Posts Tagged ‘Fabrice Soulier’

Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

Whether they are playing the part of a poker player on the big or little screen, or whether they are playing in a real poker game, these are some of our favorite film and TV actors who truly love the game of poker almost as much as we do.

You can see their love and joy at poker tables around the world, as Kevin Hart was heard saying “I love to live, love and laugh. I want to bring this energy to the game of poker. And when I do this, poker will be elevated.” And Aaron Paul stated “I’m obsessed with gambling, winning and losing money! What’s so great about poker is that you can play it for your entire life. You can play against a pro and sometimes win. It’s unlike any other sport. And I think it is sort of like a sport.”

We could go on and on about the love celebrities have for the game but that would fill an entire book … maybe we’ll write that poker book in the future but for now here are just a few of our favorite celebrity poker players:

Kevin HartKevin Hart has only pocketed about 50 Grand playing poker but his love of the game keeps him going whether it is win, lose, or draw I think we will be seeing him making the rounds of poker rooms everywhere for a while.

 

Aaron PaulAaron Paul made his debut in the Global Poker League’s revolutionary Cube, as he played for his L.A. Sunset team versus Fabrice Soulier of the Paris Aviators. We loved him in his part as Jesse in “Breaking Bad,” as the cult leader in “The Path” and now follow him through his poker adventures.

 

Matt DamonMatt Damon has been around poker for quite a while and he sure knows how to play, perhaps he picked up more than we suspected in his role as the genius reformed gambler in the poker classic, “Rounders.”

 

Ben AffleckBen Affleck has stated that it was what he learned from his poker coaches, Annie Duke and Amir Vahedi that hooked him in. He won the $10,000 California State Poker Championship tournament at the Commerce Casino in 2004 for a first prize of $356,000.

 

Jennifer TillyJennifer Tilly won the 2005 World Series of Poker Ladies Only Event and took home the much coveted Gold WSOP Bracelet, forever placing her name in our Poker List of top players. She has now earned better than $800,000 and is still going strong.

James WoodsJames Woods has been one of my all time favorite actors and he’s not that bad of a poker player. He’s been playing for quite a while and has picked up more than $300,000 in poker winnings.

 

Texas Poker Store Poker Chips

We will continue this list in our next blog posting in a few days. Right now we have to rush out to one of our local home games and we promised to contribute a case of our Texas Poker Store Poker Chips.

Send me your thoughts or 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!

Queen of Hearts ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I haven’t written much about the Global Poker League lately, mostly because there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. Don’t get me wrong; the League has been thriving, we know which teams are clearly going to make the playoffs and I’ve been enjoying watching the heads-up matches in The Cube tremendously.  I find it mesmerizing to watch the same men and women who I’ve seen sitting at tables at huge events like the WSOP, WPT or Super High Roller matches displaying their “poker pro” personalities and then, when they come to play a GPL match, they morph into “performance” mode, actually entertaining us while playing poker.  The 6-max and heads-upGlobal Poker League matches played in the first part of the season were interesting for a different reason. The players on the webcams thought out loud; they explained their strategy or game plan or state of mind to us, the audience, but their opponents couldn’t hear them. That was a great learning tool for me as a beginning poker player, and a way to get to know the players better as well.

And, that’s when the concept of individual poker players feeling committed to their team (almost an oxymoron) and supporting each other began to take hold — and when I found myself rooting for my favorite teams (LA Sunset and NY Rounders) and checking out the standings. In fact, part of what helped me enjoy a match when my team wasn’t playing was the overall standings. That, and the opportunity to learn something new from some of the brightest, and in some cases best-looking professional athletes around. Hold on a minute; I just wrote “athletes.” Alex Dreyfus’ vision to “sportify” poker has already started working on me.

But there’s never been anything quite like standing up, face-to-face with your opponent, in a 20-ton glass soundproof Cube out of which you can neither see nor hear a thing, knowing your hole cards are exposed for all the world to see, while the viewing audience can see and hear everything, including the good bluffs and bad folds, the constant chatter, trash talk, teasing and off-beat humor, even the beads of sweat on your upper lip. It’s hot in The Cube, and the soundtrack is intimidating, especially when the heart beat starts pounding and the time clock is on. Boys still sound like boys but boys can conquer men in The Cube (think Fedor vs. Mizzi ).

The Cube - Aaron Paul vs. Fabrice SoulierAnd where else in the world could I have watched 3-time Emmy award winning, poker-loving, sexy-cool actor, Aaron Paul (brilliant wildcard pick by Liv Boeree for the LA Sunset) go face-to-face against The Paris Aviators’ team manager, the also sexy and undeniably hot poker superstar, Fabrice Soulier? Paul used both his poker and acting skills, including the Jesse Pinkman stare down, to win 2-1, but the match was an inspired way to open competition in The Cube. The potential for future wildcard picks who play poker is phenomenal.

Team Texas Poker Store's Night Hawk Poker TableIt sounded gimmicky to me at first, but I’m forced to admit it. Putting poker players in The Cube to face off in a poker match has proven to be another brilliant move by Alex Dreyfus. Bringing in the professionalism and polish of Joe Stapleton, along with Eric Danis for commentary and Laura Cornelius for interviews has upped the ante. With the Summer Series coming to a close and the playoffs beginning, who knows what additional twists, turns and enhancements – faster action, more music, light shows, more projection – will be added to The Cube and to the GPL in general. What I now know I can count on is that it’s bound to be fun, and bound to be innovative.

Click to add your thoughts!

Texas Poker StoreLynn Queen of Hearts ParisLynn “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.Fabrice SoulierAaron Paul

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!Fedor Holtz

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.

Kid Poker - The MovieEven 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.

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