Posts Tagged ‘Alexandre Dreyfus’

Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

The Global Poker Index, which honors the best and brightest in the poker world, will once again be handing out the coveted hardware for the fourth straight year. As American Poker Awards President, Alexandre Dreyfus, said, “We are very excited to return to the Los Angeles area for a fourth year to reward the most deserving poker players, industry leaders and media members in the business”.

“As always, Dreyus continued, there will be several already-confirmed winners: the top male and top female player on the GPI’s points ranking system, along with the American Player of the Year. This year, Adrian Mateos and Kristen Bicknell will take home the male and female honors, respectfully, although the Spaniard Mateos will collect his award at the European Poker Awards if he isn’t in California for the American version.”

The ceremony, to be held at Andaz West Hollywood rather than at SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills as before, has been scheduled for Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. If you feel motivated to attend the event, please follow this link. More details will certainly follow and we’ll keep you posted.

Send me your thoughts, comments or questions!

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

I am a very loyal fan. I still root for the New York Yankees and Giants, despite not living in NY since 1988. Which is why I am so disappointed, Alexandre Dreyfus, about the absence of a Season Two for the Global Poker League.  The GPL is what turned me into a poker fan. I wrote more than 30 blogs extolling its virtues during its inaugural season; there were times I felt like an (unpaid) marketing director!

Chengdu Pandas GPLI understand that you and Mediarex Enterprises have been incredibly busy, coming up with your new tagline: Compete Globally, Play Locally, while forging strategic relationships in China and India. What’s more, GPL China had an extremely successful six-month season, as teams from 12 cities competed in regional leagues. The winning teams from each city became the championship franchise, and ultimately, the Chengdu Pandas defeated the Hong Kong Treasure Ships to win the first season of GPL China.

Meanwhile, there are six teams that now constitute GPL India, including the Chennai Sharks, Kolkata Creators and Nipun Java, with each team manager already named and Season I poised to launch.  And, based on the tremendous success of the GPL’s first season in Brazil, which fielded its own team, the Sao Paulo Mets, GPL Brazil is already becoming a “thing.”

All very well and good, but still no GPL Season Two (as promised) in the U.S. What happened to my favorite team, the LA Sunset, with poker superstars Fedor Holz, Olivier Busquet and manager, Maria Ho? What happened to the two-year contracts all the brave pioneers of the original GPL signed?

Custom Rockwell Poker TableIf you go to the GPL website like I did, you get a hint of something along the lines of a World Championship coming, with winners of each regional league competing against powerhouse teams from around the world. But there was a link on one page that said Season I has ended. Go on to Season II. I tried, but the link didn’t go anywhere. I hope that isn’t the fate of the original GPL that got me hooked on poker and even get my own poker table!

Send me your thoughts or comments!

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

The story: One of my favorite poker players is 23-year-old multimillionaire, Fedor Holz. His winnings, in 2016 alone, are more than $16 million! In other words, he’s been on a blazingly hot winning streak, both live and online, including his huge SHR WSOP win of $4.9m. Whether sitting serenely at a poker table at EPT Barcelona, staring down the likes of Phil Hellmuth at the WSOP, or standing in The Cube in LFedor Holzas Vegas laughingly trading barbs with his GPL opponent, Fedor just can’t help being lovable.

Which is why is seems so completely out-of-character that he would have called out owner/founder of The Global Poker League, Alexandre Dreyfus, over a late repayment of a loan of a few thousand dollars. One thing is for sure; it wasn’t about the money.

Alexandre DreyfusApparently, Dreyfus told Holz and two other (as yet unidentified) high stakes players that he’d reached his daily limits on transfers after he went through $50,000 in less than a week to hurriedly set up The Cube in the GPL’s Vegas studio. He asked the three players for a short-term transfer of $30,000 combined to get him through until his limits refreshed, at which point he’d transfer them back their money in euros. Clearly, he must have completely trusted Holz to be discrete.

All three players allegedly realized that Dreyfus hadn’t repaid the loan when they “sat down with their books” several weeks later, at which point Dreyfus acknowledged the delay, apologized to the players both publicly and in private, and repaid the loans with five percent interest. He also claimed that he had legitimate reasons for the delay in repaying the debt. As for Holz, he said he had no desire to “harm” Dreyfus when he chose to discuss this situation in a public forum.

So here are the really odd bits about this story:

  • Seriously? Fedor sits down with his books and does his own accounting? And even more surprising, amongst all his millions, he noticed he was short a few grand?
  • Why would Dreyfus say that he had legitimate reasons for the delay, when it would have been far better to say he forgot and was sorry? Legitimate reasons could stir up a whole lot of doubt among GPL backers.
  • Holz, while claiming not to want to harm Dreyfus, called the incident “questionable behavior as a serious entrepreneur and a show of missing integrity.” Those sound like harmful words to me, but maybe it’s just a bad translation, or a lack of maturity from a very rich but still young Fedor Holz.

L.A. SunsetI don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d like to know what’s really going on. There’s something awfully strange about this story. And, with League poker action returning on September 20th, will Fedor still be representing the LA Sunset for the GPL?

Add your comments!

Queen of Hearts ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Our readers want to know what’s going on with the Global Poker League.  As far as I know, the GPL is on a scheduled break for about a month, so this is a good time to bring everyone up to speed.

Alexandre DreyfusAs a blogger who’s been following and writing about the new League since before their highly professional inaugural draft in February, I’ve made no secret of how impressed I’ve been with Alexandre Dreyfus and the GPL. The innovative team concept, the use of web cams, the fan-focused experience as opposed to an experience focused on professional poker players   . . . all came together incredibly well in just 14 short weeks. The GPL had half a million unique viewers, with sustained average viewing times of 17 to 21 minutes per viewer throughout the summer.

Could they have done even better? Absolutely, if they’d wanted to spend millions of dollars on television and online advertising which they obviously did not. Probably a wise decision too, since they now have “proof of concept” without exposing the whole ball of wax to the world prior to doing some very necessary tweaking. Plus they got some free marketing every time someone said or wrote: “Congratulations to Jason Mercier of the New York Rounders”. You can’t buy better branding than that.

GPL's The CubeIt was clear from the start that there had to be a GPL TV studio in Vegas, the mecca for poker players. And, to accommodate all the GPL team members also playing in the 2016 WSOP, they needed the convenience of a TV studio in close proximity to the Rio. I admire Dreyfus and his team for taking the calculated risk to break out their signature platform, The Cube, during the Summer Series, instead of waiting for the reveal originally set for September. In fact, Dreyfus wrote on Facebook that “it was a last minute decision to bring The Cube . . . to Vegas to form the centerpiece of our 2nd TV studio.”

I felt validated reading that, since at the time I had written in my blog: “No surprise, either, that he decided to break out the much-hyped, but not quite ready-for-prime-time Cube ahead of schedule.” It was no surprise because it was obvious to anyone paying attention that The Cube set-up, even in its pared down version, provided the perfect contrast to the play at the WSOP:  up close and personal, fast-paced, poker standing up, innovative and fun!

The players seemed to agree, saying they enjoyed the pace, the slightly intimidating electronic music and SFX — the loud beat, beat, beating of their hearts — the intensity of the heat and lights in the isolating sound-proof glass enclosure. Personally, I think they got a kick out of the jock-like activity of standing and sweating after the passivity of sitting at the poker tables in the air-conditioned Rio for hours on end.

In the meantime, we fans got the rare opportunity to enjoy the “other side” of some of the biggest names in poker – Fedor Holz, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Jonathan Jaffe, Anatoly Filatov, Bryn Kenney, Fabrice Soulier, Randy “Nanonoko” Lew, Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Byron Kaverman, Tom Marchese, Faraz Jaka  and the list goes on — as they “let it all out” against their opponent in The Cube.

Many of these matches were not only good heads-up poker but also incredibly engaging entertainment. And for a newbie like me, the expert commentary provided by Joe Stapleton and Eric Danis broadened my poker education without delving too heavily into higher level strategies like range and variance. Their poker knowledge, humor and great chemistry, along with interviews by the smart and sexy Laura “Corndog” Cornelius, made for a highly enjoyable few hours in my day.

By the way, based on comments made by Dreyfus in several interviews, I imagine that what we saw was The Cube in its most basic iteration . . . many of the bells and whistles are still to come.( I’ll cover much more on the improvements I hope to see in The Cube in an upcoming blog!)

So now what?

I’ve been trying to figure that out and according to the schedule that appears on the GPL website, inter-conference play begins again on August 16th.  Unfortunately, a note on the homepage of the site also says “Thank you for joining us in the Las Vegas Summer Series – Back in September.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Dreyfus and team if they want to hold on to the fans they have acquired and continue to grow the way they need to. I’ve been saying for months that the website needs to be overhauled (design and programming) and then maintained consistently. Stories and features need to be updated regularly, a less cumbersome schedule and video archive has to be developed, the site has to load faster and it MUST be optimized for mobile. There’s enough content to fill ten websites, so that’s not the problem. It simply needs to be handled by developers who can deliver a high class, high-functioning professional site.

Eurasia ConferenceConceptually, the GPL‘s vision of poker as a team sport is what sets it apart. It began with players being drafted onto a team representing a major city, and it was that team concept that was supposed to build the fan base.

America ConferenceUnless the mission has changed, I don’t believe the GPL did enough to reinforce the team concept. If this was being marketed as a Team Sport, the logos of the teams should have always been prominent. Instead, the way in which the graphics were designed for the online matches made the team logos difficult to see. Viewers could easily see the players and the hole cards, but sadly, the team names were covered up.

And when play progressed to the Summer Series in The Cube, the players should have been wearing their team t-shirts sporting their team logo. Had the GPL been on time with their team merchandise (a costly misstep) fans of the teams could have worn their t-shirts all over Vegas, including at the heavily attended WSOP, where tons of attendees might have been tempted to purchase an LA Sunset or Las Vegas Moneymakers team shirt — free advertising! Dreyfus commented, “We also didn’t connect with the WSOP fan-base as deeply as we had the potential to do.” He’s right; they blew it. In addition, team branding as well as GPL branding were mysteriously absent from The Cube, at least from the online audience’s vantage point.

Because of the GPL, I grew to know and like some of the players personally; I feel a kind of crazy proprietary interest in many of them whenever I see them playing poker anywhere.  But in the end, if I don’t know what GPL team Fedor, Nano or Mercier play for, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. Bottom line:  it’s the team that grows the fan base and excites those who root for them with a passion, motivating them to buy team banners, t-shirts, caps. . . and ultimately bring in sponsors.

Dreyfus has promised to “amp up the adrenaline inherent in many of our matches and focus more on the players than the game.” Maybe so, but if he still wants the team aspect to be the GPL’s hallmark, then some good old Yankees/Red Sox, Celtics/Lakers team dynamics have to be built up as well.

I have tremendous faith in the brilliance of Alex Dreyfus and his team to make the necessary adjustments to the GPL in ways I’ve suggested . . . and in ways I’ve never even thought of.  I look forward to the immediate improvements I hope will be made as they finish out this year with the league playoffs and the Season 1 Championship at Wembley Stadium in London. And I can’t wait to watch what happens next year and in the years to come. I got hooked on poker because of the GPL, so I’m rooting for it to evolve into everything Dreyfus envisioned — poker “sportified” to appeal to millions of old and new-generation poker fans.

And I’ll be blogging about it all as soon as the next half of their season begins in August . . . or September.

Add your comments or thoughts!