Over the past 35 days a record-breaking 10,103 voters had their say in the seventh annual BLUFF Readers Choice Awards. Voting in 13 different categories this year, poker fans have had their say and BLUFF is proud to announce the winners for the 2012 Readers Choice Awards.
Favorite Male TV Personality
Winner: Antonio Esfandiari (WSOP Live Coverage)
A bit of a surprise winner here as Esfandiari beat out the likes of Mike Sexton, Joe Stapleton and Ali Nejad. ESPN took a huge leap of faith with nearly-live coverage of the WSOP Main Event and based on Twitter responses alone, Esfandiari’s analysis was one of the highlights of the shows.
Favorite Female TV Personality
Winner: Kara Scott (WSOP Live Coverage)
Seeing a theme here? ESPN obviously hit a home run with their live coverage and a big part of that is the personalities they brought on board to bring the action into your living room. Acting as a sideline reporter during the Main Event, Scott was everything poker fans could have asked for.
Favorite Web-based Poker Show
Winner: The Micros
The adventures of Chase Berger, Tommy Phuoc and Rose Ballenger have been immensely popular since the show first debuted over a year ago. A product of the minds of Jay Rosenkrantz and John Wray, The Micros even appeared on the cover of BLUFF and on WSOP on ESPN broadcasts in 2011.
Favorite Poker Blog
The Entities at WickedChopsPoker.com have now won this category three years running. Combining poker news, witty commentary, Girl on the Rail photos from the WSOP and commentary that sometimes goes over the top has proven to be a winner for the guys behind the “TMZ of Poker”.
Favorite Poker Tweeter
Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker)
No surprise that one of poker’s most popular players wins this category. Dating back to his blog on FullContactPoker.com, Negreanu has always understood how to use social media tools to communicate with and grow his fan base. In this category he scored nearly 50% of the votes.
Favorite Las Vegas Poker Room
Call this one an upset. Past winner Bellagio has been ousted by the upstart Aria. Home of The Ivey Room, the Aria is quickly becoming the place for high stakes players and the tourists coming through town. Hiring the likes of Ben Lamb and Jean-Robert Bellande as ambassadors doesn’t hurt at all.
Favorite California Poker Room
Another repeat winner, The Commerce Casino in Los Angeles is one of the world’s largest poker rooms and home to some of the best tournaments around. The home of World Poker Tour events for ten years running, The Commerce continues to be the leading room out in California..
Favorite Florida Poker Room
Hard Rock Seminole
With the explosion of poker in the Sunshine State came the need for a category to honor the best the state has to offer. Up against the Jacksonville Poker Room, Daytona Beach & Kennel Club Poker Roma and Isle Casino Pompano Park the winner was the Hard Rock Seminole, one of only two RCA winners to garner more than 50% of the votes in their category.
Favorite East Coast Poker Room
When you ask anybody where to play poker in Atlantic City the answer is almost always The Borgata. Away from the Boardwalk, The Borgata is a five-star property that hosts some of the biggest tournament series on the East Coast every year.
Breakout Performer of the Year
The most lopsided victory of the 13 categories. Ben Lamb exploded on the scene in 2011 by dominating the WSOP from mid-June right up until he busted the WSOP Main Event in third place in November. The 2011 WSOP Player of the Year, Lamb beat out Matthew Waxman, Sam Trickett, Chris Moorman, Galen Hall and Elio Fox to win this category.
Favorite Male Player
The only multiple winner this year, Negreanu is easily one of the most likeable players in the game today in the eyes of poker fans around the world. Post-Black Friday Negreanu continues to be the face of PokerStars.com in marketing campaigns around the world.
Favorite Female Player
The most talked-about category in this year’s RCA goes to Liv Boeree. Fierce social media campaigns from some of the nominees lead to the highest number of votes this year for any category. Boeree, with 37.7% of the votes, was the clear winner ahead of Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Maria Ho and Amanda Musumeci.
Top “On the Felt” Moment of the Year
Phil Hellmuth Finishes Runner-Up Three Times @ WSOP
Hard to argue with the fans choice on this one. The Poker Brat got oh-so-close three times this summer to capturing his 12th WSOP bracelet. Hellmuth seemed to be playing to prove his haters wrong and given his win in this category, might just show he’s won some fans over for his poker skill.
For the complete breakdown of the BLUFF Readers Choice Awards, including the total vote percentage for each nominee, check out the March issue of BLUFF.