On March 25th 2015 the 14th edition of the European Poker Awards will be held at Portomaso Marina Hilton Hotel, St. Julians, Malta. Featured awards – 13 overall – include GPI player of the year, GPI female player of the year, rising star, best tournament performance, event of the year, media person of the year, best poker innovation and many more.
PokerWomenNews has a seat in the awards’ nomination panel and leading up to the award ceremony we will take a look at and discuss some of the categories – today the Rising Star award. The award is definitely one of the most prestigious to be given and to be nominated for the Rising Star award a player must meet the following criteria:
“Awarded to the European player without a major poker title* heading into 2014 who enjoyed a breakout year on the live tournament circuit this season as judged by the nomination panel and the members of the jury. (*Players who have won a WPT or EPT Main Event and/or a WSOP bracelet or any High Roller or Super High Roller tournament prior to Dec, 31 2013 do not qualify for this category.)”
With the criteria in mind PokerWomenNews will take a female perspective on the category and present the two players we are going to nominate: Luciana ”luckyno75” Manolea and Eleanor Gudger.
The 26-year old Romanian, that goes by the screen name “lyckyno75”, has been a force to be reckoned with in the online world for some time now. She started her online adventure in 2009 and since then she has amassed more than $2,6 million in online MTT winnings according to pocketfives.com. In 2014 alone she cashed for $540,275 on PokerStars. Among her online triumphs last year was winning the WCOOP Challenge Event #3 for $105,733 and the Women’s Sunday for the second time (first time was in 2013).
Manolea broke into the live scene in 2014, when she won the EPT Prague Event #20 (€1,000 NL Hyper Turbo) and took home €30,245 ($38,498) for her effort. At the same venue she finished runner-up in Event #23 (€1,000 Deepstack Big Ante) for €33,290 ($41,258). Let’s hope the success in Prague will inspire this rising star to shed her light over more live tournaments in 2015.
Like Luciana Manolea British pro Eleanor Gudger has mostly been known as an online player. In 2014 she was signed a Team PKR Pro after Sofia Lövgren left the site for 888poker. At PKR Gudger has been the most successful female tournament player in the poker site’s history.
Even though Gudger has played the occasional live tournament – she finished 6th in the Ladies Event at WSOP 2013 and runner-up in the European edition of the same event in 2011 – 2014 proved to be a breakout year for Gudger. Besides cashing in several UK events Gudger finished in 3rd place in the UKIPT £3,300 High Roller for £36,950 ($62,336) in May. In November she went all the way and took down the WPT500 at Dusk till Dawn defeating Matthew Noonan heads up for £140,000 ($222,176). The event had seven (!) starting flights and attracted 2,133 entries.
Ellie Biessek, the former math teacher, who turned pro two years ago, and has been crushing the live poker scene in England winning nearly £85,000 last year ($129k). Italian poker player Sabina Hiatullah for going deep in several tournaments, including a 6th place finish in the Estrella Poker Tour Barcelona for $24,790 and a 5th place finish in a side event at WPT Caribbean for $10,200. Florence Allera for going deep in various EPT and WPT side events. For her achievements at the felt Allera received the title of France’s 2014 Female Player of The Year at the France Poker Awards in Deauville this weekend.
Who do you think deserves to be nominated Rising Star 2014?