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For nearly four hours on February 25, the poker world tuned in to the Global Poker League’s Twitch channel (and the Poker Update Twitter feed, of course) to watch the first ever draft day play out in real time. As the action took place in Beverly Hills, California, poker players and fans followed along.

With Kara Scott serving as the GPL Commissioner, she kept the process moving as each GPL team manager was given three minutes to choose a new team member in each of the four rounds. Between picks, the Global Poker Index’s own Eric Danis held down a panel of commentators that also included Joe Stapleton, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth. And sports reporter extraordinaire Holly Sonders of FOX Sports was on hand to provide interviews with team managers.

The inaugural GPL Draft Day felt like a real, true, sportified draft.

View from the Sidelines

From a spectator’s viewpoint, the draft had all of the intensity one would expect when team managers have to choose from an impressive list of players to take only four of them for their team. Managers took their roles seriously and put a great deal of thought into their picks, often consulting with friends in the room or via telephone.

Everyone in the room, in fact, seemed invested in the outcome. Some of the picks were stunners, and others were surprises that pulled players into teams when they were pegged to go elsewhere. The panel of commentators not only offered information about the players who were chosen – and even those who were overlooked – but they also analyzed the makeup of the teams and the qualities that will make up the best of the teams.

While the entire draft took more than four hours, the process kept this viewer’s attention and built excitement for the wild card rounds and the eventual league play to come.

Team Picks

Alright, already! Here are the teams, managers, and the first four players per team as chosen in the draft:

Rome Emperors: Manager Max Pescatori

1. Mustapha Kanit

2. Dario Sammartino

3. Timothy Adams

4. Walter Treccarichi

Montreal Nationals: Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur

1. Mike McDonald

2. Martin Jacobson

3. Pascal Lafrancois

4. Xuan Liu

New York Rounders: Manager Bryn Kenney

1. Jason Mercier

2. Tom Marchese

3. Kevin MacPhee

4. Jason Wheeler

San Francisco Rush: Manager Faraz Jaka

1. Phil Galfond

2. Anthony Gregg

3. Kitty Kuo

4. Anton Wigg

Las Vegas Moneymakers: Manager Chris Moneymaker

1. Anthony Zinno

2. Jonathan Duhamel

3. Jake Cody

4. Jonathan Little

Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Manager Andre Akkari

1. Darren Elias

2. Byron Kaverman

3. Thiago Nishijima

4. Joao Pires Simao

Primeiras contratações do @SaoPauloMets !!! #gpl #SpMets #Vamooo

A photo posted by Andre Akkari (@aakkari) on

London Royals: Manager Liv Boeree

1. Igor Kurganov

2. Vanessa Selbst

3. Chris Moorman

4. Justin Bonomo

Moscow Wolverines: Manager Anatoly Filatov

1. Dzmitry Urbanovich

2. Vladimir Troyanovskiy

3. Andrey Pateychuk

4. Sergey Lebedev

Los Angeles Sunset: Manager Maria Ho

1. Fedor Holz

2. Olivier Busquet

3. Eugene Katchalov

4. Chance Kornuth

Berlin Bears: Manager Philipp Gruissem

1. Brian Rast

2. Sorel Mizzi

3. Dominik Nitsche

4. Jeff Gross

Paris Aviators: Manager Fabrice Soulier

1. Bertrand Grospellier

2. Davidi Kitai

3. George Danzer

4. Mike Leah

Hong Kong Stars: Manager Celina Lin

1. WeiYi Zhang

2. Raiden Kan

3. Dong Guo

4. Bryan Huang

The managers now have approximately one week in which to choose two wild card players per team. These players need not be ranked by the Global Poker Index, so the options are virtually unlimited.

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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.