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GPI Releases Initial Lineup for Global Poker Masters

Continuing its push to make its name synonymous with live tournament poker, the Global Poker Index (GPI) has announced the initial country and player lineups for the inaugural Global Poker Masters. The event is scheduled for March 21st and March 22nd, coinciding with the beginning of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Malta Main Event. This should make it convenient for most of the participants, since most will hail from Europe and many will be in town for the EPT festival. While it will overlap with the start of the Main Event, it will be over in time for the players to enter Day 1B, so aside from possible fatigue, players shouldn’t have much trouble entering both competitions.

Not all of the details for the event’s structure have been released, but here are the basics. Eight countries will be represented by five players each. On Day 1, the players will compete in mixed game, single-table tournaments, presumably with one player from each national team at each table. Players will earn points based on their performance (points are likely directly related to order of finish, unless someone created a Bizarro Points System). The team with the lowest cumulative points total after the Sit-and-Go’s will be eliminated from the Global Poker Masters.

On Day 2, the competition will shift to heads-up matches. Again, players earn points, and again, the team with the lowest total gets knocked out. The remaining six countries will then go at it at the six-handed final table. It has not been revealed how exactly that will work, whether the teams will each choose one representative for the final table, if it will be a sort of tag-team match, or some other format. Players on the winning team will receive prizes, which will be announced at a later date. It should be noted, as well, that the Global Poker Masters is a freeroll for all participants. GPI Global Poker Masters

The countries selected for the event were the nations with the highest number of players in the GPI300 rankings as of December 31st, 2014. The United States dominated in this regard, with 140 players, nearly half of the GPI300. The other seven nations are the United Kingdom (25 players in the GPI300), Germany (18), Canada (17), Russia (16), France (7), Italy (6), and the Ukraine (5). The Ukraine won a tiebreaker with Denmark and Argentina because its top five players had earned more GPI300 points than the other two countries.

The invite list for each team was also determined by a formula, rather than popularity. Each country will be represented by its 2014 National Player of the Year, the three players ranked highest in the GPI World Poker Rankings (assuming no overlap), and one “wildcard,” whose criteria has not been announced. As the wildcards have yet to be determined, here are the four qualifiers for each country (an asterisk denotes the National Player of the Year for that nation):

Team USA

Dan Smith (GPI #2)
Daniel Colman (GPI #5)*
Pratyush Buddiga (GPI #6)
Jacob Schindler (GPI #7)

Team United Kingdom

Stephen Chidwick (GPI #11)
Jack Salter (GPI #29)
Simon Deadman (GPI #34)
Oliver Price (GPI #36)*

Team Germany

Ole Schemion (GPI #1)*
Marvin Rettenmaier (GPI #25)
Martin Finger (GPI #46)
George Danzer (GPI #48)

Team Canada

Ami Barer (GPI #4)*
Sorel Mizzi (GPI #13)
Mike McDonald (GPI #16)
Andrew Chen (GPI #21)

Team Russia  

Anatoly Filatov (GPI #32)*
Vladimir Troyanovskiy (GPI #55)
Ivan Soshnikov (GPI #63)
Vitaly Lunkin (GPI #77)

Team France  

Erwann Pecheux (GPI #59)*
Benjamin Pollak (GPI #61)
Sylvain Loosli (GPI #155)
Fabrice Soulier (GPI #174)

Team Italy  

Dario Sammartino (GPI #17)
Mustapha Kanit (GPI #41)*
Andrea Dato (GPI #54)
Giuliano Bendinelli (GPI #170)

Team Ukraine  

Eugene Katchalov (GPI #53)
Oleksandr Gnatenko (GPI #207)
Artem Metalidi (GPI #218)
Oleksii Khoroshenin (GPI #283)

Daniel Colman has already passed on the invitation from the Global Poker Masters as he will not be in Malta for the European Poker Tour event, so Bryn Kenney has been tabbed to replace him.

In a press release, GPI Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Drefyus said of the Global Poker Masters

GPI’s [goal] is to Sportify the game of poker and the presentation of this innovative event will go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. There is no buy-in for the event, we want to create an international competition where players are playing for pride, country and for the love of the game in hopes to showcase the game’s best. Through the GPI, it will create a solid platform for poker to be promoted through new distribution channels and mainstream partners.

He added, “We hope this will become an annual ‘must-watch’ event in sports. The qualification format ensures that the best poker player on the live tournament circuit will participate in the event, those watching will be able to see the world’s best go head-to-head in hopes of winning it all for their country.”

The Global Poker Masters will be streamed live online and, in a departure from other poker events, will not be delayed, so viewers will see everything as it happens. The GPI has also indicated that live betting on the Masters should be available.

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