Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris
I had no idea how much of an impact blogging about the Global Poker League would have on me, beyond simply enjoying watching the GPL matches. I quickly bought into the new league created by GPL founder, Alexander Dreyfus, including the competitive “team” play, or “sportifying” poker concept (starting with the Inaugural Draft) the use of web cams, getting to know the personalities and strategies of world-class poker players, the informative but also highly engaging commentators and hosts.
I knew right away which teams I’d root for; the two teams representing the cities where I’d spent most of my life – The New York Rounders and the L.A. Sunset. And I got excited as my two teams continued moving up in the standings of the Americas Conference through the first online phase of the GPL. I’m ready, and more than a little excited, to watch the first of the 48 Heads-Up Cross-Conference Live Summer Season matches tonight, June 6, as the GPL begins Heat I, Match 81 in the studio in Las Vegas.
And of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m especially eager to see the debut of talented actor and team wildcard, Aaron Paul, who will be playing for the L.A. Sunset. He is scheduled to go heads-up against the team manager of the Paris Aviators, Fabrice Soulier, at 8 P.M. Eastern time. Most poker fans and players would undoubtedly say that Paul was over-matched, but we all know anything can happen in poker.
I’ve mentioned in prior blogs my concerns about the production values of this live, in-studio phase after the GPL got off to such a high-quality, professional start. I’ve also talked about my biggest concern, which comes later when the GPL takes its Playoffs (the top four teams from each conference) to TwitchCon San Diego, where it will compete for the attention of video gamers, a brand new demographic with millions of worldwide fans. There is plenty of time to delve into those concerns later.
For now, I want to get back to the amazing impact the GPL has had on me. Not only has it expanded my general knowledge about poker, but it has also brought me a whole new group of followers and fans; “poker people” have begun to follow me on Twitter. On a more personal note, a few people mentioned to my husband how much they were enjoying my blog about the GPL, which they were learning about through me. Some even thanked him for the great content. A few referenced seeing “member of the GPL” next to a particular player’s name at the SHR Bowl and/or the WSOP and now knowing what that meant!
On an even more personal note, I can’t believe the difference between me this year and me at the same time a year ago. My husband has always watched WPT action and tournaments like the SHR and World Series of Poker on TV, usually after I fell asleep. (In addition to his attending the WSOP every year as they draw close to the Final Nine) Now, I stay up with him. Not only do I recognize many of the players, but I actually feel like I know many of them personally. When I saw that the Super High Roller Bowl included Fedor Holz, Brynn Kenney, Jason Mercier and three other GPL team members, I was immediately drawn in: I KNOW these guys! I watched all the coverage of the Final Table, and was happy that Fedor finished second.
It’s not just that I’ve come to recognize so many live and online, national and international poker players (besides the always recognizable Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth) but I can actually follow the action. I understand what each player is doing based on his or her hole cards; I know if they’re bluffing or limping or value betting and it suddenly makes poker exciting to watch.
Even within the context of a movie or TV show, if the characters are playing poker, I “get it” on a whole different level now. We watched “Kid Poker” the other night on Netflix and found it extremely entertaining. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it last year simply because Negreanu has a great rags-to-riches story and he’s so cute and charismatic, but this year I was mesmerized because I “got it.” After eight weeks of watching GPL matches and hearing them analyzed, I could fully appreciate the Kid’s ability to read players, figure out what was in another player’s hand and bet accordingly . . . and it was truly mind-blowing.
The GPL has already had a major impact on me; now I’m anxious to see if it can catch on big within the next few years.