The Global Poker Index (GPI) has announced the countries that qualified to participate in its first ever “Global Poker Masters” (GPM) event. The founder of GPI, Alexandre Dreyfus, envisions the GPM tournament growing into an international sporting event on par with the soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games.
The idea was conceived to align with his broader vision of “sportifying” poker and broadening the game’s appeal to a wider audience. By creating a more sophisticated ranking system for players, coupled with high-profile events and international competitions, GPI hopes to show off the global appeal of the game and increase the interest of large corporate sponsors.
Forty Players Total for Event
The tournament will unfold over two days and will be held during this year’s European Poker Tour (EPT) stop in Malta.
Five players from eight countries — chosen from the ones with the most nationals in the GPI300 — will be competing: The United States; the United Kingdom; Germany; Canada; Russia; France; Italy; Ukraine.
The buy-in for the event is nothing ($0). That is, of course, unless you want to try and put a dollar value on national pride.
Breaking Down the National Rosters
The five players were selected by taking the top ranked national player, followed by the next three highest GPI ranked players, and then finally, a “wild card.”
With 46.67% of the GPI300 being American, it’s no surprise that team USA will be particularly strong. Although subject to change, the roster is shaping up as: Dan Smith (GPI rank #2), Pratyush Buddiga (#6), and Jacob Schindler (#7). Dan Colman, who is the United States player of the year, has already told organizers that he doesn’t plan on participating.
Team UK will be headed by their national player of the year, Oliver Price (#36), who will have strong support from highest ranked Brit Stephen Chidwick (#11). Team Germany is only ranked third overall, but will have Ole Schemion (#1) heading up what will without a doubt be one of the more difficult squads in the competition.
Canadians Ami Barer (Canadian player of the year and overall #4) and Sorel Mizzi (#13) will be joined by Martin Finger (#46) and George Danzer (#48).
Meanwhile, team Russia will feature several players with last names that put even my nine-letter Polish name to shame: Anatoly Filatov (#32), Vladimir Troyanovskly (#55), Ivan Soshinkov (#63) and Vitaly Lunkin (#77).
Team France will feature Erwann Pecheux (#59), Benjamin Pollak (#61); Team Italy will send Dario Sammartino (#17) and Mustapha Kanit (#41); Team Ukraine rounds out the field with Eugene Katchalov (#53) and Oleksandr Gnatenko (#207).
Event will be Broadcast via Live Stream
Adding to the excitement of the event is that it will be available for viewing in real time, with no delay.
The stream will be monetized via advertising sponsors. An added feature that will no doubt generate more excitement is that viewers will be able to make side bets on the action as it unfolds.
Many people have wondered if the individual game of poker could be re-packaged with a more “team” oriented approach.
This new format is both interesting and exciting, and we can only hope that it will soon become a staple of the poker calendar. Dreyfus had this to say at the end of the press release on globalpokerindex.com:
“We hope this will become an annual ‘must-watch’ event in sports…The qualification format ensures that the best poker player on the live tournament circuit will participate in the event, those watching will be able to see the world’s best go head-to-head in hopes of winning it all for their country.”