By: Queen of Hearts Paris
After writing four blogs about the Global Poker League (GPL) (1.What is the Global Poker League (GPL) and… |2. Did You Watch The GPL Draft? | 3. We’ll Know More When They Want To Tell Us More, |4. What’s the Goal?) we planned to begin focusing in on each of the teams. But with play beginning in a week, I was also desperately searching for news of the “wildcard” selections. Two days ago, I decided to take a chance and send a tweet to Alex Dreyfus, GPL, who answered me immediately with the first two teams to announce. (Not bad for timing, by the way) Soon after that, wildcard announcements started breaking rapidly.
As a reminder, we’ve already reported that most team managers were expected to name themselves as one of their two wildcards. Also, the question about whether the wildcard had to be one of the draft-eligible players who hadn’t yet been selected has been answered; the fact is that anybody can be a wildcard! In other words, depending on their overall strategy, some team managers might choose a high-ranking player to make their team stronger, while others might choose to attract more buzz and increase marketability by choosing someone with known fan appeal.
Fabrice Soulier, Team Manager of the Paris Aviators, was the first to announce his GPL wildcards. Soulier named himself as expected, and then welcomed Alexandre “Alexonmoon” Luneau, to the Aviators. He chose Luneau despite the fact that there were many higher ranked French players. Luneau, however, is not only a seriously sexy gamer; he’s one of the most successful online poker players in the world. He is also known for his starring role in “Nosebleed,” an exclusive documentary about the world of online high stake players, directed and produced by Victor Saumont,. His goal now is to win a bracelet at the 2016 WSOP.
Next to announce his picks was Anatoly Filatov, manager of the Moscow Wolverines, who proudly made his announcement live from Moscow’s Red Square. He chose the #1 ranked poker player in the Ukraine, Igor Yaroshevsky, who he said was smart and tough. This was most definitely a team-strengthening choice; Yaroshevsky has nine Top 15 finishes on the live tournament circuit since last year’s WSOP. And for his second choice, Filatov charmingly named a young, smart and fearless player — himself.
Once the floodgates opened, the wildcard announcements kept coming. Manager of the Rome Emperors, Max Pescatori chose himself and high-stakes poker player Todd Brunson, whose resume includes taking billionaire Texas businessman Andy Beal at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $5 million last year. His total live tournament winnings exceed $4,000,000 and he’s won a gold bracelet at the WSOP. Oh, and his father is the legendary Doyle Brunson.
London Royals Team Manager, Liv Boeree, already managing one of the GPL’s early favorites, announced on Twitter that her wildcard picks are the top-ranked female poker player in the world (Boeree herself) and “the one and only” Sam Trickett.
Trickett has live tournament earnings exceeding $20m, and has competed against the world’s top poker players in both cash games and tournaments. He’s known for his quickness which should be an asset in the GPL format. He and his fellow teammates, Kurganov, Boeree, and Justin Bonomo have already shared a deep bonding experience at Burning Man. And of course, Boeree and Kurganov are a hot item. Lots of chemistry on this team!
Yesterday and today, three more teams made their wildcard announcements. First came Faraz Jaka, manager of the San Francisco Rush who chose himself and added young pro, Jonathan Jaffe. They were quickly followed by Philipp Gruissem, managing the Berlin Bears, the first team manager NOT to name himself as a wildcard player. He chose @junglemandan (aka Daniel Cates) and @bp22 (aka amateur poker player Bill Perkins) to play for his team. And today, we had Chris Moneymaker, team manager of the Las Vegas Moneymakers, welcome @RuMCaKeS (amateur Scott Ball) which made the eSports enthusiast extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity.
There will be much more to come, so stay tuned and we’ll keep you up to speed. We want our followers to be ahead of the curve. And, we hope to get a few of you excited, maybe even hooked on a particular team in the 12-team league before the action begins on April 5th, 2016. Make sure to check out all the action at the GPL poker tables starting next Tuesday.