The eighth edition of the prestigious annual European Poker Awards took place at the Aviation Club in Paris last week, celebrating 2008's poker peaks in the region and featuring several well known names.
Among the awards was the Player of the Year, which this year went to the respected French online and land player Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier in the face of some formidable competition from fellow nominees Neil Channing (UK), Andreas Krause (Germany), Marty Smyth (Ireland) and fellow Frenchman David Benyamine. The citation honoured the Team Poker Stars player, recounting his achievements from the opening months of 2008 with a Poker Stars Caribbean victory through the WPT Festa del Lago and a 2008 Poker Stars World Championship of Online Poker cash.
Most Notable Tournament Performance of 2008 went to this year's most youthful WSOP winner yet, Peter Eastgate (22) from Denmark, whilst the "Europe's Leading Lady" title went to Germany's Sandra Naujoks for good performances at EPT Budapest and winning the Main Event of the CAPT Baden Open.
Russian ace Ivan Demidov was voted "Rookie of the Year" after second- and third-place finishes in the WSOP/WSOPE main events, with fellow nominees Stephen Chadwick (UK), David Kitai (Belgium), Jesper Hougard (Denmark), Sebastian Ruthenburg (Germany) and Alexander Kostritsyn proving plenty of competition for the award.
The respected Dutch veteran player Marcel Luske entered the European poker hall of fame with this year's Lifetime Achievement Reward, ranking him alongside legendary industry personalities of the calibre of Dave Colclough, Thomas Kremser and Dave ‘the Devilfish' Ulliott. Widely dubbed the "Flying Dutchman", Lüske has not only been one of the most colorful characters on the circuit but also one of the most successful, with career earnings in excess of $3.7 million, the citation noted.
The Rob Gardner Award for Innovation went to Dusk Till Dawn land and online poker room entrepreneur Rob Yong, a UK based businessman and poker enthusiast who in 2005 dreamed of setting up a land and online poker club titled Dusk Till Dawn and saw the project through many obstacles to a highly successful conclusion.
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