The EPT Season 8 awards are due to be given out at the closing party on Tuesday rewarding a select elite for their grind over the last nine months. They’ll all have earned their plaudits but plenty of other unsung heroes will have to remain in the shadows. Don’t ask why but we at the PokerStars Blog didn’t actually get consulted on the Achievement of the Year or Player of the Year awards.* It’s not like we’ve been at every event.

*It’s a sponsorship impartiality thing. Bah humbug, say we.

So thumbing our nose at that decision we’ve decided to put forward a few of the players that haven’t been short listed that we think deserve their own fleeting moment in the spotlight. In no particular order:

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Ilan Boujenah

Ilan Boujenah has been one of this season’s revelations. Three main event cashes, one final table and lungful’s of histrionics, Boujenah has proved himself to be a precocious talent and one that will act as a catalyst for action at the table. Not the player that you want on your left. Another terror at the table is Melanie Weisner who ripped through the EPT Copenhagen main event but ran ace-queen into ace-king then the same hand into aces shortly after to go from chip lead to bust in around half an hour. She finished 28th there and in the same position at EPT Madrid just a couple of weeks later marking her third main event cash of the season. Weisner bust just before the money here but considering she finished runner-up to Victoria Coren in a tight 3-2 final in the €5,000 Heads-Up here in Monaco for €39,250. Weisner a wise-cracking, in-your-face kind of player who is not only happy taking on the worst kind of testosterone-fuelled macho players but seems to relish not only kicking them to the kerb but stamping her stiletto heels into the them for good measure. More deep runs to be expected.

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Melanie Weisner

For underestimated talent we can look at one of the quietest winners from the tour, Zimnan Ziyard. The Brit won EPT Loutraki for €347,000, an event that was not streamed, so perhaps did not receive the kudos that he should have. Ziyard followed every play through if he thought it was the correct one, manipulating the final table stacks to an extent that’s not frequently seen in live poker. At one point he re-shoved with 6♥2♣ forcing runner-up Hauke Heseding out of the pot allowing him to knock out or treble up third-place finisher John Taramas. The move kind of made sense but few would be able to pull it with that amount of money at stake.

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EPT Loutraki winner Zimnan Ziyard

Irishman Mick ‘BIGMICKG’ Graydon may not deserve an award this year but the onlint tournament specialist is certainly one to watch for next. A good friend of Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth, Graydon made a good run at the Player of the Year leader board scoring three main event cashes, one final table, as well as eight side events cashes. Graydon bust out in 24th with kings getting cracked by Ronny Kaiser’s ace-king for the chip lead of EPT Tallinn. Kaiser hit, swiped a dominating stack and went on to win the event. Other players that fall into the ‘They-nearly-got-it-but-no-doubt-will-be-back’ award include auto big stack builder Martins Adeniya and fan’s favourite Xuan Liu. Both made final tables neither quite got the rub of the green.

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Mick Graydon (red jumper) with Jude Ainsworth

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Xuan Liu

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Martins Adeniya (left) with JP Kelly

However, perhaps more than anyone else the player that must be given a nod/thumbs-up/pat on the back is Phillip ‘philbort’ Gruissem. The German destroyed the High Roller scene earlier in the season scoring the following results:

Barcelona, €10,000 buy-in: 1st, €234,000
London, £20,000: 1st, £450,000
San Remo, €10,000: 4th, €68,600

Gruissem, who has won more than $2,000,000 in online tournaments online, is also the chip leader of in the €25,000 High Roller which is down to it’s final 16 players; 14 places pay. It’s looking like it could be yet another giant score for the German. You can follow his final push by clicking through this link.
Can Gruissem win yet another High Roller? This one’s worth €1,080,000…

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Philipp Gruissem has had an incredible season to look back on

Tournament snapshot
Level 33: blinds 100,000-200,000, ante 30,000
Players: 3 of 665
Average stack: 6,650,000
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