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The Global Poker League has been building momentum for the new team competition. With the first-ever GPL Draft Day fast approaching, there is much speculation about the players who are eligible for the first rounds of picks by team managers.

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♠ Big Names Chosen on GPL Draft Day

With this week’s release of the list of draft-eligible players and the order by which the managers will make their picks, the information is ripe for opinions about what will happen at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 25.

There is even an official GPL soundtrack now. It’s getting serious.

Draft Order

Per a live Twitch stream on February 16, GPL chief Alex Dreyfus chose the teams at random to determine the order for the draft. It is as follows:

  1. Rome Emperors (Max Pescatori)
  2. Montreal Nationals (Marc-Andre Ladouceur)
  3. New York Rounders (Bryn Kenney)
  4. San Francisco Rush (Faraz Jaka)
  5. Las Vegas Moneymakers (Chris Moneymaker)
  6. Sao Paulo Metropolitans (Andre Akkari)
  7. London Royals (Liv Boeree)
  8. Moscow Wolverines (Anatoly Filatov)
  9. Los Angeles Sunset (Maria Ho)
  10. Berlin Bears (Philipp Gruissem)
  11. Paris Aviators (Fabrice Soulier)
  12. Hong Kong Stars (Celina Lin)

It was also announced that each team will be able to choose a fourth placer from the draft list.

The first round of picks will take place in the above-listed order, with the second round in reverse order. Round 3 will go back to the original order, and the fourth round will be in reverse again.

Selection Strategy

There are numerous factors to be considered when developing a selection strategy. Team managers must not only consider the Global Poker Index rankings and live tournament earnings, but online poker results are also important due to the portion of tournament play that will take place at online poker tables.

There are also players who may be somewhat new to the GPI rankings but have come on strong and made an impact on a particular team manager, either through an interaction or a particular event that caught his or her attention.

In addition, one of the goals of the GPL is to attract sponsorships and possess an entertainment factor for the live tournament play. Managers must consider the personalities and public image of the players they select, as they will be the faces of the team and draw attention – good or bad – as the first season plays out. Everything from players’ general images to their social media presence should be taken under advisement.

Likely Top Picks

It should be noted that the list of draftable players, which is now available on the GPL website, is a broad spectrum of players, and their countries of origin are not listed. Managers have no mandate to choose players from their own region of the world.

Some of the likely first-tier choices for Round 1 on GPL Draft Day are:

Mustapha Kanit – just won a High Roller event at EPT Dublin, is one of the fastest rising players in today’s live and online poker scene, and is an Italian who is likely to be chosen by Max Pescatori as the very first pick of the day for the Rome Emperors.

Fedor Holz – won High Roller events in December 2015 and January 2016, is one of the most feared players online, and is a German but is likely to be chosen before the Berlin Bears are able to scoop him in the tenth position of the order.

Chris Moorman – just crossed the $13 million mark in lifetime online poker earnings, consistently sets online poker records, and could be a top pick for a US-based team or the London Royals.

Jonathan Duhamel – ranks in the top 25 players in the world, won several events in the latter months of 2015, and is friends with Montreal manager Marc-Andre Ladoucer, who has the second pick of the day.

Davidi Kitai – one of the best European poker players in the world, is the top-ranked Belgian player in the world, and is a very likely top pick for Fabrice Soulier in 11th position for the Paris Aviators.

Dominik Nitsche – has proven to be a solid and exciting young player, just took first and second in back-to-back High Roller events at EPT Dublin, and is well-liked on the tournament circuit with results to back up any manager’s decision to choose him.

Byron Kaverman – has been in first or second on GPI world rankings for 12 weeks and is continually rising with nearly $7 million in lifetime earnings, has proven skills in live and online poker, and is an obvious choice for any team.

Jason Mercier, Anthony Zinno, Kevin MacPhee, Mike McDonald, and Tom Marchese are all likely candidates for Round 1 due to their impressive GPI rankings and well-known poker accomplishments.

If you miss the live Twitch stream of GPL Draft Day on February 25, we will have all of the results here for you on Poker Update. Stay tuned!

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.