Tomorrow, the poker world will come together in Los Angeles for the third installment of the GPI American Poker Awards. The APAs celebrate the most influential and recognized actors of the American poker industry over the last year. The Sofitel in Beverly Hills will play host, to not only the American Poker Awards but also the American Poker Conference.

Poker Central will be in attendance on Thursday, bringing you exclusive content from the awards show and the conferences but until then, who does Will O’Connor think will take home each American Poker Award? In “Part One” of his APA Predictions, Will OC tackled the five categories that involve “on the felt” awards and here are his picks for the “off the felt” awards.

Industry Person of the Year

Tony Burns, Seminole Hard Rock Tournament Director
Jack Effel, WSOP VP International Poker Operations & WSOP Director
Sean McCormack, ARIA Director of Poker Operations
Matt Savage, WPT Executive Tour Director & TDA Founder

As a reminder, if someone won last year, they are ineligible in Will OC’s picks this year. That eliminates TDA founder Matt Savage, who won Industry Person of the Year in 2016, and while Burns and Effel each expanded their respective brands over the last year, Sean McCormack and his team have turned ARIA into one of the premier poker destinations in the world. McCormack has overseen the growth of ARIA’s High Roller schedule and the recent expansion of the Super High Roller Bowl. He has also made a significant effort to grow ARIA’s brand through various social pushes, including weekly Periscope streams, something that few other industry personnel have even attempted.

Media Person of the Year

Lance Bradley
Sarah Herring
Joseph Stapleton
David Tuchman

Last year, this category was split between Media Person of the Year and Presenter of the Year. The combination of those two categories in 2017 have created a stacked shortlist incorporating personalities from nearly every corner of the media landscape. Tuchman is synonymous with WSOP coverage each summer and Stapleton is similarly recognizable with PokerStars and GPL events. Herring has been the face of PokerNews for the better part of the last few years. All are extremely hard workers but Bradley, pictured above, who is the President & Editor in Chief of PocketFives, is on the editorial grind 24/7/365. For that reason, he’s the pick, along with the biased fact that Bradley gave me my writing start during his time with BLUFF.com.

Podcast of the Year

Full Contact Poker (Daniel Negreanu)
Poker Life Podcast (Joe Ingram)
PokerNews Podcast (Herring, Parvis, Peters, Rinkema, Ryan)
TwoPlusTwo Podcast (Terrance Chan, Ross Henry, Adam Schwartz)

Contractually, the only podcasts I am allowed to listen to are the Poker Central Podcast and Heads Up with Remko. I’m obviously joking but one of the only other podcast series I regularly listen to are Joe Ingram’s Poker Life Podcasts. Ingram is funny, engaging and regularly gets some of the biggest names to talk freely on his YouTube channel. Add in the fact that Ingram produces an insane amount of content, 91 episodes in 2016, and Papi should be claiming Podcast of the Year.  

Media Content of the Year

Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey (Lance Bradley, PocketsFives)
Life’s a Gamble (Mike Sexton)
Stu Ungar’s Last Chance Gone Wrong (Matthew Showell, PokerListings)
Twitch coverage of the Aussie Millions (Jason Somerville)

Mike Sexton already “won” Tournament Performance of the Year in Part I, Lance Bradley “won” Media Person of the Year and, spoiler alert, we’ll get to Somerville in a minute. By the process of elimination, Matthew Showell and PokerListings short documentary “Stu Ungar’s Last Chance Gone Wrong” is my Media Content of the Year winner. The 13-minute video looks closely at Ungar’s incredible story, one that will and should never be forgotten. Even though, given our rules, Sexton and Bradley are ineligible for this award, their content contributions are some of the best poker has seen in years and no one would be surprised if either doubled down in this category.

Twitch Streamer of the Year

Kevin Martin “KevinMartin987”
Jason Somerville “jcarverpoker”
Jaime Staples “PokerStaples”
Parker Talbot “tonkaaaP”

For the first year, Twitch Streamer of the Year is a category at the American Poker Awards and to have anyone other than the OG Twitch streamer win would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Jason “jcarverpoker” Somerville, pictured above, has revolutionized the streaming game, from personal streams to partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands and tournament series. Somerville is the gold standard when it comes to streaming and, if you asked the other three nominees, probably played a role in their inspiration to stream as well.

Tomorrow, Poker Central will be on hand at the American Poker Awards, bringing you exclusive content from both the awards show and the American Poker Conference. Until then, learn more about the 3rd annual American Poker Awards here