The Global Poker League finished its first season in December of 2016. From 12 teams of six players each, the season finished on December 1 with the Montreal Nationals beating the Berlin Bears for the title and $100K in prize money.
From that point on, however, there was little mention of Season 2, though chief executive Alex Dreyfus maintained that it was imminent. The Global Poker Index focused on its third American Poker Awards and the announcement of the upcoming European Poker Awards, along with news of a Chinese version of the Global Poker League taking shape. Finally, however, at the end of March, a teaser video for GPL Season 2 was released.
Preparing for Season 2! Worldwide esports poker league 🌎 pic.twitter.com/cZNfhMBTPk— Global Poker League (@gpl) March 28, 2017
What Will Season 2 Bring?
When Season 1 of the GPL wrapped in December, Dreyfus noted that plans were already in the works for 2017 “focusing on improving everything from the product to our content, distribution, fan engagement and other aspects.” In more specific terms, he said, “Season 2 will be much shorter and more intense in order to keep hype at a maximum. Each game will have higher stakes than ever before.” He noted that fans will have more input into the league format and game outcomes.
Further, there will be a role for the draft in Season 2, despite the first draft claiming to hold players on their selected teams for a period of two years. It only makes sense, however, due to several players and even one manager that seem likely to be unable or unwilling to participate in another season.
GPL has upped its presence on social media of late by highlighting some of its players as they find live tournament success in various locations around the world. Videos are giving more publicity to GPL players in connection with their respective teams.
To China and Beyond
Poker businesses like the World Poker Tour have had their eyes on China for many years, and a recent surge in the game’s popularity in the country indicates that a poker boom could be on the horizon. As eSports and other video gaming remains wildly popular in China, Dreyfus has been seeking to leverage his entrepreneurial ideas there.
As 2017 got underway, so did Dreyfus with the launch of a Global Poker Index website and rankings system specifically for China – GPI China – and the basis for the GPL: China. The Chinese Poker League has eight teams established to represent different areas of the country, and the launch of the teams and league play seems to be on schedule for a 2017 launch. Further, Dreyfus signed a multi-year agreement with Sina Sports and a five-year strategic partnership with JuzhongJoy, all of which will help establish the operations, distribution, and sponsorships for the GPL: China.
In the middle of March, Dreyfus also mentioned that other regional projects are on the horizon. One mentioned will be the GPL Heads Up Challenge in France, and other initiatives in process involved the expansion of the GPL to India and Latin America.
It is unclear how these ideas will take shape, but Dreyfus is undoubtedly hoping to see all of them come to fruition. Meanwhile, fans of the GPL’s inaugural season await news of a follow-up for 2017, as April has already begun with only a teaser video with most details still unspecified. Players like Anatoly Filatov and others continue to be dedicated to continuing with the GPL, but more information will need to emerge soon in order to keep the attention of fans and start brewing excitement for what is to come.