The first edition of the annual GPI American Poker Awards will be held in Los Angeles in February. On this occasion 14 awards will be presented, including GPI player of the year, GPI female player of the year, rising star, best tournament performance, best event, media person of the year, best poker innovation of the year 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 from a female perspective – today Poker’s Best Ambassador:
“Award presented to the poker player from Canada or the United States of America judged to have been the game’s best ambassador in 2014, making a positive impact on poker while engaging its fans. Just what makes a great poker ambassador? It’s not just a popularity contest, that’s for sure. The best ambassador works hard not only on the felt, but also off it, promoting the game. Poker’s best ambassador is also a player who connects with the fans and works at helping to find new players to play the game that we all love so much.”
The award is a People’s Choice Award, where everybody can cast their vote and the player ending up with most votes will be validated and confirmed as winner by the jury.
Even if this award is not based on proposals from the nomination panel, we want to cast our vote too as there is so many great female ambassadors of the game. The hard part is therefore not to find an ambassador, but to choose the very best one! After speculating back and forth to be sure we did not jump to a conclusion, there was one name that stood out at the end of the day: Jamie Kerstetter.
Jamie Kerstetter is in every sense of the word a great ambassador for poker. She’s a great poker player, which she recently demonstrated in the ladies-only cash game on Poker Night in America. She’s got more than $400,000 in live tournament earnings and around the same amount in online MTT winnings. But a great player does not automatically equal a good ambassador.
What makes Kerstetter special is her relentless work to engage people – and especially women – in the game of poker. Kerstetter is a member of the power quartet The Grindettes together with Katie Stone, Jennifer Shahade and Katie Dozier, a group of players that certainly have accomplished their goal: To show that women can be just as successful playing poker for a living as men.
Kerstetter is working on all platforms. She is constantly tweeting about poker and connecting with her fans. In 2014 she did live commentary for the WPT Borgata Poker Open and WPT Venice and she was a frequent guest on radio shows and podcasts, including Joe Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast, The Tournament Poker Edge Podcast, House of Cards and The Mark Hoke Show among others. She’s a coach for the poker training site Tournament Poker Edge and a sponsored pro for PartyPoker in New Jersey, where she works hard to rebuild the trust in online poker and draw new and old players to the game.
Kerstetter’s winning ways and her sense of humor contributes to make her Poker’s Best Ambassador in 2014.
Danielle “dmoongirl” Andersen for being a great role model and for taking part in the web series Me vs U, where she competed against her then fellow Ultimate Poker pro Dan O’Brien in an attempt to bring more fun into poker. Jennifer Shahade for reaching out to the chess community and women in particular to create an interest in the game we love. Maria Ho for being a great ambassador for mixed-games and proving that women can compete at the highest level and for delivering insightful commentary as a co-host on the Heartland Poker Tour. Jenniffer Tilly for her fun-loving personality, her hilarious comments and her presence at the poker tables, where she incarnates the fact – to a large audience – that poker is and can be a really funny game.
Who do you think is Poker’s Best Ambassador? The voting open next week and will be available online on: American Poker Awards
Photo: Jamie Kerstetter, World Poker Tour.