Posts Tagged ‘League’
It was thought by this point that the Global Poker League, the burgeoning team poker organization created by the Global Poker Index and its head honcho Alex Dreyfus, would have already started its second season. However, Season 2 of the GPL has been held up while Dreyfus moves forward with other endeavors.
Chief among Dreyfus’ current interests are the start of the eight-team GPL China. For that league, Dreyfus has been able to sign a major deal with JuzhongJoy, a Beijing operation that will assist Dreyfus with operations, distribution, and sponsorships inside the Communist (but still quite capitalist when it comes to business) nation. “We want to…become the NBA of poker in China!” Dreyfus enthusiastically stated in an e-mail announcing the partnership.
This isn’t the end of regionalized GPL outlets either. “I am happy to tease that GPL will support other regional initiatives such as the GPL Heads Up Challenge in France,” Dreyfus mentioned in the e-mail. “Alongside GPL China, we are currently preparing the rollout of GPL India and GPL Latin America also. Our goal is to connect poker fans and help them be a part of the GPL adventure, regardless of where they are.”
The India market is one that has been particularly red-hot of late. In February two outlets, the Poker Sports League and the Online Poker League, opened for business in the second largest nation in the world. It must be thought that Dreyfus, whom it appeared that both organizations were mimicking with the introduction of their leagues, is wanting to take on these upstarts and become the definitive regional league when it comes to poker.
The fate of the original GPL is one that has come up on a few occasions. Since the Montreal Nationals defeated the Berlin Bears in December in a series that went the maximum 11-game distance before the Nationals took down the title 6-5, there has been absolutely nothing that has come up regarding the GPL. There are reasons for this, however.
In an exclusive discussion with Poker News Daily, Dreyfus has said that “there were issues” with the inaugural season of the GPL. “In no way did we envision the season going nine months long,” Dreyfus commented and he is accurate. Few sports leagues can function on such an elongated schedule because keeping the attention of the fans is paramount. Dreyfus has said that he wants a shorter season and is working towards that goal.
As a part of that shorter season, Dreyfus says that there are changes afoot for the entire way the GPL operates. “I don’t think anyone want to see the same exact format of last year, with hundreds of matches played, long delays and such,” Dreyfus commented. “We know what we want to do based on the feedback from the audience and the mistakes we made…we will make the GPL a better product.”
Part of that new approach probably will not include changes to the online format that the GPL used in 2016. The online matches were found by newcomers to the Twitch streams to be a bit of a disappointment as they were expecting to tune in to watch the players actually sitting around a table under live circumstances. The online format of those matches, however, allow for players from around the world to be a part of the action rather than requiring them to be in a set location. There might be some changes made to the “Summer Series” – which basically were the online matches but with the participants standing inside “The Cube” to play while the World Series of Poker was running in Las Vegas – but Dreyfus would not elaborate on what changes would be made except to say they would be announced “soon.”
Dreyfus isn’t letting the GPL sit idle, as shown by his actions in India, France, and China. But it would be good to see something on the international circuit – even if it were just a start date – so that those who have become fans of the GPL know when it will return.
In a dramatic, winner-take-all final match that went the distance of its “best of 11” format, the Montreal Nationals’ Pascal Lefrancois defeated the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast to take down the inaugural Global Poker League World Championship.
The eight teams that showed up on Tuesday to determine the champion represented the top squads that survived from a long regular season grind. For the GPL Americas, the top seeded Nationals had to contend with the L. A. Sunset, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans and the San Francisco Rush (in their order of seed) if they were going to even have a chance at the GPL World Championship. On the other side of the bracket the Moscow Wolverines entered the tournament as the top seed, with the Hong Kong Stars, the Bears and the London Royals battling for the GPL Eurasia championship.
From the start on Tuesday, there was an intensity to the contests that arguably wasn’t there during the regular season. The Nationals and the Rush squared off inside “The Cube” and took the battle all the way to a climactic Game 7 in the “best of seven” series (four wins to take the match). With players such as the Nationals’ Mike McDonald, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Lefrancois and Phil Galfond, Jonathan Jaffe and Faraz Jaka of the Rush inside the “Neon Box,” it would come down to a victory by McDonald over Jaffe to send the Nationals to the GPL Americas Finals and knock out the Rush.
The other semi-final didn’t let the crowd in the GPL Arena in Las Vegas down, either. Pushing their contest to a Game 7, the Sunset (with Olivier Busquet, Chance Kornuth and manager Maria Ho) and the Metropolitans (featuring Darren Elias, Joao Bauer and Thiago Nishijima) fought tooth and nail before Busquet eventually topped Nishijima to earn the other seat in the GPL Americas Finals.
As the top two seeds in the GPL Americas, it was expected to be another outstanding battle between the Nationals and the Sunset to see who would move on to the GPL World Championship Series. Instead, the Nationals seemed to have control of the event, moving out to a 3-1 lead before Ladouceur bested Ho and earned the Montreal Nationals a seat at the table for the GPL championship.
It was going to be tough to top the incredible action from the GPL Americas, but the GPL Eurasia decided to take a shot at it on Wednesday. The Wolverines (with manager Anatoly Filatov, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Andrey Pateychuk) made short work of the Royals (with a disappointed manager Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo) in winning 4-1, while the Bears (with Rast, Sorel Mizzi and Bill Perkins) won three consecutive games after falling behind 2-1 to the Stars (Guo Dong, Randy Lew and manager Celina Lin) to earn their seat in the GPL Eurasia Final.
The GPL Eurasia Final turned out to be the most entertaining match of the GPL Eurasia bracket. Neither team could move ahead by more than one game, forcing the action to a Game 7 and the “winner take all” moment that makes sports so special. Rast, who could arguably have been called the MVP of the GPL Eurasia bracket, finished off his fifth win in five efforts inside “The Cube” on Wednesday by defeating Filatov to win the series 4-3 (a big upset as far as seeding) and the GPL Eurasia Championship.
On Thursday, both the Nationals and the Bears were primed for action, ready to determine the champion and the recipient of the $ 100,000 bonus for the eventual World Champion. In a slight change to the schedule, the GPL World Championship became a “best of 11” series (six wins) instead of the “best of nine” schedule (five wins) that had previously been scheduled. However many games the two teams would play, it would turn out that the battle would go right to the end.
Montreal seemed to be wanting to make quick work of the series, using victories from Lefrancois, McDonald and Jason Lavallee (originally scheduled to be a part of the early action in the GPL Americas but delayed by flight issues) to go up 3-1. The Bears would fight back, with Rast, Mizzi and Perkins pulling even at 5-5 after an impressive 4-2 run. Down to the last match, Rast and Lefrancois squared off on the felt and, on the final hand, provided the last moment of drama for the 2016 GPL season.
Holding pocket Queens, Lefrancois was able to get Rast (with 10-8) to see a flop with him and flopped the world. The 8-4-Q squarely hit Lefrancois but he played it cool, allowing the turn card to fully trap Rast when it came as a ten. Instead of having a sneaky two pair, Rast was drawing dead as he committed his chips against Lefrancois’ set of Queens to end the series with the Nationals winning 6-5.
Congratulations to Lefrancois, McDonald, Lavallee, Ladouceur and Xuan Liu (the only member not in attendance in Las Vegas) for winning the inaugural Global Poker League championship. Whether this same team will return in 2017 to defend their title remains to be seen, but it should be entertaining to see what innovations come for the second season of the league.
The Global Poker League will wrap up their inaugural season beginning on Tuesday. By the end of the week – Thursday, to be precise – the first champion of the fledgling poker league will be crowned, with that champion taking down a $ 100,000 grand prize as their reward.
After playing through a grueling 14-week regular season that was split up pre- and post-World Series of Poker and battling through the “Summer Series” that saw the teams meet physically, the GPL determined the eight teams of the 12-team league that would compete for the GPL World Championship last month. These eight teams will play on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the two conferences deciding their champions on those days.
First up will be the GPL Americas on Tuesday, with the lineup going off as such:
#1 Montreal Nationals (130K in chips) vs. #4 San Francisco Rush (100K), 3PM Eastern Time
#3 Sao Paulo Metropolitans (110K) vs. #2 L. A. Sunset (120K) 4:30PM Eastern Time
Each team will choose three players from their roster for the “best of seven” (meaning a team will need to win four matches) heads up schedules that will take place (a fourth player can also be chosen by the manager that can take the place of one of the original three team members, but that swap can only be done at the start of a series). As the higher seeds, both the Nationals and the Sunset will get to see the rosters of their opponents before setting their lineups (another benefit of having a better regular season record in addition to the extra chips), which will be critical to finding just the right player combination for the fight at hand. The victors of those two matches will meet at 6PM (Eastern Time) to determine the champion of the GPL Americas.
On Wednesday, it will be the GPL Eurasia’s turn to hit “The Cube” in Las Vegas:
#1 Moscow Wolverines (130K) vs. #4 London Royals (100K), 3PM Eastern Time
#3 Berlin Bears (110K) vs. #2 Hong Kong Stars (120K), 4:30PM Eastern Time
The same format as for the GPL Americas on Tuesday will hold for the GPL Eurasia on Wednesday. The teams will have three of their players on hand for battle, with each schedule being decided on a “best of seven” heads up format and the final two teams expected to hit “The Cube” to determine the champion at 6PM (Eastern Time).
There are some interesting twists that will ensure that all players will get in “The Cube.” Each player must have played at least once in the contest before a player can make a repeat appearance. After each of the three players have been used on a set schedule from the manager, the managers for each team can then name – on a player-by-player basis – who will enter “The Cube” next for the team.
Once each conference has determined their champion, Thursday will be “Championship Day” for one of those two teams and the GPL itself. The GPL Championship will see each team enter “The Cube” in a “best of nine” (five victories to win) series. Each team will start off with 500K in chips for each match and neither team will have any advantage – no knowledge of the other team’s lineup, no chip advantage, nothing.
From a look at the way things are set with the schedule, it is possible to see that the GPL Americas teams might have an advantage. Playing on their “home court” per se because they are in the country, the Americas teams will be on their normal schedule. This might be negated if the GPL Eurasia teams arrive a bit early to get their team members (and their “body clocks”) on the same schedule as the Americas teams (3PM Eastern is late evening in Europe and early morning in Asia, not to mention noon in Las Vegas where the matches will take place). Teams like the Wolverines (with their all-Russian lineup) and the Stars (with their Chinese roster) could have their work cut out for them.
By Thursday, the first champion will make history for the GPL. Who will it be? Follow along at the GPL website, where you can watch the action on their live stream from Las Vegas and where you can also get in on their Bracket Challenge!
After nearly seven months of action (counting delays), the Global Poker League has reached its playoffs. While one conference had nearly set its four-team roster for the postseason, the other conference had plenty of jostling for position with none of the six teams eliminated as of the start of the final week of the regular season.
The conference with the least work to do, the GPL Americas, kicked off the week’s action with their three heads up matches. With the Montreal Nationals, the L. A. Sunset and the Sao Paulo Metropolitans all assured of a playoff spot – and the Las Vegas Moneymakers eliminated from contention – the final slot would come down to either the San Francisco Rush or the New York Rounders.
The Moneymakers’ Scott Ball would prove to be the proverbial thorn in the side of Manager Bryn Kenney of the Rounders, thumping Kenney by a 3-0 margin (a 9-0 rout by points). In getting zero points, Kenney essentially eliminated his squad from playoff contention as the Rush’s three-point margin before they even took to the virtual baize was enough to lock up the final playoff spot for them; the Rush gathered in six points from Phil Galfond via his 2-1 victory over the Metropolitans’ Felipe Ramos to ensure their position.
On Wednesday, the GPL Eurasia put the cards in the virtual air to determine their entire lineup for the upcoming playoffs. With both the Hong Kong Stars and the Berlin Bears playing before them (and against each other nonetheless), the Moscow Wolverines would know after the Stars/Bears match what they would need to do to take the GPL Eurasia championship. The answer? Nothing, as the Stars’ Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew took the first two games against the Bears’ Dominik Nitsche to win the match, but he couldn’t pull off the sweep to put the pressure on the Wolverines by passing them in the standings and handing the Wolverines the championship.
By that singular match between the Stars and the Bears, the first three positions were set for the GPL Eurasia playoffs. The Wolverines were assured of the #1 seed and, because of their performance, the Stars eclipsed the Bears for the #2 seed. All that was left was for the London Royals, the Paris Aviators and the Rome Emperors to decide who would take the final slot.
In the second match on Wednesday, the Emperors’ Mustapha Kanit got off to a good start with a win, but the Royals’ Justin Bonomo would strike back and take the next two games to win the entire match 2-1 (6-3 on points). With the win, the Royals officially eliminated the Emperors from contention, but they had to sweat out the final match of the day between the newly-crowned champion Wolverines and the Aviators.
With nothing to play for, Wolverines manager Anatoly Filatov could have simply “taken a knee” (given up the game) and allowed the Aviators’ Alexandre Luneau to have a walk. Instead, Filatov came out firing, winning the first game, before dropping the second to Luneau. In the penultimate game, Filatov pulled out the win to take the best of three set 2-1 (6-3 on points). Despite having the same point total as the Royals, the Aviators didn’t have as many wins (15-14) during the regular season, relegating them to the fifth-place slot and missing the playoffs.
After the dramatic regular season finale, it was almost anti-climactic to learn the brackets for the GPL playoffs. Beginning on November 29, the teams will line up like this (with the chips they will bring to the table):
#1 Montreal Nationals (130,000) vs. #4 San Francisco Rush (100,000)
#2 L. A. Sunset (120,000) vs. #3 Sao Paulo Metropolitans (110,000)
#1 Moscow Wolverines (130,000) vs. #4 London Royals (100,000)
#2 Hong Kong Stars (120,000) vs. #3 Berlin Bears (110,000)
The difference in the chip counts is a bonus for the teams who earned the higher seed to have an advantage over their competition. Once the semi-finals are set, the team with the better seed will receive a 40,000 bonus over the 200,000-starting stack. For the Finals, the champions of the GPL Americas and GPL Eurasia will both start with 500,000 in chips.
At issue for many is why is there a delay in the play of the GPL Playoffs and the Championship Final. The playoffs are scheduled to start on November 29 with the GPL Americas determining its eventual champion and, on November 30, the GPL Eurasia will figure out their champion. The weekend of action will culminate with the crowning of the inaugural Global Poker League champion on December 1.
The delay works out well for the players as, at that time of the year, the tournament calendar is beginning to slow down (the traditional calendar year finale, the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, begins on December 5). For those competing in the playoffs, it gives them the opportunity to get to Las Vegas to be able to participate at the GPL Arena (especially if they are overseas) and perhaps make some more out of their time by having the WPT event soon afterwards. It also allows for the managers of the teams competing for the title a chance to do some scouting and analysis of their opposition to be at max preparation for their matches.
Whatever the reason, the GPL’s inaugural season will end at the start of December. Who will take the title? We’ve got plenty of time to analyze that, but congratulations to the teams who will vie for the crown.
On Friday morning, Mediarex Sports and Entertainment announced that they had entered into a sponsorship deal with PokerStars, with the online poker industry’s largest site becoming the lead sponsor for Mediarex’s Global Poker League.
During the announcement of the new deal, the GPL’s Chief Executive Officer and the founder of the league Alexandre Dreyfus stated, “We are optimistic about this partnership, having the support of PokerStars is a crucial step forward on the road to fully establishing the GPL as a real blueprint for poker entertainment in the future. PokerStars offers us a multitude of opportunities to grow our platform and continue developing our two-fold strategy of connecting the League to the poker community and genuinely connecting poker to the mainstream entertainment sector on a large scale.” As a part of the sponsorship deal, poker fans will also see the emblem of PokerStars – the spade – emblazoned on the side of the GPL battlefield, “The Cube.”
For his part Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications, thought that the GPL was an innovation that will help the game overall. “The Global Poker League brings an innovative team-based twist to poker and we are happy to support Mediarex in their quest to bring poker to new audiences”, Hollreiser noted during the announcement.
The partnership between the two organizations seems to be a logical one. PokerStars is in the midst of transitioning to a more “recreational” mode of play for its customers and an expansion of the fan base of the game. The longstanding thought of the GPL was, at least according to Dreyfus, to “sportify” the game of poker and bring it to more casual fans instead of the hard core poker aficionado. With PokerStars on board, there is a huge potential for online promotions that can be done to bring players closer to the GPL product, perhaps in a manner of attending events for the GPL or actually playing in a sanctioned GPL event or on a GPL franchise.
But there could be a little bit of an issue with the signing. Many of the members of Team PokerStars Pro – including Las Vegas Moneymakers manager Chris Moneymaker, Hong Kong Stars manager Celina Lin, London Royals manager Liv Boeree and players Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Felipe Ramos, Randy Lew and Bryan Huang – are on the rosters of teams in the GPL, creating a bit of an incestuous relationship between the GPL and PokerStars already. Would the potential sponsorship of PokerStars have an impact if the GPL was to have to discipline one of the players in the future (at this time, the GPL has no bylaws on player conduct, but it is something that has been mentioned by Dreyfus that could occur in the future)? There is also the fact that PokerStars is already working with Mediarex on two of its other properties, the European Poker Awards and the American Poker Awards.
Critics have also pointed out that this might not be the best investment for PokerStars. Earlier this year, the parent company of the site, Amaya Gaming, announced wholesale changes to their VIP programs, essentially eviscerating them to the point that it wasn’t profitable for grinders to work the games. On Twitter Jason Mo commented, “Solid use of funds stolen from SNE (Supernova Elite) and Supernova players,” with fellow pro Melissa Burr adding in a point where she questioned Dreyfus about why players would take part in the GPL for minimal pay and was brushed off by Dreyfus saying, “It happened. Let’s move on.”
The GPL is holding to their appearance at TwitchCon 2016 this weekend, but it is much more neutered than it was expected to be just a couple of months ago. Instead of conducting their playoffs at the popular convention, the GPL has been reduced to having some players (no schedule has been announced) appear at their booth and, on Saturday at noon (Pacific Time) have Scott Ball of the Moneymakers and Thiago Nishijima of the Sao Paulo Metropolitans play and exhibition match on the GPL software from the floor of the convention (apparently “The Cube” will be unable to make the trip from Las Vegas to San Diego for the festivities).
Whether the partnership between PokerStars and the GPL improves the burgeoning league’s future is unknown. Aligning yourself with the #1 online poker site in the industry, however, is usually a recipe for good things.