Archive for the ‘Global Poker League’ Category

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

On March 3rd I wrote a blog titled, “Isn’t PokerStars’ POWER UP Really Alex Dreyfus’ HOLDEMX?” In it, I went over all that I had enjoyed about the inaugural Global Poker League, primarily to get some answers concerning whether or not there would be a second GPL season!

And, as the title suggests, I was also pointing out what seemed like a tremendous similarity between the GPL’s HoldemX and PokerStars’  new game called Power Up. (Not out of the question, since PS is the exclusive online poker sponsor of the GPL) So I posed the question: Had PokerStars simply taken over the product?

After I posted my blog, I tweeted it out, hoping to attract the attention of Dreyfus. I wanted his response concerning the two similar games, but what I really wanted to know was if he was abandoning the U.S. for China, where all the attention seemed to be focused.

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" Paris

I made the tweet intentionally provocative, and was quite pleased when Dreyfus responded with the following tweets:

Alex Dreyfus and Queen of Hearts Paris

Hmmmm.  I guess I have to take his word for that one! After all, he’s never lied to me before!!

Dreyfus then continued to tweet, with me responding in order to get my two cents in regarding much-needed GPL improvements:

Alex Dreyfus and Queen of Hearts Paris

So I had my answers, in 140 characters or less! But I really missed the boat by not publishing those responses then.

Instead, on March 16th I posted a blog titled, “GPL Making Great Use of its Down Time” in which I praised the strategies, especially their dynamic, high-quality videos,being implemented by Dreyfus and the league during the long lull in GPL action as Alex Dreyfus’s team (and their PokerStars sponsors?) take their time to make some much-needed improvements to all things GPL (website, merchandising, marketing and the Cube to name a few).

In other words, I buried my own story, which was later covered by Earl Burton in pokernewsdaily.com on March 19th and on cardschat.com on March 20th. As John Reger wrote: Just because the second season has been delayed, Dreyfus said not to mistake that for quitting on his brainchild. He did, however admit there were some problems with the inaugural run of the league and said those need to be corrected before another year of competition can get underway.”

In fairness, I should note that the majority of the aforementioned articles dealt with Dreyfus and the GPL’s expansion into the gigantic poker market in China and other countries, a topic I will cover in a future blog. But one thing is clear; I should have posted THIS blog on the 5th of March!

Guess I was way too distracted with all the action at our own local poker tournament.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I absolutely LOVE what the Global Poker League (GPL) has been posting on Facebook recently. It’s a smart marketing strategy, calling attention to the players in various tournaments who just happen to be members of the GPL. It not only promotes different tournaments like the WSOPC, PSC Panama and the WPT, but also gets the GPL brand out there. Important, especially when there’s a long lull in GPL action as Alex Dreyfus’s team (and their PokerStars sponsors?) take their time to make some much-needed improvements to all things GPL (website, merchandising, marketing and the Cube to name a few).

As a diehard GPL fan, the posts on my news feed catch my eye immediately. On this particular one, there were pics of  two of my favorite players, Sorel Mizzi (from the Berlin Bears) and Olivier Busquet (from my favorite team, the LA Sunset) and a video.The post said:

“A Heads-Up between you legends would be awesome! Good luck Sorel Mizzi & Olivier Busquet at the WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table.” I clicked on the video and I was hooked . . . it’s short, dynamic, engaging and features “GPL” twice in 30 seconds, once by coining the phrase “GPL-Certified” – very clever! Check it out!

Then I Googled the WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table as any curious writer/researcher would do, and discovered that this was the second-to-last major event of the Season 15 World Poker Tour. I also discovered that the WPT was live streaming the Final Table which was extremely unfortunate, in that I couldn’t resist clicking on it. I succumbed to the fun of watching live poker and watched for four hours until Busquet (in 5th place) was knocked out. The fact is, not only did we have dinner plans that I had to rush to get to on time, but clearly there would be no Heads-Up between the two GPL representatives.

By the way, for those of you who want to know the outcome, the final heads up took place between Mike DelVecchio and Sorel Mizzi with DelVecchio taking it down. On the final hand, the last two standing went all in when the dealer ran a 4s on the turn of a 7s4c2h flop. Mizzi had the 6s5s, and Del Vecchio had the 5d4h. The Jh on the river gave the victory to DelVecchio.

Keep up the good work, GPL!

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Last year, when I was covering The Global Poker League’s inaugural season very closely, there were so many exciting announcements, advancements and “innovations” to report about. Some of them happened just the way they were described, like the choosing of 12 team managers and the highly professional inaugural Draft. Some happened not quite the way they were originally hyped, but still– at least in a scaled-down version they were pulled off successfully, like the heads up competition in The Cube®, the playoffs, finals and the Championship, won by the Montreal Nationals. Players were extremely loyal to their teams and the business of “sportifying” poker proved it had legs.

Not only that, but the software developed for the GPL’s online competition platform – the online arena optimizing the fan experience – was met with almost universal approbation. Of course, a few advancements were talked about a lot by GPL creator and founder, Alexandre Dreyfus, but didn’t quite take off.

One supposed big deal in their arsenal was HoldemX, a pumped up version of digital Texas Hold’em designed to appeal to the burgeoning gamer set, the millennials, and the non-poker crowd who just might be drawn to poker if it had all the bells & whistles of a video game. After all, the GPL matches were competing with millions of established and new video games on the Twitch network.
Holdem X

The alpha version was launched in 2015. It appeared on the GPL website all year. Many top poker players tested it and loved it, but between planning GPI Award shows, launching the GPL, traveling to Tibet and China (and becoming immersed in the culture and the booming sports economy), helping set up the China Poker League etc., Dreyfus/Mediarex didn’t have the time or money to give the development of HoldemX the attention it needed.

Fast forward to Oct. 2016, when PokerStars became the exclusive online poker sponsor of the GPL. Suddenly, there was money for desperately needed advertising and marketing, and lots of money for product innovation.

So, I found it fascinating that PokerStars is in alpha testing of their new innovative product, Power Up, announced as a big push to bridge the worlds of poker and eSports.  According to their spokespeople; “It’s a combination of traditional enjoyable No Limit Hold’em injected with powers that give players the ability to influence how hands play out and change up game play in a variety of ways with boards, cards and chips. This project introduces a lot of new features to poker that we have built from scratch and it’s taken a lot of time and effort to get to this stage in the game’s life.  . . We integrated a new engine within our software, created animations and powers, and put a lot of time and thought into how poker players will have fun with the game.”

So, I have some burning questions for Alex Dreyfus.  Why no mention of the GPL or you? Did PokerStars simply take over the GPL (and HoldemX) lock, stock and barrel, or are you still involved, at least emotionally.

Is there going to be a GPL in 2017 – NOT the one in China? Because its March and I haven’t heard a word about it.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

When I began writing a regular poker blog I got very lucky. I didn’t know much about poker, but I really wanted to make a contribution to the Texas Poker Store — the online poker supply store my husband and I own. Of course, he has run it pretty much on his own for the past five years, but when I retired from working full-time at Texas A&M, I had a lot more free time to help with the “family business.” And that’s when I stumbled upon the Global Poker League.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and EntertainmentMy first blog was written on February 21. It was titled “What is the Global Poker League (GPL) and Why Haven’t You Heard Of it?” The brainchild of Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and Entertainment, the GPL was the perfect story for me. It was bold and innovative, it had teams to get passionate about just like other sports and since it was brand new, it could be my special beat; I could introduce it to our followers.

And I followed the hell out of the GPL. I watched it online religiously and pitched it like an evangelist. I probably wrote more than 30 blogs about it, and I tweeted and posted to try to get people as excited as I was about “sportifying” poker. I described everything I loved in my columns: learning how to play poker from some of the world’s best players, getting to know and care about them, getting inside their heads, the webcams and the software and the Cube, along with the poker knowledge and witty repartee of the commentators. I loved having a poker team to root for (in my case the LA Sunset).

But mostly I was incredibly impressed with how dedicated the professional poker players were to the League, to their respective teams and to their team managers, all of whom were terrific spokespeople for the GPL and for poker in general. They were also respectful of their fans, including newbies like me, who might never have seen players like Mercier, Busquet, Kenney, Boeree, Jaffe, Filatov, Bonomo, McDonald, Elky, Duhamel and dozens more were it not for their wholehearted commitment to, and enthusiastic participation in, the GPL.

In the end, after some glitches and delays along the way, the GPL pulled off their season-ending Playoffs and first-ever Championship (won by the Montreal Nationals) in a series of strategic, hard-fought, engrossing and sometimes thrilling matches held from November 29th – December 1st in the Cube in Vegas. The dedication demonstrated by the players was extraordinary considering that they weren’t playing for the money ($100,000 split six ways). They all seemed to realize that something much greater was at stake; this was a way to showcase the game they love and to recapture the spirit of competition. In that way it transcended other poker tournaments played for huge stakes all over the world.

It saddens me to know that I could probably write a blog tomorrow and title it, “What is the Global Poker League (GPL) and Why Haven’t You Heard Of it?”– it certainly hasn’t had the impact I imagined it would have. But Alex Dreyfus is still a hero in my book. He accomplished what he set out to do; he made his vision a reality. He got poker superstars to play for team loyalty and the love of poker, and he greatly expanded the potential audience for poker. Next year, with the sponsorship of PokerStars and the countless lessons learned this season, I’m betting on the Global Poker League to hit its stride and never look back. In the mean time there are a lot of poker games to play in, we hope you get the best cards and wish you luck.

Global Poker League Finals

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