Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

It’s hard for me to believe, but the Global Poker League has completed its seventh week of online action. After this week’s matches are completed, the second phase of the schedule — the GPL’s Summer Series — will begin in Las Vegas on June 6th, making life way more convenient for those players who will also be playing in the World Series of Poker events.

Global Poker LeagueFor those of us who hadn’t spent much time watching poker before, much less finding themselves addicted to the entertainment value of the game, the Summer Series should be an exciting change of pace from the online matches we’ve gotten used to enjoying. First of all, the action will be live on the felt in the GPL’s Las Vegas studio. Second, there will only be Heads-Up matches, but it will be cross-conference action (for the first time) until all the Americas Conference teams have played all the Eurasia Conference teams. As they’ve done in the HU matches online, winners will receive three points per game for their teams and losers receive no points, so a total of nine points per match will be at stake. It will be fascinating to see how the results of these cross-conference games scramble up the rankings.

Of course, the HU action will be live streamed on Twitch, GPL and other platforms globally so we can continue cheering for our favorite team. There are some cross-conference pairings I’d love to see, but for now we only know which teams are playing when (http://www.globalpokerleague.com/schedule/)

The GPL has made the games easy-to-watch as well as highly entertaining for newbies like me by providing Great Content: web cams to get to know what’s going on inside each player’s head (from strategy to analyzing their opponent to how much they love their dogs); excellent interviews (Laura Cornelius and Eric Danis in the Lounge) and two humorous and knowledgeable commentators (Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton during the matches). In other words, there’s enough pure entertainment value so that my lack of poker savvy didn’t preclude enjoying the competition. In the end, I never forgot that I was rooting for the NY Rounders and the LA Sunset, the two teams representing places I’ve spent most of my life.

Team Texas Poker tore's Night HawkOn the other hand, for experienced poker players, the level of chatter and commentary was never dumbed down; the participants all speak the language of poker and it’s been up to me to determine how much I’ve wanted to learn. Suffice it to say that I’ve learned more about poker in the last two months than I’d ever known (considering we’ve owned an online poker supply store for four years) and more importantly, I’ve become intrigued by it. I’ve researched a bunch of terms I didn’t understand, watched late night poker on TV with my husband so we could discuss everything from player position to ranges, bluffing and gut shots and I’m ready to take my place at one of our tables and play.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is all playing out for us, the audience, just as Alex Dreyfus envisioned several years ago. What fascinated me when I decided to make the GPL the focus of my blog was that it was something new in the world of poker: a fan experience with digital content and competition at its core. And its founder, Dreyfus wanted . . . needed ambassadors to help him make poker bigger and more mainstream. Dreyfus knew “this skill game, sport game, brain game, whatever you want to call it” was not just gambling. He also knew that without exploiting its entertainment value and getting the media to talk about it, it would slowly die.

Click here to add your comments!

Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts Paris

 

Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I’m feeling somewhat apologetic right now because it’s been more than a week since I posted my last Global Poker League blog, which is certainly unfair to my small but growing list of followers.  I was traveling/vacationing, which I mentioned last time, and my timing was way off, but I DID manage to write one blog from California, since you can take the GPL with you!

Sorel MizziFuBerlin Bearsnnily enough, last week Sorel Mizzi’s timing was way off too. Playing in his first match for the Berlin Bears, he got his start time completely wrong. Driving under pressure to get to a place where he could play, he discovered that he’d left his laptop back in the Motel 6. With no time to go back for it, he drove to the first Apple store he could find, bought a new laptop, pulled into a coffee shop and apologetically entered his first 6-max, because he didn’t want to let his team down. (He wound up scoring 13 crucial points for the Bears over two days, more than making up for his late arrival.)

My real excuse for not writing again was that I got sick as a dog two days before my vacation ended, which was compounded by winding up on an American Eagle flight from hell (upon which I tragically left my tablet with its awesome collection of ebooks). After that, I came as close to praying for my own demise as I can ever remember while suffering through three agonizingly difficult days.

Nevertheless, because I’m admittedly hooked on the GPL, I managed to follow a few of the matches on my cell and dragged my laptop to my bed on occasion to catch some of the replay action on globalpokerleague.com. Of course, you can watch GPL poker from any device, but on Thursday, with my health restored, I had my favorite GPL fan experience so far. My husband fixed it so we could stream the matches onto the big screen in the living room where we watched the Americas Conference Heads-Up matches together.

Olivier BusquetL.A. SunsetI was rewarded by a shirtless L.A. Sunset’s Olivier Busquet playing heads-up poker from a beach bar in Jamaica (why not; he’s not only been dominant in HU matches but he also looks damn good with his shirt off) against Felipe Mojave “Vamos” Ramos of the Metropolitans, who’s been a phenom in his matches but a decided underdog against Olivier.  Although Busquet was as charming and generous with his gems of poker strategy as always, often finding new and creative ways to outplay Felipe, he ultimately relinquished his unbeaten status to the lovable Brazilian, losing 2 out of their 3 matches. Later, the humble Felipe expressed his admiration and respect for Busquet, admitting to Laura Cornelius that he’d studied Busquet’s prior matches which might have been what gave him the edge.

The third match was important to me personally because I’d seen my N.Y. Rounders go from first place to third during this week so I wanted their competition, the Montreal Nationals, to lose. And, lose they did, eventually. Pascal Lefrancois played lights out for the Nats in the first game, but a stoic and determined Jonathan Jaffe, feeling the pressure to help his team, won the second and third games, earning six points for the last place San Francisco Rush.

What is quite clear after seven weeks of GPL matches is that the league has not only delivered on its promise to entertain its audience with exciting matches played by elite poker players (with tremendous pride and a wealth of poker knowledge) but that these players truly care about winning for their teams. And that’s how you begin to “sportify” poker.

Click here to add your comments!

Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

 

I’m traveling, I’m visiting my kids in Los Angeles, but somehow I remembered to check the GPL streaming schedule and managed to catch the heads-up match between Randy “Nananoko” Lew for the Hong Kong Stars and Justin Bonomo for Liv Boeree’s London Royals; Bonomo swept Nano for nine points which made me a little sad cause I’ve grown to like Nano.Global Poker League

Every once in awhile, I realize that although I’ve been living in a Global Poker League bubble for the past couple of months, the unfortunate fact is that it not only remains an unknown entity even to most poker fans, but no one I know has the slightest idea what it is. My friends and family don’t even get why I’m suddenly interested in poker. And I’m not sure how to change that. Our blog is not exactly Buzzfeed, nor can I force people to read my columns in order to catch my enthusiasm for the new League.

Alex DreyfusSo I’m trying to keep in mind what founder Alex Dreyfus has said about what he’s trying to accomplish with the GPL. It’s definitely NOT about becoming an overnight success or converting the world of elite poker players into the NFL in one season.  It will take two, three or more years, and it will be a slow process.

In fact, says Dreyfus “Our intent is not to create an event for players, like the World Series of Poker, but an event for fans and spectators. Our goal is to shift from a player and customer experience to a fan experience.” In other words, the GPL has no desire to compete with the WSOP. Its goal is to create a framework and platform where the best poker players regularly play for their team, as you can see on Twitch-TV right now, while we fans get into their heads and discover their stories.

What Dreyfus is doing is setting the stage for a continuing and engrossing poker storyline. In my case, for example, last week I got wrapped up in the heads-up matches between the Sao Paulo Mets’ Olivier Busquet and the NY Rounders’ Thomas Marchese, not because of my love of poker, but because, through the webcams, I had access to both of their New York Rounderscommentaries, both of their strategies, their very different personalities, and both their hole cards at the same time! This has never been done before, Dreyfus assures us. Not only that, but I was pulling for the team from New York, the Rounders, because that’s what I do . . . I root for New York teams.

Eventually, you and your friends and poker buddies will be talking about the amazing heads-up match you saw on Tuesday. One might say, ‘ Olivier got awfully lucky on the river with that final King.” You might answer, “I like Ladouceur’s style; he’s a very thoughtful poker player, but OB had an awfully good run. When it came down to the all-ins, Busquet always seems to win.”

It’s that “Hey, did you see what happened yesterday” mentality that the GPL wants to cultivate. The marketing goal for Alex Dreyfus is to provide enough sports or entertainment content to create a habit. And a habit is something you do every day or every week.

“What we aim to do with the GPL is for you to be hooked to watch GPL whether it’s one, two, or five matches per week, every week,” Dreyfus explains.

Which is why I’m with my daughter in L.A, and have a million things to do, but still took the time to watch a GPL match today.

Click here to add your comments!

Texas Poker StoreBy: Pocket Bullets Paris

While my partner in crime, and all else, Queen of Hearts Paris takes a small break from blogging about all the excitement going on right now with the GPL (Global Poker League), I thought I would jump in here and give you an update on the 2016 WSOP (World Series of Poker) which is due to start in just over two weeks from now, on May 31 and will run (as usual) to July 18, 2016 and then back  in November for the  battle of the year; the November Nine Final Table. I know that we’re ready, are you?Jim "Pocket Bullets" Paris

Many of you know that I journey to Las Vegas every year to check out all the action that will eventually lead to the Main Event’s final nine players by the middle of July. I’m sure some of you might see me this year at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Every year’s WSOP has never been short on excitement, battles have been fought at every event, each and every player hoping to grab the gold ring, in their case the coveted WSOP Gold Bracelet.

Daniel Negreanu with Jim ParisDuring my annual journey to the WSOP I have met a lot of the professional players while enjoying their game, and even tried reading their tells (if any) at the poker tables. Last year’s road to the final table of the Main Event featured some familiar faces, some of which I was able to meet and even had time to hang with for a brief time.

During a very short break I met Daniel Negreanu and had just enough time to compliment him and unashamedly confess that he was our favorite player. I told him that I had just written and published my memoirs as a Rock and Roll producer in a past lifetime and asked if he would mind snapping a quick photo of us together with him holding my book  “Them Changes.”

Max Steinberg with Jim ParisI also had the privilege of briefly meeting Max Steinberg,  who was and is not only a great player but a total gentleman. He not only made it to the Final Nine but actually took 4th place at the November Nine Final Table and walked away with a fat check in the amount of $2,615,361.

Phil Hellmuth with Jim ParisThere have been a lot of players whom I have studied all through the years, read their books, watched their instructional videos, but few are as intense as Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth. And, indeed, he may be “The Poker Brat” for his temperamental personality. But after winning 14 WSOP gold bracelets I think anyone could easily turn into some form of spoiled brat.

And now it’s that time of the year again, when amateur and professional players prepare for the ultimate poker battle, the 2016 World Series of Poker. Good luck y’all, hope to see you there.

Click here to leave us your comments!