Why Was Chad Holloway Not Nominated for an American Poker Award?
I’ve decided to pass on attending this year’s American Poker Awards, to be held in Los Angeles this weekend.
There are a number of reasons for this, which I won’t get into at the moment. I do want to express my support for the idea of handing out awards to those who have improved the game and for recognizing players and insiders who have made significant contributions over a certain period of time.
Are awards like this frivolous? Perhaps they are. But since just about every other business, sport, and art form honors its super achievers and icons, then so too should we. Even science, mathematics, economics, and literature indulge in their very own annual awards ceremonies. Poker, which is played by about 100 million people worldwide, rightly deserves a special night of spectacle, and the APA’s creators and organizers — Alex Dreyfus in particular — deserves our appreciation for making this happen.
That said, I have some things to mention about a few of the nominees, the categories, as well as a short rant in support of someone who wasn’t even nominated. I believe those who selected some of the nominees blew it this year. No, this has nothing to do with me — even though I was nominated in the “Media Person of the Year” category last year and then pretty much morphed into this year’s version of Jeb Bush among the 2016 nominations. I’m not BITTER #INFLSAKNSOIURHNLSJCN SLKCNsc ,,,,,,,,,d.s/d cggggggggggggggggggggggg
Admittedly, choosing a command poker performance or measuring personal achievements can be quite subjective and will almost always result in omissions and oversights. Moreover, making a case for one forgotten candidate in no way should be construed as a negative opinion of those who actually did receive nominations. Each and every nominee this year (well, most) rightly deserves our applause. Yet, in my opinion, some of the categories do seem misplaced and are quite irrelevant — again, another topic for a different day.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why Chad Holloway has been left off the nominees list for two straight years now in the “Media Person of the Year” category. That’s insane. He probably should have been in my place last year, since he’s far more prolific when it comes to poker writing. This year, Holloway penned about 600 articles, almost all of them on the subject of poker. That’s an astounding level of output for any writer, amounting to about two original compositions per day. Incredibly, his stuff is consistently original. He often goes the extra distance in the stories that he chooses, often picking out topics that are the most challenging, including some stuff even I wouldn’t attempt.
I’ve been contacted several times by Holloway over the years, and I do know him well. He’s usually seeking the phone number of someone who’s very hard to locate, or seeking out the lone family survivor of a former poker player who disappeared a long time ago. Inasmuch as Holloway often picks topics which would otherwise never be written about and focuses on personalities mostly forgotten, he’s far more than just a writer. Crafting the narrative to bring some of these stories to life requires interviewing, researching, archiving, and most of all — persistence.
Holloway knows nothing of this column I’m writing now, and knowing him as I do, I think he’d be a little bit embarrassed by it. That’s okay. However, I do feel it is my role to point to his work and say — “take a look.” Should that body of work be recognized?
Earlier this month, Holloway left his position as a writer and reporter and took a new job as a promoter and public relations specialist for the Mid-States Poker Tour. I’m glad he made his decision. I admire the great work he and others have done for many years at PokerNews.com, but he also deserves a broader role in this industry because he’s earned it.
Most glaring oversight of the 2016 American Poker Awards — not nominating Chad Holloway.
As for the other categories, I’ll start with the group that Holloway should have won. With all due respect to the four who were nominated this year, each requires a short comment from me since I know each of these professionals and am somewhat versed in this line of crossfire. Joey Ingram, has put out some amazing work over the last year, and will hopefully be a force for a long time to come. Rightfully, his efforts were recognized, but I would cast my ballot elsewhere. This goes against a strong personal bias for Ingram, since I too am a Pot-Limit Omaha enthusiast, which is where he’s really made his mark. Jason Somerville was also nominated, for the second year in a row. No one, including me, would be disappointed to see Somerville win anything since he’s incredibly prolific, talented, and dedicated. Kevin Mathers is an information machine, the virtual Associated Press of poker these days. He never misses a breaking news story and is the definitive source for anything poker related, particularly on Twitter, 24/7/365. That said, as someone else mentioned somewhere else, Mathers probably deserves his own category. He could win this every single year given his essential role in poker for players and other industry types. Finally, there’s Donnie Peters, writer and editor at PokerNews.com. He would get my vote. Peters does lots of work that isn’t seen, is constantly on the move, managing a huge staff, juggling internal and external politics, has budget constraints, is putting out fires, while also putting out his own polished prose consistently over the course of 12 months, habits dating back nearly a decade. He’s everywhere, yet isn’t often seen by the public, and therefore goes unrecognized. While the other nominees in this category are all excellent, I have a special place for the journalist who works just as hard when no one is looking, and he’s not destined for a byline. Donnie Peters should win this year’s award.
In the “Poker Presenter of the Year” category, I presume this is intended to recognize on-air talent, those who announce poker action and offer commentary. I like each of the nominees — including Sarah Herring, Kara Scott, and Joe “Stapes” Stapleton. But my vote would go to David Tuchman the workhorse of the World Series of Poker for an entire summer, plus Twitch streams and other coverage, including “Poker Night in America.” I don’t know how Tuchman’s voice holds out — staying live and on air for 10, 12, and sometimes even 14 hours a day. Incredibly, he remains inexplicably fresh, is always well-prepared, and allows his guests and the players to shine. That’s a rare talent and calling poker isn’t always easy. Tuchman makes his job seem much easier than it actually is, and given his intense dedication and level of output, he would receive my vote in this category.
The other poker media-related category this year is “Media Content of the Year.” I had the tremendous honor to handing out this award last year at the ceremony, and was even a bit surprised when Brad Willis, from PokerStars.com got the nod from voters. It was probably the most pleasant surprise of the night of all the categories, and I know Willis was moved deeply by the honor. He’s nominated again this year, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see his work recognized once again. Faraz Jaka has won me over with his work in media, and I was happy to see him nominated for the “Homeless Poker Millionaire” segment, which received lots of mainstream attention. Jason Somerville was nominated in this category, as well, and given his output of material could probably make a case for wrapping up the top 20 spots in this list given the depth and detail of his features. That said, my vote would go to Joe Giron, who has been a longtime poker photographer who’s somehow rarely seen nor noticed, but which has documented the game’s history and legacy for so many years. One photograph was nominated here for the award, but what goes unnoticed is the hours of waiting and the stalking around the tables, sometimes waiting for hours if not days to capture that one perfect shot. Giron, who has amassed a treasure trove of classic rock and pop music photography over the past three decades in another amazing life that many might not know about, is a blessing to poker and we are lucky to have him as part of our game. I think it’s way past time he be recognized for the many selfless hours he’s spent around the poker scene, making the game, often dull, appear intriguing, and creating visions that shall forever remain part of what we’ll remember.
I congratulate all the nominees and appreciate all the work that’s done by so many, who were not nominated this year. They too, merit our thanks.
Update: A nice response from someone who knows a thing or two about awards shows, as a former Academy Award nominee:
— Jennifer Tilly (@Jtillathekilla2) February 25, 2016