On Friday morning, Alex Dreyfus revealed the list of players who have registered for the inaugural Global Poker League draft which will take place at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 25, as part of the American Poker Awards.
The Global Poker League Draft was open to any poker player in the top 1,000 of the Global Poker Index’s player rankings, but only 36 players will end up being drafted on February 25. Over the past several weeks poker pros had the option to register for the Global Poker League draft, and an impressive 203 did just that – the full list of players is available at PokerNews.com.
203 players is far beyond what anyone expected.
In its first year, the GPL essentially got 20% of the top poker players in the world to take a flyer on an altogether novel and unproven poker league. This is nothing short of amazing in my mind.
Furthermore, there are plenty of big names on the list. Alex Dreyfus noted that the 203 players have a collective $550 Million in live tournament winnings, over 60 WSOP Bracelets, and over 30 WPT titles.
Unfortunately, because of the strong registration numbers, this means 167 of the registered players won’t be drafted, although the overwhelming turnout may cause Dreyfus and the GPL to consider adding alternates to each of the 12 GPL franchises, if for no other reason than to keep the poker community engaged.
Among the players who registered you’ll find six of the top ten on the GPI standings (Byron Kaverman, Anthony Zinno, Kevin MacPhee, Jason Mercier, Fedor Holz, and David Kitai), and 25 of the top 50 players.
The bigger names on the list include 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel, Anotnio Esfandiari, Mike McDonald, Brian Rast, Dominick Nitsche, Justin Bonomo, Matt Glantz, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, David Baker, 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson, Noah Schwartz, Vanessa Selbst, Xuan Liu, reigning WSOP Player of the Year Mike Gorodinsky, Triple Crown winner Jake Cody, Anthony Gregg, Phil Galfond, Cate Hall, Chris Moorman, and William Reynolds.
However, the GPL isn’t simply about skill, it’s also about personality, as the GPL is being sold as a spectator sport. Team managers will have to balance a player’s skill with their outgoingness, regional appeal, team chemistry, and yes, things like pace of play and dress are also important.
The franchises and team managers
Players will be drafted by one of the following teams, and my assumption is the team managers will be the ones picking their teams – perhaps with some input from the Global Poker League itself.
- 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
While a lot of details about the GPL are coming to light, and the structure of the league is taking shape, the upcoming draft will likely give us our first look at the overall vision of the league.
For example, will the team managers go with the best available player, or will they draft based on intangibles. In order to make the GPL a true poker league, with fan bases centered around different franchises, the latter is the better strategy in my opinion. In lieu of picking Justin Bonomo and Mike McDonald, I’d much rather see Max Pescatori, the team manager for the Rome Emperors, draft an Italian-centric team, and Philipp Gruissem, whose managing the Berlin Bears has plenty of German players to choose from.
It will also be interesting to see if one of the three female team managers decides to draft an all-female team, as I suggested a while back.