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After much anticipation, the long wait to see the realization of Alex Dreyfus’ poker dream is finally over. Week #1 of the inaugural season of the Global Poker League has come and gone, as well as Week #2 of the GPL. There were some understandable hiccups with the first ever broadcast cycle of the GPL, but the concept of the League has been generally well received immediately following its inception.Now that the GPL has officially hit the Internet airways, is it time for Dreyfus and Team Members to consider utilizing Professional Wrestling Tactics (PWTs) to generate buzz around its events? Could this work? In this article, I will explore the basics of event promotion, and how the Global Poker League might benefit from the use of PWTs to increase mainstream interest.

Professional Wrestling Tactics For Promotional Purposes

To examine how PWTs can have a positive effect on an industry, we need to look no further than Mixed Martial Arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Yes, the actual fights are real, a lot of the beefs are real, but there is also quite a bit of choreography involved in building up marquee events and even in the matchmaking process. Figuring out precisely when a match is ripe for the general consuming public plays a vital role in everything from Live Gate proceeds to Apparel distribution now that the UFC has joined forces with Reebok.

So how do PWTs work in a promotional sense? Basically you pit competitors against one another as a culmination to a back story that has been fleshed out over a period of time. This typically results in polarizing the emotional temperature towards contestants on a “Face” vs. “Heel” level, which in turn creates must-see programming. For a more detailed explanation of this, check out professional wrestling legend Jim Cornette’s take on the epic “Montreal Screw Job” from the 1990s.

Global Poker League Team Members — Will They Play Ball?

Professional poker players obviously take their respective skill levels extremely seriously. The game may have provided an income source for up-and-coming talent a while back, but many of the pros who have survived have been forced to broaden their skill sets to include everything from spreadsheet generation to personnel management in recent years.

With this in mind, it has been undeniably difficult for players to establish a legitimate “Heel” perception among fans because of the stigma associated with most “bad boys of poker.” Becoming a bonafide Heel in poker generally means that you’re involved in a scandal that culminates in an overall shunning from the community on the scale of Candy Mountain Charlie‘s sidekicks.

If you don’t count charity-driven MMA matches between poker personalities (which are great, by the way) and the 2015 PokerStars VIP Club changes, there’s only one longtime emotionally-tinged dispute between high profile personalities in the poker world –PokerStars Headline Pro Daniel Negreanu vs. Mason Malmuth of

Ironically, that conflict is one that falls flat on some poker community activists — simply because an eventual showdown spells bad news for the industry unless the two are wiling to make peace with each other. The hierarchical reality of making that come to pass may require someone with a résumé dating back to the old RGP boards and 1990s drama to bring the two together.

So with that in mind, how many Global Poker League team members would be willing to add a bit of acting to their shtick to help the GPL “get over” with fans? We may have received some insight into this in a recent Poker Life Podcast interview between Joey Ingram and Montreal National first round pick Mike McDonald.

Just before the 42-minute mark of that show, McDonald (aka Timex) references scheduling then kowtows to GPL chief Alex Dreyfus a minute later. Say what you want about the French entrepreneurial “Face,” but apparently Dreyfus is no stranger to drafting GTO contracts. McDonald seemed ready to whip-out his patented Stare Down during GPL poker competitions, and later (48-minute mark) made an off-hand “Calendar Brag” relaying grassroots sentiment among fangirl League enthusiasts.

That’s as good of an innocent starting point for introducing PWTs into the Global Poker League as any, and we’ll see if more Team Members pick up McDonald’s cue in coming weeks.

For now, many of us in the poker industry will continue to follow the GPL as it works to maneuver its way into the hearts and minds of poker fans worldwide.

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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.