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As the 2015 calendar year comes to a close, I find myself looking forward to what Global Poker League’s Alex Dreyfus has in store for poker fans next year. Call it wishful thinking of a poker fan — or even of a media representative desperately clinging to the hope of renewed growth in the industry. Whatever the case may be, the anticipation is legitimate.

“Sportification” of Poker, The Correct Path or Madness?

The popular opinion among poker industry representatives and players alike is that the Global Poker League (GPL) can only help poker in the long run. I tend to agree. It’s not like recreational fans are depositing online or heading to land-based casinos in droves like they were a decade ago, even though the game can still spark widespread interest among a key untapped market.

That market is video game players and enthusiasts. Your typical 18-25 year old video game fan who can give a mathematical breakdown of the best support characters in League of Legends might not represent everyone’s vision of a “fish,” but bringing more people into poker can only be positive. Many of what I call the Prilosec OTC Poker Players (aka “Larry the Cable Guy”) have either moved down in stakes or moved on from poker altogether, so that leaves poker with the need to attract a different genre.

Much has been said about The Cube, a soundproof see-through arena that the Global Poker League will be utilizing during its live events in 2016. Action at GPL events thankfully will be much more fast-paced the the 2015 WSOP November Nine final table, and the contests themselves will be held in live stadiums in conjunction with major eSports contests that revolve around competitive, professional video game play.

That’s all fine and dandy, and almost everyone is wishing Dreyfus the best of luck, but is there a way to make actual poker play that much more entertaining? As high stakes poker pro Jason Mo pointed out in a November 30, 2015 Poker Life Podcast interview with Joey Ingram, video game championships are much more competitive due to their lightning-quick action requirements and the nonstop strategic adaptations that the best players must make to succeed.

“HoldemX” — Blending Poker and Strategy in a New Way

Aside from creating the live GPL circuit, the company’s chief Alex Dreyfus is also planning on blending Poker and Hearthstone concepts in an entirely innovative way.

We know very little about HoldemX, but from what we’ve heard, it could be a combination of traditional poker and other popular card games like HearthstoneMagic the Gathering, and Gwent (shout-out to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). This was discussed briefly by Ingram and Mo on that Podcast, but if you want to find out more information as soon as its available, your best bet is to visit the official HoldemX website.

This concept could be a major game changer for poker as we know it, and Dreyfus’ most intriguing challenges in making it mainstream will likely be linked to how addictive and viewer-friendly it is. As I’ve written many times in past PokerUpdate articles, the online poker industry is ripe for subscription based business models that are more in-tune with how major online video games generate revenue.

Will Alex Dreyfus Be Poker’s 2016 Contributor of The Year?

Dreyfus has already been highly instrumental in moving the poker industry in a new direction. His Global Poker Index rankings are the most-respected worldwide by many pros and fans alike, plus his involvement with the American Poker Awards can’t be overlooked.

At a time when many are shying away from poker investment, Dreyfus is surging forward like an individual possessed with altering the game to make it more similar to his unique vision.

That could be exactly was poker needs, or it could be completely underwhelming. We’ll have to wait and see what 2016 brings, but here’s wishing the best to Alex Dreyfus, the Global Poker League, and HoldemX next year.

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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.