With 12 franchise teams being assembled for a season of competition, the Global Poker League is aiming to sportify poker and present it to a global audience, and the final piece of that puzzle has fallen into place now, with the wildcards picked and the games underway. Here is an overview of the round 1 action, and the wildcard picks.
Curtain raises on round 1
The first round brought us four online 6 max sit n gos, with two from the Eurasia conference, and two from the Americas. The action took place on an online platform which visually, looked like an online poker table set in a basketball court. The sportification suggestion was there, but it wouldn’t take long for some real sport to hit the screens. In the first match, with Davidi Kitai heads up against Igor Kurganov, Kitai made an outstanding fold with top pair on a harmless looking board. The commentators jokingly remarked that Kitai had “single handedly sportified poker in that hand.”
The commentary team didn’t seem to resonate brilliantly with the Twitch audience judging by the comments in chat, and there were a few awkward moments. It’s only day one however, and perhaps there were simply some opening day nerves going on. One or two reports of sound issues and buffering appeared in chat early on too, but most seem to have been fixed as the day went on.
Round 1 Results: Raiden Kan won the second match
With Kitai taking 7 points and Kurganov taking 5 in the first match, the Paris Aviators and London Royals were off to a fine start in the Eurasia conference. They would soon be joined by the Hong Kong Stars though, as Raiden Kan came storming through to win the second match, with Walter Treccarichi taking 2nd. In addition to Kan’s win, Weiyi Zhang took 4th in the first match, adding an extra 2 points to the Hong Kong Stars total.
They are off to a flying start, just 1 point off the top:
– Paris Aviators – 10 points
– Hong Kong Stars – 9 points
– Rome Emperors – 6 points
– London Royals
– Moscow Wolverines – 5 points
– Berlin Bears – 0 points
– New York Rounders – 10 points
– Las Vegas Moneymaker – 10 points
– Montreal Nationals – 9 points
– Sao Paulo Mets – 4 points
– LA Sunset – 3 points
– San Francisco Rush – 0 points
OK – The first day of @GPL is over. A lot of room for improvements. A lot of ideas that we have will be launched in the next few weeks.
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) April 5, 2016
Wildcards Picks: The Hong Kong Stars welcome Randy “Nanonoko” Lew
At this stage of the competition, all but one of the franchises have announced its wildcard selections.
During the main draft, the commentary team were quick to point out their surprise at some of the members of the Hong Kong Stars, as Celina Lin went with a bold selection of homegrown, yet lesser known talent. With her first wild card choice, she has perhaps stepped away from this ethos in a sense, but there is no doubting the ability of her choice – Randy “Nanonoko” Lew. As an exceptional cash game grinder with an estimated 4 million online hands under his belt, Lew clearly has talent, but it will be interesting to see if he can translate those talents to live non cash game events. For her second wild card pick, Celina Lin has chosen herself – meaning that she will be taking on much more than just a managerial role going forward.
Other Team Selections
The Montreal Nationals welcome team manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur into the team, along with Jason Lavallee. The New York Rounders have added two brothers into their team, with manager Brynn Kenney choosing himself, and brother Tyler Kenney. Andre Akkari has chosen Felipe Mojavi and Joao Bauer to join the Sao Paulo Mets team, while Chris Moneymaker has chosen Scott Ball, and himself for the Las Vegas Moneymakers. The Berlin Bears saw interesting choices, as Philipp Gruissem chose businessman Bill Perkins, and Daniel “jungleman” Cates. Meanwhile, Jonathan Jaffe and manager Faraz Jaka have been added to the lineup of San Francisco Rush, and Fabrice Soulier has selected himself, and Alexandre Luneau for the Paris Aviators. Max Pescatori has also picked himself for the Rome Emperors along with Todd Brunson, and the London Royals have added manager Liv Boeree, and also Sam Trickett to their squad.