Tournament poker is undoubtedly entering a new stage in it's development, and has been ever since the GPI was formed. Number of titles won or money earned are no longer seen as the most accurate way to tell who is good and who is great: GPI is the new reference. The next stage, according to GPI mastermind Alex Dreyfus, is the Global Poker League (GPL). Having bought the GPI, people initially wondered if it could become a success, but with the later acquisition of HendonMob – The GPL is on the path to marketing poker as a sport in the Mainstream medias.
8 teams of 7 players
The GPL is expected to get started around the end of this year or the start of next, and will involve 8 teams of 7 players, which will be a mixture of players chosen in a draft from the GPI top 1000 along with qualifiers and wild card entries. These teams will compete against each other in a league format which will play out over 3 or 4 months. The interesting thing is that the initial 8 teams will all have a team owner, who will invest finances into their project in the same way that football clubs have investors/owners. Players wil be paid a fixed salary plus bonuses depending of the results of team. These teams can grow into a recognisable brand as famous sporting teams do, and will help raise poker onto a more sporting platform in the way that competitions take place each season. Playoffs and a final can take place around WSOP time, adding to the excitement there too. Different formats of tournaments will be involved just as they were in the Global Poker Masters.
Alexandre Dreyfus is following one goal : "Sportify Poker"
" Sportify Poker"
The goal of this project is to give greater exposure to top players, and to bring a product into the mainstream that can be picked up by broadcasters and enjoyed by people who love to see great players play, rather than a collection of unknowns and one or two notable players. This is a situation we see often at major final tables. The GPL will be different. This in turn can attract better sponsorship opportunities, and as there is no money being gambled, a wider audience can be reached and sponsorship possibilities increase.
Alexandre Dreyfus has announced one month ago that he has secured $4.9 million in funding for the project. Investors are a China-based Private Equity fund, Donald Tang of Hong Kong and John Gleasure. Future could hold great opportunities for this project if Sport and gaming popularity continues to flourish in China. Accord to Alexandre "China will likely be the epicentre of the next poker boom and this time the boom looks to be powered by e-sports, the video game, media and sports industries"