After eight weeks of the Global Poker League’s online poker play, players and production crew descended upon Las Vegas. While players competed in poker tournaments around town, the GPL team was putting together a Twitch studio, office, and massive Cube.
With little time to spare, the entire scene was set for the GPL to move forward with its first season with the kickoff of the Summer Series. For six weeks, players were going to compete in a soundproof and one-way-mirrored Cube, standing face-to-face but playing their A-games online on tablets. The vision that Alex Dreyfus had for the Cube and the launch of the Summer Series was finally on display on Monday, June 6 on multiple online channels connected to Twitch.
The first week of action was set up to pit players from opposite divisions against each other for the first time. The heads-up matches – each consisting of three games for three points each – was scheduled to put one member of a Eurasian team against a player from the Americas. And what better way to bring attention to the kickoff than to make one of the first two players Aaron Paul, a three-time Emmy-award winning actor and the only member of the GPL yet to have competed.
Day 1 (June 6): Paul Pips Soulier
Aaron Paul started strong for his LA Sunset team, pushing Paris Aviators team manager Fabrice Soulier down to 10 big blinds. The latter pushed his short stack in with J-4, but Paul had pocket sevens for the win and the first three points. The second match started with Paul taking the lead again, but Soulier found a big chance for a double to jump ahead. He soared from there, ultimately taking Q-J into battle against the A-3 of Paul, but Soulier turned a straight to win. Paul took charge of the third game, but the two ended up going back and forth for more than 100 hands, and Paul finally took it with Q-J over A-2 with a reminiscent turned straight. Paul took six points to the three of Soulier.
Day 2 (June 7): Jaffe Jams against Urbanovich
Jonathan Jaffe of the San Francisco Rush and Dzmitry Urbanovich of the Moscow Wolverines got off to a slow start, but Jaffe found his moment with K-Q on an A-J-T-9-7 board. Urbanovich had Q-8 and lost the first game. Urbanovich started strong in the second game, but Jaffe mounted a comeback that ended with J-9 versus the A-T of Urbanovich with a jack on the flop. Jaffe headed for the sweep but Urbanovich had enough. He chipped up playing a solid game, and despite Jaffe doubling into the lead at one point, Urbanovich stayed focused and got it back. His K-Q then stood up to the J-T of Jaffe to salvage three points for his team. Urbanovich took three, and Jaffe collected six total points.
Day 3 (June 8): Ball Batters Moorman
Chris Moorman of the London Royals started strong against Scott Ball of the hometown Las Vegas Moneymakers, but the two exchanged the lead before Ball ran away with the first game, finding queens to beat the A-9 of Moorman. The much-underestimated Ball simply dominated in the second game, with Moorman finally moving all-in with Q-7 but running into Ball’s pocket sevens to lose again. The two had a roller coaster of a third game, but Moorman doubled into the lead at one point and took that to the final hand with pocket deuces against the Q-J of Ball. Nothing helped Ball, and Moorman took it. Ball did collect six points to the three of Moorman.
Day 4 (June 9): Jacobson Sweeps Lew
Martin Jacobson of the Montreal Nationals took on Randy Lew of the Hong Kong Stars, and it started with back-and-forth action as expected. Jacobson crippled Lew with a full house versus a missed straight draw, and Lew then pushed with Q-J against the Q-9 of Jacobson. But Jacobson hit a nine on the flop for the first three points. Lew looked like he was going to run away with the next game, but Jacobson doubled multiple times from a short stack to put Lew at risk. Lew had A-Q against the 8-7 of Jacobson, but the latter rivered a straight. Jacobson then took the last game quickly, pushing on the last hand with 5-3 on a Q-6-5-5 board. Lew’s pocket kings never improved. Jacobson took all nine points against Lew.
Day 5 (June 10): Mojave Sweeps Gross
Felipe Mojave Ramos of the Sao Paolo Mets took a hit at the very beginning at the hands of Jeff Gross of the Berlin Bears, but Ramos came back strong. He chipped up, eventually crippling Gross with Q-J over K-J on a Q-J-7-6-2 board, and Ramos won shortly after. Gross couldn’t gather any momentum in the second game, and he risked his tournament life with 9-8 on a Q-J-9-5-2 board, but Ramos showed 10-8 for the straight and another win. Once again, Gross had trouble finding any good spots and shoved with A-2. Ramos had K-3 and caught a three on the turn to complete the sweep. Ramos grabbed all nine points, leaving Gross with none for the day.
Day 6 (June 11): MacPhee Masters Adams
Kevin MacPhee of the New York Rounders took an edge into the start of play against Tim Adams of the Rome Emperors when the online system awarded a hand to MacPhee prematurely. Adams came back, though, and the two battled back and forth until MacPhee took J-4 against the A-K of Adams and rivered a four. Adams was coolered to end the second game as well, when his 9-7 couldn’t beat the 9-6 of MacPhee with a six on the board. Adams came out swinging in the third game, though, pushing hard and dominating to capture a much-needed victory to avoid a sweep. MacPhee did collect six of the nine points available in the game, though.
Summer Series Heat 1 Final Standings
- London Royals: 100 points
- Moscow Wolverines: 95 points
- Hong Kong Stars: 91 points
- Paris Aviators: 89 points
- Berlin Bears: 74 points
- Rome Emperors: 66 points
- Montreal Nationals: 115 points
- LA Sunset: 101 points
- New York Rounders: 93 points
- Sao Paulo Mets: 91 points
- San Francisco Rush: 75 points
- Las Vegas Moneymakers: 71 points