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Global Poker League to Become Poker's Professional League

The Global Poker Index is going to attempt something that their original founders and others could never successfully accomplish, the creation of a new poker league. On Thursday, the GPI announced the creation of the Global Poker League, a move that they call the last piece of the GPI puzzle.

The latest announcement comes just weeks after the GPI announced their intentions to “sportify poker,” meaning they wished to capitalize on a steadily growing marketplace by attempting to make it more mainstream.

Here’s What to Look For

Alex Dreyfus shared his vision for the project on GPI’s blog, calling the GPL “Poker’s professional league.” GPL events would be part of various international events with poker franchises competing against each other in season play lasting from three to four months.

Franchises will form in the way you see in the NFL, MLB and NBA via the use of a draft. Teams would consist of drafted players and wildcard entries, likely GPL’s equivalent of a free agent.

From the blog, it appears that the GPL is intending on creating poker content that would appeal to the mainstream sports and news media. Their intention would be to raise poker to the level of other major sports with regular mentions on ESPN, CNN and other news outlets.

What Makes This Different From the Epic Poker League?

Most of you remember that the Global Poker Index was originally a part of the Epic Poker League and was used to help determine which players would participate in the now defunct league. Following Federated Sports & Gaming’s bankruptcy, the GPI was acquired by Zokay Entertainment and changed to the game’s definitive ranking system.

Unlike the EPL, the GPI is not putting all of their eggs into one basket with the Global Poker League. The GPL is just one of several arms of the company. Also, the EPL made the mistake of trying to do everything on their own and this affected their marketability. The GPL will partner with several international events, ensuring that the league will receive needed exposure in its infancy as well as needed railbirds for televised events. The legal landscape for online poker will be a bit more favorable for the Global Poker League. Online poker is legal in New Jersey and Nevada, both likely stops for GPL events. California will likely legalize the game in 2015, another state the league will probably host at least one event per season. This will open the door for poker sponsorships, a door slammed shut on the Epic Poker League thanks to Black Friday.

Lastly, the GPL is improving on a concept that Epic Poker attempted but fell short on. The EPL tried to ensure the best players were in the league via a rankings system. While that was a novel concept, some players fell short because of various factors. The GPL draft and wildcard system will ensure that the best players are in the events, creating a better game on the felt and an event that fans will want to tune in to watch.



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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.