The Global Poker League, a bold initiative that is the brainchild of poker entrepreneur Alex Dreyfus, is really starting to take shape, going from the conceptual stage to reality, with the announcement of the team franchises and the poker players who will act as the team managers.
Just a week ago, we learned the name of the first of 12 franchises that will be competing in the inaugural season of the Global Poker League, the Las Vegas Moneymakers, named in honor of team manager Chris Moneymaker. On Wednesday the GPL revealed the other 11 franchise names and locations, along with the identity of each franchises team manager.
- BERLIN BEARS (Twitter: @BLNBears) – Philipp Gruissem, Team Manager
- HONG KONG DRAGONS (Twitter: @HKGStars) – Celina Lin, Team Manager
- LOS ANGELES SUNSET (Twitter: @GPLSunset) – Maria Ho, Team Manager
- LAS VEGAS MONEYMAKERS (Twitter: @LASMoneymakers) – Chris Moneymaker, Team Manager
- LONDON ROYALS (Twitter: @LDNRoyals) – Liv Boeree, Team Manager
- MONTREAL NATIONALS (Twitter: @MTLNationals) – Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Team Manager
- MOSCOW WOLVERINES (Twitter: @MSKWolverines) – Anatoly Filatov, Team Manager
- NEW YORK ROUNDERS (Twitter: @NewYorkRounders) – Bryn Kenney, Team Manager
- PARIS AVIATORS (Twitter: @ParisAviators) – Fabrice Soulier, Team Manager
- ROME EMPERORS (Twitter: @RomeEmperors) – Max Pescatori, Team Manager
- SAN FRANCISCO RUSH (Twitter: @SanFranRush) – Faraz Jaka, Team Manager
- SAO PAULO METROPOLITANS (Twitter: @saopaulomets) – Andre Akkari, Team Manager
Much like a professional sports league, each franchise has their own logo:
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) January 13, 2016
Next step: The GPL draft
Each franchise will also participate in the inaugural Global Poker League draft, which will be held on February 25, 2016, at 2 p.m. PST. The GPL draft will be co-hosted by Kara Scott and Phil Hellmuth.
The GPL draft will be part of the 2nd annual American Poker Awards and Conference, and will see each team select three eligible players during the drafting process, which will likely fall on the individual team managers, although this could also be done by proxy. (Players must be in the top 1,000 on the Global Poker Index’s rankings and must opt in to compete in the GPL.)
According to a press release by the GPL, several well-known players (in addition to all of the team managers) have opted-in to play in the GPL, and considering their resumes, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume they’ll likely be part of the inaugural season of the GPL. Those players are, Darren Elias, Chris Moorman, Anthony Zinno and Fedor Holz.
At some point after the draft, GPL teams will be rounded out with two wild-card selections (wild cards can be any player willing to participate, regardless of the GPI ranking). According to Dreyfus, the team managers are also eligible to play. Based on the names and skill level of the managers this is highly likely, although it’s unclear if they will count as one of the five players, or if a player/manager expands the team roster to six players.
The evolution of the GPL franchises
The GPL was originally going to be composed of 12 individual, distinctly owned franchises. However, at some point, the GPL and Alex Dreyfus were convinced that individual owners could complicate things for the fledgling league, and that a better option would be to bring on individual investors, with the GPL owning all 12 franchises.
According to Dreyfus, this simplified the process and solved a number of issues that had arisen, from marketing to advertising. The decision to consolidate the 12 franchises under the league umbrella makes a lot of sense for several reasons.
- First, by aggregating everything, the GPL becomes far more appealing to potential sponsors and investors, as deals and sponsorships can now be league-wide instead of on a team-by-team basis.
- Second, the decision eliminates a number of potential duplicate costs to individual teams — such as each franchise needing its own marketing department.
- Third, this decision also eliminates team owners competing against one another within the league. By consolidating, all 12 GPL franchises are working towards the same goal, and when one succeeds, they all succeed.
- Finally, the GPL will avoid income inequality, and each GPL franchise will have the same chance to succeed. Larger cities, or teams with more marketable players, won’t lead to the GPL looking more like Major League Baseball (with clear have’s and have not’s), but more like the parity we see in the National Football League.