By: 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 www.globalpokerleague.com.
The 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 www.Twitch.tv. 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:
- Paris Aviators: 30 points
- Hong Kong Stars: 23 points
- London Royals: 19 points
- Moscow Wolverines: 19 points
- Berlin Bears: 18 points
- Rome Emperors: 16 points
- Montreal Nationals: 29 points
- New York Rounders: 25 points
- LA Sunset: 23 points
- Las Vegas Moneymakers: 20 points
- San Francisco Rush: 14 points
- Sao Paulo Metropolitans: 13 points