Global Poker League Announces Team Names and Managers
The Global Poker League (GPL), the brainchild of the Global Poker Index’s head man, Alexandre Dreyfus, announced its twelve teams and managers for its first season. Covering nine countries, the dozen teams will have their rosters filled at a draft on February 25th, 2016.
2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champ and face of the poker boom’s “big bang,” Chris Moneymaker, announced early last week that he would be the manager of the Las Vegas GPL franchise, named, appropriately enough, the Las Vegas Moneymakers. It was not until this Wednesday, though, that the other eleven teams and managers were unveiled via a press release from Mediarex Sports & Entertainment (MSE), which owns the Global Poker League.
The managers were chosen “based not only on their poker skills but their business acumen, ability to lead a team and commitment to investing time and passion into their team and the league.”
Here are the twelve teams and their respective managers, in alphabetical order by location:
Berlin Bears: Philipp Gruissem
Hong Kong Stars: Celina Lin
Los Angeles Sunset: Maria Ho
Las Vegas Moneymakers: Chris Moneymaker
London Royals: Liv Boeree
Montreal Nationals: Marc-Andre Ladouceur
Moscow Wolverines: Anatoly Filatov
New York Rounders: Bryn Kenney
Paris Aviators: Fabrice Soulier
Rome Emperors: Max Pescatori
San Francisco Rush: Faraz Jaka
Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Andre Akkari
When the first details of the GPL were released, Barcelona was one of the cities, but appears to have been replace by Rome.
“Aviators” is clearly the best team name and respective logo and it is not even close. It is unique and, of course, pays tribute to the famed Aviation Club de France card room, which closed in 2015 after more than 100 in operation.
“Rounders” is also solid, as it is not only a nickname for poker players, but also the name of the popular poker film which takes place in New York. “Emperors” isn’t bad, as it provides a bit of a Star Wars vibe and kind of gives the Italian team a little of a “bad guy” image. “Moneymakers” is great, for obvious reasons. The rest range from ok to blah.
Alexandre Drefyus expressed his excitement about this milestone for the GPL in the aforementioned press release, saying:
Today is an exciting day in Global Poker League history, the confirmation of our team managers is a crucial step towards our goal. We’ve secured an incredible amount of talented leaders to represent our 12 franchise teams as well as strong intent from some of the world’s best poker players to make themselves draftable on 25th February. We’re looking forward to what the next few months and the inaugural season of the Global Poker League will bring for fans across the globe.
The Global Poker League is another step in Dreyfus’ quest to “sportify” poker. Not all the details have been released yet, but obviously it is a team-based poker league. The teams will be split into the “Americas” conference (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Sao Paolo, San Francisco, and Toronto) and the “Eurasia” conference (Berlin, Moscow, Paris, London, Hong Kong, and Rome). The inaugural GPL season will last “at least” fourteen weeks; the events will be held at live venues, in television studios, and even online. The GPL World Championships will take place in the summer of 2016 at “one of the most renowned sport and entertainment venues in the USA.”
At the live venues, the poker matches will take place inside something called “The Cube.” It is a 20-foot cube with one-way visibility; spectators can see the players inside, but the players cannot see out. They are in their own little world. Large video screens will surround The Cube so that the audience can get a better view, as well as see pertinent game information. The inside of The Cube will be mic’ed so the audience can hear what the players are talking about.
Before the GPL season starts, though, the teams need to be constructed. That will happen via the draft at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills on February 25th starting at 2:00pm PST. It will be live streamed on Twitch with Kara Scott hosting and Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu providing commentary. Starting next week, on January 18th, the top 1,000 ranked players in the Global Poker Index will be invited to apply to play in the Global Poker League.
A number of players have already declared their intentions of entering the draft, including Fedor Holz, Chris Moorman, Anthony Zinno, and Darren Elias.
A month later, on February 18th, the draft order will be determined. There will be three rounds to the draft and each one will be randomized so that one team doesn’t have the advantage of picking first each round. The managers will come together a week later to conduct the draft, as already explained. In the week after the draft, each team manager will announce their “Wild Card” pick, an undrafted player that the manager chooses. The GPL has not detailed the exact structure of how the Wild Cards are selected, so we don’t know if it is first-come, first-served and therefore a race for the managers to nail down the final member of their team before anyone else does, or if it will be up to the managers to possibly negotiate with each other of more than one wants the same player.
Thus, each team will have five members: the manager, the three draftees, and the Wild Card.