The Global Poker League was something unique to the poker world, full of team competition, online and live matches, and a mix of players that had never been attempted. It was prepared to be the first of its kind. And Alex Dreyfus, the man behind the concept and implementation of it all, knew there would be adjustments as it all finally launched.
Last week, the GPL did launch. The reviews were mixed. There was a lot of excitement from some poker fans, as well as quite a few requests for improvements.
Dreyfus and everyone at the GPL not only listened but expeditiously made improvements. Of course, every request cannot be fulfilled, and some in the poker world will never be happy. But the changes made in the first week alone are indicative of an endeavor that is open to feedback and ready to improve.
Clarifying Scoring and Details
Before the first week of the GPL got underway, the format of the games and the scoring breakdown was introduced. Structures of the 6-max (eight-minute levels) and heads-up events (four-minute levels) were revealed, as well as details for the summer games and the delineation between home and away teams.
Throughout the first week, there were mistakes in the scoring, but it was cleared up by the end of the week, and the correct standings were revealed as:
New York Rounders: 16 points (2 wins)
Las Vegas Moneymakers: 13 points (0 wins)
Montreal Nationals: 12 points (1 win)
LA Sunset: 9 points (1 win)
Sao Paulo Mets: 7 points (0 wins)
San Francisco Rush: 6 points (1 win)
Hong Kong Stars: 18 points (2 wins)
Paris Aviators: 16 points (2 wins)
London Royals: 12 points (1 win)
Rome Emperors: 9 points (0 wins)
Moscow Wolverines: 5 points (0 wins)
Berlin Bears: 3 points (0 wins)
Commentators and Players
Hosts Eric Danis and Laura Cornelius found their way pretty easily with their discussion of the games before and after they happened. They began incorporating social media comments into their live chats, and they even took silly comments – mostly about Cornelius’ outfits and appearance – with humor.
Commentators Sam Grafton and Griffin Benger worked through the initial awkwardness of learning to work together and developed a solid flow in the first three days of coverage. They also rolled with the changes as players turned on the webcams and eventually talked to each other. At those times, Grafton and Benger learned to let the audience hear the players as much as possible and try to jump in only during silences. They found their way like professionals and won over many initial skeptics by the end of the first week.
Players also rolled with the changes. The 6-max matches on Day 1 involved commentary only, with no webcams or audio from the players themselves. By Day 2, webcams were introduced so players could vocalize their thoughts as they played heads-up games. By the end of the third day, heads-up players had connected audio so they could talk to each other instead of just to the audience.
Replays and Highlights
When the first week was complete, the GPL realized that replays were going to be integral in spreading the information about the matches. Everyone was not able to tune in to watch the action live, so getting the replays of the entire games on the website was important to include more fans.
In addition, many fans didn’t want to watch entire games in order to find bustout hands or plays that were being discussed on social media. The GPL then added highlight videos, linked to important moments, and provided links to each bustout hand in the 6-max tournaments.
All of this information is now on the Global Poker League website and easy to find on several pages. The layout of the website is clear and links to everything, even the changes that were implemented. And through that page, fans are encouraged to weigh in with further feedback via the comments section, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.
No one can ask more of a company than to be open to change and listen to the fans. And the GPL is doing just that.