Posts Tagged ‘Season’
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.
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!
The European Poker Tour’s (EPT) Barcelona Main Event kicked off Monday, the first Main Event of EPT Season 13. It was a healthy turnout for Day 1A, as 466 players paid the €5,300 to take a shot at the season’s first big title. The total field should climb well over 1,000 runners; the first starting flight is almost always the smallest. Alex Brand sits atop the 243 surviving players with 178,800 chips.
It is a close race at the top of the Day 1A leader board. Bernd Vogelhuber is close behind Brand with 167,000 chips and after him, there are six players in the 150,000 range: Pael Krasnoselskii (155,000), Michael Addamo (153,100), Dorian Rios Pavon (152,700), Kestutis Gecevicius (152,200), Victor Bogdanov (152,200), and Igor Yaroshevskyy (150,000).
Should brand keep the momentum going and simply cash in the tournament, it would immediately be one of the largest cashes of his live tournament career. According to TheHendonMob.com, Brand has five live cashes for a total of just $ 28,276 (I say “just,” but that’s still eight times more than I have won in live tourneys). Three are for less money that he would win with a min-cash.
Oftentimes, the most significant hand of the day involves the chip leader and is the main reason that person made it to the highest rung on the leader board. Not so yesterday. One of the most exciting hands of the night played out during Level 8. According to PokerNews, Athanasios Fergiatakis raised to 1,900 pre-flop and was called by Koray Aldemir. Charlie Carrel shoved for 13,700 chips. After getting a count, Fergiatakis made the call. That still left Aldemir to act and he decided to make things even more interesting by himself going all-in. After once again asking for a count and then pondering his move, Fergiatakis called, having both opponents covered.
Their hands were good, but worse than you might expect in this situation. Carrel had 9-9, Aldemir had A-K of hearts, and Fergiatakis had 8-8. Carrel himself was surprised to be in the lead.
The flop was J-T-4, keeping Carrel in ahead, but giving Aldemir a gut-shot straight draw to go with his two over cards. A 9 was dealt on the turn, producing a welcome set for Carrel and eliminating Aldermir’s Ace and King outs. It was the Queen on the river, though, that changed everything. At first, Fergiatakis thought he had won the hand, as that card gave him a Queen-high straight, but then he realized it also gave Aldemir a Broadway straight. Aldemir took down the main and side pots, eliminating Carrel in the process. Aldemir finished the day with 127,700 chips.
Day 1B is already underway in Barcelona as a new batch of players has taken to the felts. We’ll check in later tonight or tomorrow to see how things went.
2016 European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event – Day 1A Chip Counts
1. Alex Brand – 178,800
2. Bernd Vogelhuber – 167,600
3. Pavel Krasnoselskii – 155,000
4. Michael Addamo – 153,100
5. Dorian Rios Pavon – 152,700
6. Kestutis Gecevicius – 152,200
7. Victor Bogdanov – 150,200
8. Igor Yaroshevskyy – 150,000
9. Jaroslaw Sikora – 139,000
10. Shaun Deeb – 136,500
The thirteenth season of the European Poker Tour (EPT) has started and today marked the opening of the season’s first Main Event, at EPT Barcelona. More on the tournament itself in a later article, but for now, one of the more interesting bits of news coming out of the EPT recently was that PokerStars, which operates the Tour, changed the payout structure of its tournaments. Instead of paying 15 percent of the field, tournaments will now pay down to 20 percent.
In a blog post announcing the decision, PokerStars briefly explained that it was a way to make the events more fun for more people, giving people a chance to at least come away with something, even if they didn’t nab one of the top payouts. Of course, this means that those top payouts will not be as large anymore, as those extra cashes have to come from someone. PokerStars said, though, that the effect shouldn’t be as severe as people might think:
For example, 220 players bought into a €1,000 Hyper at Barcelona last year. The winner collected €45,134 and 31 players were paid out with 31st getting €1,878. This year, the winner would collect €38,028 but 47 players would be paid out with 47th getting €1,238. That same 31st player would get €1,921.
In an interview with PokerNews, PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson gave additional insight into the decision making process, saying that about half the players in EPT Season 12 played in only one or two events, even though each stop has dozens and dozens of tournaments, many with affordable buy-ins. He continued:
We started looking at the payouts in a vacuum and to see what made sense. We took all the preconceptions out of it. We saw that if we would pay out 20 percent instead of 15 percent, we could give 5 percent of the field a do-over. It’s effectively like saying ‘Thanks for coming, I hope you had a lot of fun. Sorry you didn’t make it into the big money, good luck the next time because here’s money for another shot.” If someone has a buy-in to play another poker tournament, that’s a good thing. So that’s the direction we ended up going.
“To keep a healthy poker economy, a solid liquidity for live tournament poker, you need more winners,” Johnson added later. “You need more people able to buy in and play so the fields continue to grow. You don’t want to see a situation where it just stagnates, which happens if there’s not getting new money in.”
Johnson said that unlike when the payout structure was increased from 10 to 15 percent, players were not surveyed to seek their input for this latest change. Looking back to the previous change, Johnson recalled:
The options were 10 percent, 12.5 percent, and 15 percent, and all three of them got 33 percent of the votes. Whatever we did, 66 percent was going to be angry. We did what we thought was in the best interest of the poker economy at that time.
This time, we ran all the data we had and decided again to do what we thought was in the best interest of the poker economy and poker players. We’ve done what we think was the right thing to do.
Many pros did not react to the change positively, as the money that is being removed from the upper-end payouts, particularly in the high buy-in tournaments, is a big deal for top tournament players. They don’t want thousands or tens of thousands of dollars being removed from final table positions, as that’s money they count on – as much as one can count on making a final table regularly – to pay the bills and to pay for more tournaments.
Shortly after the PokerNews interview, PokerStars decided to revert back to a 15 percent payout structure for €50,000 Super High Roller and €25,000 Single-Day High Roller events, which makes sense, since those are populated by pros who really don’t care about min-cashes and breaking even on their buy-ins.
After a few weeks off with the conclusion of the 2016 World Series of Poker – that is, everything but the “November Nine” – the tournament poker world is swinging back into gear as the month of July comes to a close. One tournament in Florida has become the de facto kickoff to the second half of the tournament season while a second event in Oklahoma draws a strong contingent of players competing for a major tournament circuit title.
In Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, has opened up the doors on their 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. Now in its fourth year, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open has hosted a series of events that bring the players back after a little break from the WSOP with what can only be called a “major” Main Event. Although preliminary events for the SHRPO have begun already, everyone’s eyes are on this year’s Main Event.
The path to becoming the “big event” to bring everyone back to the tables after the WSOP has been a tricky one for the SHRPO Main Event and the officials of the Seminole Tribe in Florida. In its first year in 2013, the buy in was $ 5000 and featured unlimited rebuys for the three Day Ones that constituted the opening action. That tournament would crush the $ 10 million guarantee, creating a prize pool of $ 11,920,000, and Blair Hinkle would go on to take the inaugural championship and the $ 1,745,245 first place payday.
In 2014, the Seminoles tried to catch lightning in a botte again and came up a bit short. Setting the same guaranteed prize pool as 2013, “only” 1499 entries were received by the close of registration, setting the Seminoles in the precarious situation of being slightly more than $ 2.5 million under the guarantee from simply player entries. To their credit, the Seminoles ate the $ 2.5 million shortfall and paid the $ 10 million guaranteed prize pool, with Dan Colman defeating Mike Leah to take the championship and its $ 1,466,710 windfall.
After coming up short, the Seminoles made some changes to the 2015 tournament. Officials reduced the guaranteed prize pool to $ 5 million and made the tournament a traditional freeze out event rather than a reentry free-for-all. Colman was back to defend his title but he would come up short in third place after falling at the hands of Brian Phillis. Phillis would enter heads up play against Omar Zazay as a massive chip leader but, after grinding it out for more than 100 hands, Zazay would emerge as the champion and the $ 1 million winner.
This year’s event will feature the same format as last year, with the $ 5 million guarantee, the buy in and the freeze out format all staying the same. What officials with the Seminole Tribe hope is that more than the 907 runners that came to the line last year will show up for 2016. After having to pay slightly less than $ 500,000 to cover the guarantee from 2015 (and the big shortfall from 2014), the SHRPO Main Event is hoping to revert to its inaugural success.
Almost 1500 miles away from Florida, the World Poker Tour has already kicked back into its Season XIV schedule with a stop in Oklahoma. The WPT Choctaw is into its Day 1B action in its $ 3500 Main Event and the players are definitely showing for the tournament. The $ 3 million guaranteed prize pool has already been dwarfed by the 989 entries that have currently been received (unlimited entries are allowed in the tournament and registration does not close until the start of Day 2 on Sunday) and, if the numbers from 2015 are achieved, a prize pool of more than $ 4.1 million will be created. Players such as Phil Hellmuth, Darren Elias, Tom Marchese, Cate Hall, Ari Engel and Faraz Jaka have been spotted in the tournament room for Day 1B of action in the tournament, with everyone looking to be the person to capture this latest championship on the WPT circuit.
This doesn’t even touch the other major tour and its upcoming season. The European Poker Tour is still more than two weeks away from the kickoff of their Season 13 schedule in Barcelona, Spain on August 16. With both a High Roller (€10,000) and Super High Roller (€50,000) on the schedule, the Main Event (a €5000 tournament) may seem to be an afterthought, but the players will certainly flock to the Mediterranean coast for all the festivities at the Casino Barcelona.
The players have gotten their rest and are now ready to make the charge to the end of 2016. Many Player of the Year races can be affected by the results in the second half of the calendar year, which makes these and other tournaments incredibly important. For now, however, we can welcome poker back into action as the world’s best players (and some amateurs making their name) leap into the fray once again.