drawbacks to the 2017 American Poker Awards was that a large percentage of the winners were unable to attend the festivities that were held in California. This is more than understandable for high profile professional poker players who spend much of their time at the live or virtual felts and have a busy travel schedule to battle with each year.

American Poker Awards organizers may be able to add more to the event by notifying absentee winners shortly before the event begins, and asking if they would like to address viewers via a live video conference. This would afford an opportunity for more trophy winners to communicate with their respective fan bases while also legitimizing the event by having more trophy-getters participate in the actual ceremony.

Suggestion #2: Have Joey Ingram Host At Least Part of the Show

Joey Ingram American Poker Awards

Joey Ingram — Poker Life Podcast

Kara Scott does a great job in any poker-related project she undertakes. So allowing Joey Ingram the opportunity to host the fourth annual American Poker Awards is not a vote against her, but rather an acknowledgement of the contributions players such as Joey have made to the game in 2017. In fact, the 2018 APA could be divided into sections with multiple hosts if that’s a better fit for viewers (scroll down to read more about this).

Ingram has become one of THE most influential people in poker media in recent years. He has also been a member of the official APA Jury, is a reigning Podcast of The Year award recipient himself, has welcomed American Poker Awards CEO Alex Dreyfus onto the Poker Life Podcast twice, and is widely known as a top liaison between poker players, media and operators.

His long-form shows routinely draw over 10,000 views while also serving as a video hub for player-based insight that has provided an enormous amount of value to the industry as a whole. In other words, Papi is the GTO option for hosting the 2018 American Poker Awards (if that’s a responsibility he wants to have).

Suggestion #3: Move Operator Awards to Beginning

That’s right. Move the American Poker Awards op section to the beginning of the show and have them yank the live stream curtain. Why would Alex Dreyfus or anyone involved in the APA consider doing this, you ask? Why… because the current environment demands it.

In case you haven’t heard — former Team PokerStars Pro Isaac Haxton has some extremely valid points to communicate about his former sponsor. There’s momentum to block the world’s largest poker site from entering California (although… be careful what you wish for on that one). Major operators are doing well despite a hard-line stance some of them have taken against pros. And players’ efforts are proving much more effective than operators in 2017 when it comes to actually communicating with a poker audience.

Open with Operators. Put Media in the middle (a natural fit if there ever was one), and have Players as the Main Event. Save what will surely be the most entertaining part for later on in the broadcast. This way the executive industry personnel can enjoy their meal, be formal, play to the niche crowd, inform, congratulate and mingle before the viewership demographic shifts considerably.

There are two operator awards that might merit moving up to a more prominent spot: Operator of The Year and Operator Person of The Year (or whatever titles these awards end up having). Those are the two that might be of interest to players… just please vote for winners that won’t come off as offensive to that “vocal minority” The Stars Group continues to ignore? One time?

If such awards are going to exist, communicate this to the audience in a way that can be easily timestamped, shared and most importantly justified by serious and casual poker fans alike.

Suggestion #4: American Poker Awards Archives

American Poker Awards Suggestion #4

SOURCE: Poker Life Podcast Timestamps (Cullen Connors)

This is one of the major flaws that have plagued not only the American Poker Awards, but Season 1 of the Global Poker League as well.

Televised award formats should follow a plan. That plan should be set ahead of time and communicated through execution. There are simply too many moving parts in an hours-long broadcast to be winging it with front-end products of this kind.

Think “Category Intro” – “Nominees” – “Winner” – then “Acceptance Speech” in the same way a casual poker fan would when he or she searches for post roll segments. And make it convenient for content producers (whether that’s YouTube personalities, forum contributors or poker media) to reference an archived 2018 American Poker Awards clip, or the entire show as needed/desired.

Suggestion #5: Don’t Forget About Doug Polk

Doug Polk American Poker Awards

Doug Polk (shunned by American Poker Awards in 2017)

Doug Polk has become one of THE premier poker personalities in 2017, and should be recognized as such even if PokerStars (the official APA sponsor) or Alex Dreyfus (the official APA administrator) don’t think so. *

* Author Retraction: American Poker Awards CEO Alex Dreyfus has communicated that there was “no involvement” by PokerStars or the APA to block Doug Polk from a 2017 nomination, while labeling this portion of the article as “spreading rumors” and “click-bait.”

Not counting his dedicated promotion of the game, numerous giveaways and outreach to the poker world in 2017, he’s also openly collaborated with operator interests ranging from high stakes action on Poker Night in America to penny games on the World Series of Poker online platform.

Joey Ingram, Andrew Neeme, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Fedor Holz, Lex Veldhuis, Bill Perkins and many other big-name personalities have done great things for the poker industry in 2017. And so has Doug Polk… even if certain members of the American Poker Awards voting panel dismiss him as little more than a “heel” personality.

* Author’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website, poker players, media, operators or the American Poker Awards.

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