Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas MoneyMakers’

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!

Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Pocket Queens Paris

For those of you who have been following my blog about the Global Poker League, it seems like a good time to catch you up on the team standings and to make some random observations after the first two weeks.  And by the way, you can watch replays of all of the matches on

Global Poker LeagueThe audience for the live streaming events has been pretty impressive considering this is a brand new team poker concept that can only be watched by going to According to his tweet on April 5th, Alex Dreyfus noted there were more than 429,000 views and 290,000 unique visitors. As a variety of minor glitches as well as some good suggestions were tweeted or came up in the chat room, @GPL responded quickly and/or made adjustments, demonstrating how engaged they were with the fans and how invested they are in turning out an exciting and high-class product.

The players also appeared to be highly invested in supporting their teams, entertaining the viewers and playing some good poker. This is especially obvious when the web cams are on and players reveal their personalities and poker savvy. That has not only made for some closely contested matches but a lot of “corollary” activity to build their fan bases. Each team has a Facebook page and a Twitter account; the more active the team pages and the individual players are on social media the more likely they are buying into the concept of the GPL in terms of bringing poker into the mainstream and attracting a whole new audience.

The League has already begun to change the narrative in the poker world. If a poker player from the NY Rounders wins big at a WPT or WSOP tournament, and happens to defeat a player from the LA Sunset or the San Francisco Rush in the process, the player is now automatically associated with their Global Poker League team whenever the results are written or tweeted about, bringing free advertising and recognition to the fledgling League.

In fact, my only criticism of the screen format for the 6-Max and Heads-Up matches streaming every week is that the names and faces of the individual players are easy to see, and of course, their hole cards and the river cards are prominently displayed, as well as their chip count and the pot. However, it’s much more difficult to see the team each player is representing – most of the time the team logo is covered by the hole cards.

Obviously, the majority of the players are far more familiar to their fans than are their teams, but eventually that has to change if the GPL’s innovative vision for team poker is realized. Clearly it’s a big advantage to have star players on your team and, just as in any sport, they usually grab the most attention: take Kobe, Curry, Manning (either one) and Brady as examples. But if you don’t know what team they play for there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. 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, season tickets . . . and ultimately bringing in sponsors. To continually reinforce the team concept, I believe it’s critical for Dreyfus and the GPL to implement a re-design of the screen layout so that the team name and logo are always easy to see.

For those of us who are just dipping our toes into the poker-watching water, it’s having a favorite team to root for that’s going to turn us into fans. In the end, it’s not Thomas Marchese taking on Anthony Zinno in a Heads-Up poker match; it’s the NY Rounders beating the Las Vegas Moneymakers six to three in GPL play. That’s how the GPL will change poker.

Standings After Two Weeks:

Eurasia Conference: 

Eurasia Conference




  1. Paris Aviators:                         30 points
  2. Hong Kong Stars:                   23 points
  3. London Royals:                       19 points
  4. Moscow Wolverines:              19 points
  5. Berlin Bears:                           18 points
  6. Rome Emperors:                    16 points

Americas Conference:  





  1. Montreal Nationals:                 29 points
  2. New York Rounders:               25 points
  3. LA Sunset:                               23 points
  4. Las Vegas Moneymakers:       20 points
  5. San Francisco Rush:               14 points
  6. Sao Paulo Metropolitans:        13 points

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Texas Poker Store


Queen of Hearts Paris

By: Queen of Hearts Paris


As we’ve mentioned previously, the Global Poker League (GPL) kicks off on April 5th. It’s doubtful that anyone who isn’t very involved in the world of poker — ie; professional poker players, frequent recreational players, or poker bloggers like us — is even aware of that, nor do they care.

But if Alex Dreyfus, GPL founder, as well as the 12 team managers of the leagues’ teams deliver on their promises to “sportify” poker;  if team poker becomes engaging and entertaining for spectators, and if teams begin to develop fan bases, many more of you will start caring. Maybe not right away, but eventually. At least, that’s the goal.

The following quote from team manager Faraz Jaka of the San Francisco Rush sums it up perfectly: The GPL is attempting to break down barriers and change the way the game is both played and viewed. My hope is that we see the demographic that engages in poker grow massively, leading towards a new poker boom.

So, to get a head start, some of you might want to learn a little more about the teams . . . maybe even figure out which team you’d root for if you had to choose.

The 12 teams in the GPL are divided into the Americas Conference and the Eurasian Conference. The Americas Conference features four teams from the United States, including the LA Sunset, the San Francisco Rush, the Las Vegas Moneymakers (with guess who as their team manager) and, from the east coast, the New York Rounders (considered the odds-on favorites before the actual playing begins). The two other Americas teams are the Montreal Nationals and the Sao Paulo Metropolitans.

The Eurasian Conference consists of four teams representing major European capitals: The Paris Aviators, the Berlin Bears, the London Royals and the Rome Emperors. Russia is represented by the Moscow Wolverines and Asia’s team is the Hong Kong Stars.

aces-pro-tournament-tableWe’ll start focusing on each team: who are the fan favorites, who are the big name winners from the felt at the poker tables to the young hotshots from online, what are the managers’ strategies and other vital information in upcoming blogs. You will definitely need that if you want to pick a team to root for when the action begins.

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Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

On Thursday, February 25th, an exciting Draft Day is set to take place at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. It’s the Global Poker League’s first-ever draft of poker players to play for its 12 franchise teams, representing 33 countries and more than $500 million in combined winnings. phil-hellmuth-2-21-16The draft will be co-hosted by ESPN’s World Series of Poker presenter Kara Scott and will feature a panel of analysts that includes poker superstars Phil Hellmuth and negreanu2-21-16Daniel Negreanu.

The team managers (more on that later) will be choosing from the 203 players who opted to be draft-eligible out of the top 1,000 players as ranked by the Global Poker Index (GPI). And the players will not be gambling with their own money; they will get paid to participate, like professional athletes.

To put it simply, the GPL is an attempt to “sportify” team poker so that everyone, not just the fans of well-known poker players, has a reason to be engaged in following their poker “team” throughout the year. That’s right; the goal is for each of the teams to wind up having their own dedicated fan base, a fan base that roots for them with the kind of intensity that only teams can generate.

Managers were appointed by the GPL to be the “face” of their teams. Each of the 12 has signed two-year contracts to help guarantee team continuity. The contract makes them responsible for actively participating in the development of the League, including drafting their players and coming up with their own particular strategy to field winning teams. A flare for marketing and garnering media attention won’t hurt.

The creation of Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the Leagues list of managers includes poker star Celina Lin , manager of the Hong Kong Stars; Chris Moneymaker’, manager of the Las Vegas MoneyMakers; Bryn Kenney, manager of the New York Rounders; Fabrice Soulier, manager of the Paris Aviators; Max Pescatori, manager of the Rome Emperors; Faraz Jaka, manager of the San Francisco Rush and five more who’ll be managing teams from Canada, Germany, England, Russia and Brazil. The U.S. has the most teams, with a total of four.

At the Draft, each manager will draft four players ranked in the top 1,000 in the GPI as of January 2016, plus two wildcards for their team.

With more and more people coming from the online world, Dreyfus observed that often the final tables of the most important tournaments are led by players that people don’t know, guys who are very good at poker but who don’t bring with them a dedicated fan base. In fact, because of the great success of online poker and the influx of talented online players, there remain only a few players that people are passionate about when it comes to following their careers and rooting for them at poker tournaments.

So Dreyfus came up with a plan: “If we want to serve poker-related content to the media on a weekly basis, and if we want people to talk about poker, we need to build a platform — a league that will give everyone a reason to be engaged and interested in the game.”

We will cover the results of the Draft on the 25th and keep you posted on the GPL’s progress, and hopefully its success, as the story unfolds. Until then, see you at the tables.

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