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The Global Poker League held their inaugural draft on February 25th and franchise rosters were mainly filled with the 203 players that made themselves draft eligible. However, there are two spots remaining on each squad and those wild card selections will be announced by Team Managers in the upcoming month.

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 7 Wild Picks for GPL Wild Cards

 Potential Wild Card Picks for Each GPL Team

For those that weren’t paying attention, anyone in the GPI 1,000 who didn’t sign up for the draft are now ineligible to be selected as a wild card. That means that many big names such as Erik Seidel, Michael Mizrachi and even Daniel Negreanu will not be popping up as wild card choices.

Today we give our opinions on which the managers should pick as a wild card selection, including one megastar that is a perfect fit if he chooses to participate.

Countdown to the Apocalypse with Allen Kessler

One of the running gags in poker is that the world will end should Allen Kessler win a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title. This is the perfect type of gimmick that the GPL could promote should someone take a shot with Allen and pick him as a wild card.

The GPL could hold their own “Countdown to the Apocalypse,” especially when Kessler is deep in an event. Maybe have a different apocalypse theme every time Kessler is in an event. If the GPL could cut a deal with AMC, Kessler’s matches could be sponsored by The Walking Dead.

Also, let’s not forget that Allen is “The Chainsaw,” another gimmick that the GPL could use to promote Kessler’s brand and even the league. Can you imagine if Dreyfus could get the right strings pulled and get Kessler on an episode of Ash vs. The Evil Dead? Imagine Ash and Kessler versus the forces of darkness, both with chainsaws blazing – a match made in poker crossover heaven.

And the sponsorship deals should be obvious by now. Allen Kessler’s team is sponsored by Husqvarna, Poulan, Craftsman or even Echo. “Our chainsaws cut through logs like The Chainsaw slices up the GPL.”

Forget Shimi the Fish and Robbie the Brownnoser – Pick Kevmath!

A couple of weeks ago, our own Shimi the Fish and Robbie the Brownnoser, I mean Strazynski, tried to tell you why they should be picked as a wild card to the GPL. What they didn’t tell you is that they don’t do weekends.

Both are Orthodox Jews and practice Shabbos, meaning they can’t play poker from dusk on Friday until sunset on Saturday. Assuming that many of these events will be on the weekend, these guys wouldn’t be able to play.

Yes, it is really that big a deal. Ever see The Big Lebowski? Well, Shimi and Robbie don’t roll on Shabbos.


Besides, there is a media member much more appropriate to serve as a wild card on a GPL team – Kevmath! Besides being a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about poker, Kevmath has actually played on some of the biggest poker stages in the world.

And he wouldn’t have missed three Name That Pros in a row unlike some people who we won’t name but initials are Robbie Strazynski.

Currently Ranked 1,370th and Wild Card Eligible – Phil Ivey

There no bigger name eligible to be selected as a wild card than Phil Ivey. He presently is ranked 1,370th on the GPI and therefore can be selected by a team. Fourth on Poker’s All-Time Money List and third all-time among high stake cash game players, the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner easily has the pedigree to play in the GPL.

Some have argued that many of the picks during the GPL Draft weren’t all that “marketable.” While Ivey may not be particularly “outgoing” compared to many other pros, it shouldn’t be too hard to market arguably the greatest player in the history of the game.

Also, how many guaranteed Poker Hall of Famers will there be in the GPL this year. Bring Ivey on board this year and they can celebrate his march to the Poker Hall of Fame and give it some extra publicity.

Mike Matusow and Gavin Smith Would Liven Up the Game

Two players that are wild card eligible and would be great for the GPL are Mike Matusow and Gavin Smith. Both have solid poker resumes but their value to the league would be for marketability and livening up the broadcasts.

While there are some really solid players on the various GPL franchises, one has to wonder just how entertaining that some of the matches will be. While some people will appreciate the game for the sake of the game, there are others that are going to get bored quickly if you have two players sitting there quietly betting and raising.


Matusow and Smith won’t let that happen. Hell, Matusow can do enough talking for his entire team while they play. His randomness is both entertaining and has the ability to drive his opponents batty.

Gavin Smith is the quintessential needler, and get a few drinks in him and things could really take off. Smith also has a tendency to bring his opponents out of their shell, which can make for great television.

If you want to “Sportify” poker, then you need some characters like Matusow and Smith. Otherwise, you risk “Snoozifying” the game. Just look at other sports leagues. The characters are great for ratings and getting fans talking. The GPL needs some of that to build a buzz.

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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.