As promised, the Global Poker League revealed all of its 12 franchise teams for the inaugural GPL that will take place this year. Chris Moneymaker was previously announced as the captain of the Las Vegas Moneymakers to garner excitement for the league, and he is now joined by players like Faraz Jaka, Fabrice Soulier, Maria Ho, Andre Akkari, and Liv Boeree leading up their respective teams.
Several of the teams hail from the United States, but the countries of Brazil, Russia, Italy, France, Canada, England, Hong Kong, and Germany are also represented. The exact team names and managers are as follows:
- Berlin Bears: Philipp Gruissem
- Hong Kong Dragons: Celina Lin
- Los Angeles Sunset: Maria Ho
- Las Vegas Moneymakers: Chris Moneymaker
- London Royals: Liv Boeree
- Montreal Nationals: Marc-Andre Ladouceur
- Moscow Wolverines: Anatoly Filatov
- New York Rounders: Bryn Kenney
- Paris Aviators: Fabrice Soulier
- Rome Emperors: Max Pescatori
- San Francisco Rush: Faraz Jaka
- Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Andre Akkari
The press release pointed out that the 12 team managers have a cumulative set of 71 career live poker tournament wins, 405 top ten finishes, and more than $46 million in live tournament earnings.
On February 25, all of the 12 managers will gather at the SLS Beverly Hills in Los Angeles during the GPI American Poker Awards. The draft will be cohosted by Kara Scott, Phil Hellmuth, and Daniel Negreanu, a trio of familiar faces from poker and most recently from the World Series of Poker Main Event broadcasts on ESPN.
Save the date: GPL Draft Day – Feb 25th, 2016 – Los Angeles, USA. pic.twitter.com/qkCR9vOruh— Global Poker League (@gpl) October 19, 2015
Action from the draft will be live-streamed on Twitch, as the team captains will choose their players from the Global Poker Index top 1,000 player rankings. Players like Mustapha Kanit, Chris Moorman, Byron Kaverman, Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, and Fedor Holz have already entered the draft and seek to be chosen for teams. Each manager will also choose two wildcard players for their teams, and those players need not be in the GPI rankings.
Players who wish to be drafted will be able to apply for the draft on the new Global Poker League website set to be launched next week, prior to the American Poker Awards.
From that point forward, information will be revealed about the first season of the GPL, which will run from April to September with a break in the middle for the WSOP in Las Vegas. The GPL Playoffs and then the World Championships will then follow, the latter planned for a North American “first tier sports arena” yet to be named.
Alex Dreyfus, CEO of GPL parent company Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, noted, “We’re looking forward to what the next few months and the inaugural season of the Global Poker League will bring for fans across the globe.”
Some of the team managers immediately took to Twitter and Instagram to express pride in their newly announced GPL teams, which also have new Twitter accounts.
And players are already reaching out to managers to indicate interest in being drafted.
@FarazJaka Congrats! I would love to be part of the team.— Jonathan Little (@JonathanLittle) January 13, 2016
Managers have their own concerns about the players they don’t draft:
Dreyfus took to Twitter a few hours after the original announcement to highlight a few details of the GPL.
First, he noted that team managers have committed to the GPL and their roles for two years. Players who are chosen for teams will also pledge to remain loyal to the GPL and their teams for two years. “We wanted to avoid volatility,” wrote Dreyfus, “to increase fan engagement.”
Second and most interestingly, he said that all players in the GPL will be compensated for their participation with an hourly salary, performance bonuses, and a percentage of the team revenue from things like merchandising. All of their expenses for travel will also be paid.
Third, Dreyfus added something new. While the regular season games will be played using No Limit Hold’em formats like six-max and heads-up, the playoffs and championship will incorporate something called 3v3 Poker. No details of the format have been made available yet, but Dreyfus noted that it will be explained in the coming months. A quick Internet search revealed that the logo is in the process of being trademarked by Mediarex, and the website has been reserved by Dreyfus.
Fourth, there will be lines and betting during the season from “several sportsbooks.”
More information will likely be revealed as the draft approaches.