Possible Cashflow Difficulties for Dreyfus, GPL as Odd Currency-Exchange Allegations Surface
Are the Global Poker League and its parent company, Mediarex Entertainment, facing significant cashflow difficulties? It’s early in their existence, only months after the launch of live GPL competition, but significant qusetions have arisen. Some difficulties seemed afoot when the GPL’s grand plans to host competition inside London’s famed Wembley Stadium fell apart a couple of months back, but the latest developments are, to some, more concerning: a series of odd allegations made by three high-stakes European players — allegations confirmed in part by GPL founder Alexandre Dreyfus — regarding currency-exchange swaps that ended up, allegedly, being used by Dreyfus as short-term loans.
The three players, including European cash-game giant Fedor Holz, recently posted their experiences in the 2+2 discussion forums. Along with Holz, Hendrik “ValueH” Lotz and a third pro, identified only by his screen name, “BBVisbadforme,” agreed to currency exchanges with Dreyfus, who needed extra US currency while in Las Vegas for unspecified reasons. Except… and here’s where the story gets curious, Dreyfus delayed, for at least several weeks, in fulfilling his part of the trade.
As detailed by Lotz in part, who made the original post on the 2+2 forums:
Five weeks later after leaving Vegas and doing accounting with BBV we realized he never received the transfer, despite Alex stating he would send the same day and not mentioning for the duration of the summer he had not. We promptly contacted Alex to which he replied that he never had the intention not to send, but the GPL was struggling and he could not pay at this point. He asked for an extension until the end of August and offered to pay interest. I made it clear that receiving the money on time was more important than interest. He had asked for a trade, not a loan.
A week ago when we still hadn’t received the money I sent him a reminder of the deadline to apply pressure. He claimed he was waiting on a 150k transfer and will pay us back once it cleared. Around the same time at EPT Barcelona I reached out to a few close friends asking for their opinion on the issue. We weren’t sure at this point whether it was better to inform the public to ensure that no one else gets taken advantage of by Alex, or if we should just treat it as a single misstep that shouldn’t have such a dire impact on his public image.
We understand that the future of the GPL as well as the people involved with it, whose work we respect, are all somewhat dependent on Alex’s reputation. However, almost everyone we spoke with agreed we should make the whole story public, drawing the conclusion that the way Alex treated the problem made it likely it wasn’t an isolated misstep. After hearing that Alex had done the same thing to Fedor we had no choice but to take action to make this post. We would not have come out unless we felt it was necessary.
Three days ago Alex sent me a copy of a transaction receipt showing he wired the money to BBV’s bank account with an added 5% interest. The money cleared yesterday. We gave Alex a Heads-up on thursday that we will be making this post on 2p2.
Holz, widely known in the online-poker world under his “CrownUpGuy” handle, added a similar tale. Wrote Holz, in part:
On 3rd June 2016, Alex approached me and asked for 10,000$ cash in Vegas to trade for a euro bank transfer, stating that “he spend 50k$ [in the] last few days for [their] studio” now “reaching his daily limits”.
The same day I send him my bank details via e-mail and he responded with “Thanks will be proceed current next week”.
I was very busy in Vegas and didn’t do my accounting until end of July/beginning of August assuming that he wired me the money in euros when this message reached me on 28th July 2016:
“I just wanted to tell you, that I’m a bit late re: the transfer of 10k, as I spent a lot of resources last 6 weeks due to our vegas investment, and I’m in the middle of strategic/financing deal, which – if you allow me – to have few weeks more (end of august, early september) to process the Eur, bank transfer (with interest), would be highly appreciated. I apologizes for delay. Not my style, just Entrepreneur life. Hope it is fine for you.”
I responded that “it’s okay, [but] I’d like to get it out of the way as soon as possible.”
Its a truism of any new production, such as the GPL’s launch of its new “Cube” studio set, that unexpected events and expenses can occur. Yet the sum total of all the things that have occurred suggest that the GPL’s maiden flight is, at the least, on fragile financial footing.
Dreyfus himself confirmed some of the details of the transactions in a later post, without specifying a reason why a normally straighforward exchange didn’t occur as promised. Dreyfus also stated that his reply post would be his only statement on the matter, writing, in part:
I’ve already spoken on this matter for a few hours yesterday with all parties involved – a matter that has been settled already, again with both parties.
I’ve apologized to them both for having failed in respecting the original repayment deadline as it was intended.
I’ve also apologized to them both for the lack of communication and the non-professionalism that was inherent in this on my part.
We’ve had a tough summer and a lot of things didn’t work out as planned. While I have legitimate reasons to have been late, these don’t represent valid excuses. I apologize for that and am ready to take ownership of this mistake – I’m not immune from making errors like this. There was never any malicious intent. …
Dreyfus did, in fact, include an extra 5% in interest when finally completing the owed exchanges to the three players. However, the bad feelings remain due to the supposedly unagreed-upon conversion of the currency exchanges into short-term loans.
Dreyfus has claimed to have received $4.9 million in recent financing for continuing Mediarex operations, which include the newly launched GPL, such information-based endeavors as the Global Poker Index [GPI], the Hendon Mob results database (previously acquired by Dreyfus and Mediarex), and the well-received Global Poker Awards. All of those elements are facets of Dreyfus’s grand plan to “sportify” poker, though this summer’s events show one of the harsher truths of the whole Grand Guignol: Coming up with a sportification plan is one thing, but successfully and continually monetizing that sportification is another deal altogether.
The recent black eyes for Dreyfus and the GPL won’t help the new operation’s public image, and it’s the type of event itself that can give the industry side of the poker world pause. Overall, poker needs new concepts such as the GPL to succeed, which may be part of why few outlets as yet have covered the story — despite an implied media responsibility to do so. Following such recent poker disasters as the wholly unrelated Annie Duke / Jeffrey Pollack fraud-fest, the Epic Poker League, something with a few new wrinkles such as the GPL represents one way in which poker can capture a new and needed audience.
As for Holz’s willingness to expose the presumed cash-flow difficulties, there’s a bit of personal risk there as well. Holz is a participating member on the GPL’s LA Sunsets franchise, and thus is directly impacted by events that can affect the GPL’s greater fortunes.
It’ll likely fall on Dreyfus to atone for this summer’s missteps and heal a few of these recent bruises. Whether the one-time Winamax co-founder can reel in the harsher edges of his own entrepreneurial spirit is likely to have a direct impact on the GPL’s long-term fortunes. New initiatives are always risky, but self-inflicted wounds are unnecessary, as the weekend’s events have shown.
(Author’s Note: The opinions here are the author’s only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Flushdraw or its publishers.)