2016 Global Poker League: What to Expect

Posted on by Rachel

For several years now, Alex Dreyfus has been working on his plan to sportify poker. It began with the Global Poker Index (GPI), which ranks the world’s top tournaments players. Then he added the HendonMob database to his portfolio and started holding poker awards shows in America and Europe. Now, Dreyfus is set to take the biggest step in his plan: launching the Global Poker League (GPL) in 2016. We now have some early details on what you can expect from the league, so check them out below.

12 Teams with 5 Players Each – The GPL will be comprised of 12 teams from America, Europe and Asia. And each team will have 5 players, 3 of whom will be selected through a live draft from the GPI’s Top 1,000.

GPL will have Two Conferences – Like many standard sports leagues, the GPL will be split into two conferences: the American Conference and the Eurasian Conference. The American division will have teams from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto and Sao Paulo. The Eurasian division will consist of teams from Barcelona, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Paris and Prague.

The Schedule will last for 14 Weeks – Each team will play 14 weeks total during the GPL season. There’s no word yet on what to expect from the actual poker matches in season.
“The Cube” will be the GPL Arena – The GPL will have their own arena, complete with stadium stairs and “The Cube,” a clear, 20-foot, sound-proofed area that players will compete against each other in. It will be somewhat like the World Series of Poker, except players won’t be able to hear the rail.

Participants will be paid to play – There’s extra incentive to compete in the GPL because all players will be paid, winning even more when their team wins. This differs quite a bit from traditional poker tournaments, where all players must pay a buy-in to enter. Prize money will come from advertising, merchandising and ticketing.

Will the Global Poker League be a Success?

When looking at the GPL, it’s hard not to think of the Epic Poker League (EPL), which was poker’s last attempt at sportifying the game. The EPL was short lived, lasting just three tournaments before canceling a fourth scheduled tourney along with a $1 million freeroll.
However, it’s easy to see the differences in Dreyfus’ vision versus what the EPL did. First off, this has been a long-thought out plan by Dreyfus that’s been built in steps, whereas the EPL immediately shot straight for poker’s version of the PGA Tour. The GPL has a lot more supporting factors to make their poker sports league work, including the GPI, HendonMob and awards shows. The EPL also had a ranking system in place, but they had little else to support their vision.

Finally, Dreyfus is bringing a much-deeper overall philosophy to the GPL. He’s not only aiming to run a successful poker league, but he’s also working hard to change the general public’s view of poker – making it entertainment, a sport and a game all rolled into one. The EPL, on the other hand, was just an interesting concept that sought to feature some of poker’s biggest names in a different style of tournament.

Whether the GPL is ultimately a huge success remains to be seen. But if we’re just looking at the differences between the failed EPL and the upcoming GPL, the latter definitely seems like it has a better chance of succeeding.

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