When Alex Dreyfus first floated the idea of the Global Poker League, it looked to be big. Now that more details have been released for the teams, season schedule, and grand finale, there is no doubt that it’s going to be big.
The best example of the scope of it all is the setting for the GPL Finals: the SSE Arena at Wembley. Yes, THAT Wembley. The indoor arena, the second largest in London, seats 12,500 people. It has hosted some of the biggest musical acts in history, as well as sports like ice hockey, boxing, and Olympics events. And it has hosted major television shows like X Factor.
Season 1 Starts April 5
The idea of the GPL began to truly take shape when the 12 franchise team managers gathered in late February in Los Angeles for the inaugural GPL Draft Day and chose their first four players for each team.
Since then, each manager chose two wild card players, with most of them including themselves. The full list of teams, managers, and players are listed below for reference. And the first season of the Global Poker League was announced just days ago, making it all real and ready to go.
The regular season begins on April 5 and runs through September 22 with matches to be held every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays will feature the Eurasia and Americas teams in 6-max No Limit Hold’em tournaments, while heads-up events will play out on Wednesdays and Thursdays. All of the poker will be broadcast in an eSports format, livestreamed on Twitch and on Poker Central, and the games will be played on the GPL’s proprietary online poker platform.
For example, the first week’s schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, April 5 tournaments
12:00pm EST — Eurasia 6-Max
1:40pm EST — Eurasia 6-Max
3:30pm EST — Americas 6-Max
5:10pm EST — Americas 6-Max
Wednesday, April 6 heads-up matches:
12:00pm EST — Hong Kong Stars player vs. Moscow Wolverines player
2:30pm EST — Berlin Bears player vs. Paris Aviators player
5:00pm EST — Rome Emperors player vs. London Royals player
Thursday, April 7 heads-up matches:
1:00pm EST — Los Angeles Sunset player vs. Sao Paulo Metropolitans player
3:30pm EST — Montreal Nationals player vs. San Francisco Rush player
6:00pm EST — New York Rounders player vs. Las Vegas Moneymakers player
In addition, the first half of the season will have commentators that many are anxious to hear: Sam Grafton and Griffin Benger. Both are accomplished poker players and up to the task of discussing the matches before they begin and while they happen.
In the midst of it all, there will be a Summer Series during the time of the World Series of Poker, which will consist of 33 days of heads-up battles from June 5 to July 8, though the days and times vary from week to week. The action will be filmed and broadcast live from the GPL’s Las Vegas studio so players can compete in the GPL and WSOP without missing a beat.
Finally, the GPL Playoffs will be held at dates to be determined in the final days of September, at which time the final 8 teams play down to just four places for the finals. The GPL Finals will then take place on November 22 and 23 at the SSE Arena in London, with The Cube, a trademarked and soundproof glass box in the center of the arena.
Considering the schedule is quite long and detailed, the exact dates, times, and participating teams are listed on the GPL’s schedule page. Click here to go directly to it.
Biggest Match of All
Perhaps the most anticipated match of all is the one involving the GPL itself. And its team manager, Alex Dreyfus, is ready to take on the world.
Dreyfus has faced a great deal of skepticism – and even opposition – from the moment he announced the Global Poker League. The Cube has been the center of jokes, and the GPL has been compared to the now-defunct and long-bankrupt Epic Poker. But Dreyfus never wavered in his promotion of the GPL, never gave in to the naysayers. And as it came together over the past months, more people became interested and showed support.
The first match in this fight was on GPL Draft Day, which turned out to be a significant success. The next round begins on April 5, when poker fans from around the world tune in to see the first online poker matches on the yet-unseen GPL software.
Rehearsal of GPL. On Air. pic.twitter.com/mLDVGCLN2A— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) April 1, 2016
Of all of the poker set to be played, this is the only one from which a sure winner can be predicted. Dreyfus will prevail.
That’s not to say there may not be tough spots for the GPL. There may be software glitches, Internet connection issues, or tournament delays. No matter the obstacles, though, Dreyfus has come too far to let his vision be knocked out.
Prediction: Dreyfus 1, Naysayers 0
As for the actual players set to participate in the GPL, here are the initial teams, not including wild cards as not all have yet been revealed.
Rome Emperors: Manager Max Pescatori
- Mustapha Kanit
- Dario Sammartino
- Timothy Adams
- Walter Treccarichi
London Royals: Manager Liv Boeree
- Igor Kurganov
- Vanessa Selbst
- Chris Moorman
- Justin Bonomo
Moscow Wolverines: Manager Anatoly Filatov
- Dzmitry Urbanovich
- Vladimir Troyanovskiy
- Andrey Pateychuk
- Sergey Lebedev
Berlin Bears: Manager Philipp Gruissem
- Brian Rast
- Sorel Mizzi
- Dominik Nitsche
- Jeff Gross
Paris Aviators: Manager Fabrice Soulier
- Bertrand Grospellier
- Davidi Kitai
- George Danzer
- Mike Leah
Hong Kong Stars: Manager Celina Lin
- WeiYi Zhang
- Raiden Kan
- Dong Guo
- Bryan Huang
Montreal Nationals: Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur
- Mike McDonald
- Martin Jacobson
- Pascal Lafrancois
- Xuan Liu
New York Rounders: Manager Bryn Kenney
- Jason Mercier
- Tom Marchese
- Kevin MacPhee
- Jason Wheeler
San Francisco Rush: Manager Faraz Jaka
- Phil Galfond
- Anthony Gregg
- Kitty Kuo
- Anton Wigg
Las Vegas Moneymakers: Manager Chris Moneymaker
- Anthony Zinno
- Jonathan Duhamel
- Jake Cody
- Jonathan Little
Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Manager Andre Akkari
- Darren Elias
- Byron Kaverman
- Thiago Nishijima
- Joao Pires Simao
Los Angeles Sunset: Manager Maria Ho
- Fedor Holz
- Olivier Busquet
- Eugene Katchalov
- Chance Kornuth