On Tuesday the Global Poker League announced the first of its 12 franchises along with a few other tidbits of information on the fledgling poker league. The GPL has revealed that 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker will be the manager of the Las Vegas based franchise named in his honor: The Las Vegas Moneymakers.
The name is bit of a play on words, as making money is not only what people hope to do in Las Vegas, but Moneymaker is recognizable to serious poker players and casual fans of the game. Considering Moneymaker is credited with kicking off the poker boom, it’s only fitting that the Las Vegas Moneymakers was the first team the GPL announced, and may provide the GPL with the good juju needed to start a second poker boom.
But the Las Vegas Moneymakers are only one of 12 GPL franchises.
The lowdown on GPL cities
The GPL will be comprised of 12 teams during Season 1, each based in a major international city. GPL founder Alex Dreyfus envisions the league growing over time, with the potential for new cities to be added in the coming years.
According to Dreyfus, the cities were chosen, “based on the marketing opportunities and legitimacy to get some of the best/known players.” Dreyfus further explained the selection process, and his desire to separate GPL poker from gambling, saying, “We didn’t want to create a cliché with only casino cities, that’s why there is no New Jersey but a New York, and there is no Macau but Hong Kong. At the end, we are trying to build-up a sports franchise.”
In addition to Las Vegas, the other GPL cities include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Sao Paolo, London, Paris, Prague, Moscow, Hong Kong, and as I’ve just learned, Rome will replace the previously named Barcelona as a GPL city. The GPL expects to announce the franchise names, and team managers for the other 11 teams in the next week or so.
The 12 teams will be divided into two conferences, with New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Sao Paolo in the Americas Conference, and London, Paris, Prague, Moscow, Hong Kong, and Rome in the Eurasia Conference.
The GPL will officially launch on February 25, when the first GPL draft is held as part of the 2nd annual American Poker Awards conference. Each team will draft three opted-in players from the top 1,000 of the Global Poker Index, and will round out their roster with two wild-card selections, who are not required to be GPI ranked.
The role of the manager
The most intriguing aspect of Tuesday’s announcement was the naming of Chris Moneymaker as the manager of the Las Vegas team; the addition of managers in and of itself was a late twist added by the GPL. It’s unclear if the other team managers will also have some kind of connection to the home city or team name, or if Chris Moneymaker, and the Las Vegas franchise, is a special case.
According to Dreyfus, the team managers will most likely be players, and will most likely play as part of the team, although this is not required. Dreyfus called the managers, “the soul, the color, the spirit of each team.”
It’s also unclear if the manager will make decisions on who plays in what matches, or if they play more of a figurehead role. According to Dreyfus, matches will consist of two players per team per week (the finals will pit the full teams of five against one another), and with five players on each team, this decision will have to be made by somebody. My guess is this will likely be the manager.
You can follow the Las Vegas Moneymakers on Twitter @LASMoneymakers