Bodog Production a Hit as Card Player, Player of the Year Awards Gala Comes Up Aces

Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly with b/f Phil Laak

February 20, 2006

Calvin Ayre and Jennifer Tilly --- Old Hollywood, California

The Bodog-produced Card Player, Player of the Year Awards took poker to another level Wednesday in Old Hollywood. Hosted by Calvin Ayre, the Founder and CEO of online gaming giant Bovada, the awards solidified poker as a mainstream pastime that appeals to celebrities and a broad demographic of Americans.

Master of ceremonies Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond" brought down the house at the Music Box Theater with his comic genius while award recipients delivered speeches that were grateful and poignant.

Ayre set the tone for the evening - and drew a loud round of applause - with an address that celebrated poker's stunning rise in global popularity. Later, he handed out the people's choice award for Favorite Player, which went to Kid Poker himself, Daniel Negreanu.

Among the other notable winners were actress Jennifer Tilly (Best Celebrity Player) and poker great Doyle Brunson (Lifetime Achievement Award). The man known as The Master, Men Nguyen, took home the coveted Player of the Year honor.

Calvin Ayre and Men Nguyen --- Nguyen arrived with a contingent of over 30 family and friends. During his acceptance speech, Nguyen talked about the growth of poker and his love of the game. Speaking eloquently, he informed the audience of the charity poker games he's helped organize and how the funds have benefited the less fortunate. He also thanked the United States, his adopted nation.

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"This country made me a poker champion," he said. "It made my dream come true."

Celebrities in attendance included " Boston " Rob and Amber Mariano ("Survivor"), Christopher Masterson ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Danny Masterson and Laura Prepon ("That 70's Show"), Don Felder of the Eagles and Gilby Clarke, formerly of Guns 'N Roses, among others.

The event marked another foray into mainstream entertainment by Bovada, the primary sponsor and producer of the awards gala. On the heels of the huge success of the Bovada Lingerie Bowl III, held at the L.A. Coliseum on Super Bowl Sunday, the Card Player, Player of the Year Awards demonstrated again why Ayre and his company are at the forefront of the online gaming boom.

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"Tonight we exalt in poker's tremendous success. We honor the players and their accomplishments," Ayre said after the show. "But at Bodog we know we will be celebrating again and again. These kinds of nights will soon be commonplace as our industry continues to eclipse milestones. I'm glad we produced a high-caliber show and I'm also proud we're among those companies who are a driving force in our business."

The following is a complete list of awards and recipients handed out at the Card Player, Player of the Year Awards:

Favorite Poker Player - Daniel Negreanu
Best Celebrity Player - Jennifer Tilly
Lifetime Achievement - Doyle Brunson
Player of the Year - Men Ngyuen
Most Underrated Player - Allen Cunningham
Best Female Player - Jennifer Harman
Most Feared Player - Phil Ivey
Breakthrough Player - Michael Gracz
Best Mixed Game Player - Chip Reese
Best Heads Up Player - Phil Ivey
Most Entertaining Player - Mike Matusow
Best No-Limit Player - Phil Ivey
Poker Ambassador - Mike Sexton
Best Cash Game - Chip Reese
Card Player Freeroll Champion - Jim Coca

For available photos please see Award Photos

For more information, photos and broadcast quality video highlights please contact Kal Suurkask at 866-591-0217 or

About Bovada

Bovada, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, is federally licensed by the Costa Rican and UK governments. One of the pioneers in the field, Bovada is the top-ranked US facing online gambling brand, with highest site traffic amongst multi-product US gaming web sites according to Hitwise. Bovada, valued at over US $1 billion and ranked in the Power 10 online companies by eGaming Review, processed $7 billion in wagers in 2005. Bovada Marketing Conference,, will take place at Wynn in Las Vegas, July 23 - 25 2006, attracting the leaders of the online gambling industry. Bodog Entertainment Group also includes a music label, BodogMusic, an online magazine, BodogNation, a television production unit and further properties coming soon. For more information, contact Media Relations at 1-866-892-3371, or BODOG is a registered trademark of Bodog Entertainment Group S.A.


Kal Suurkask


by Bodog PR at on February 20, 2006

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