Archive for February 2016

Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

For someone like me, having sat through 40-plus years of NFL drafts anxiously waiting to see who my favorite team (the NY Giants) drafted, it was particularly enjoyable to watch poker enter what many are calling the next new wave of televised poker. (See my last post here.)

Global Poker League AnalystsThe Global Poker League completed their first-ever Draft yesterday, with each of the 12 Team Managers choosing four players (from the pool of 203 draft-eligible players) for their team. No, it didn’t engender quite the same amount of hype as the NFL draft does, but the League did a heck of a good job for its inaugural season. They live streamed on, had four guest analysts (including The Brat Hellmuth and Kid Poker Negreanu) and each team was put “on the clock” just as they are in the NFL (albeit for only three minutes) with lots of speculation and analysis surrounding each manager’s pick. For poker enthusiasts, it was a taste of the excitement and potential of the team competitions to come.

Team Managers chose in the order that had been determined by lottery last week, which meant that the Rome Emperors had the first round draft pick. The team with the 12th pick, the Hong Kong Stars, however, also had the 13th – the second round went in reverse order to try to be as fair as possible to all teams. The team managers will also add two “wildcard” players in the coming week, although in many cases they will count themselves as one of the wildcards.

Max Pescatori, Manager of the Rome Emperors, made Mustafa Kanit the GPL’s first draft pick , which was pretty much of a no-brainer since Kanit is a fellow Italian and ranks among the top 10 on the GPI.

The following are the 12 teams as they are now constituted after the draft:

Global Poker League


Rome Emperors:
Manager Max Pescatori

  • Mustapha Kanit
  • Dario Sammartino
  • Timothy Adams
  • Walter Treccarichi
Montreal Nationals:
Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur

  • Mike McDonald
  • Martin Jacobson
  • Pascal Lafrancois
  • Xuan Liu
New York Rounders:
Manager Bryn Kenney

  • Jason Mercier
  • Tom Marchese
  • Kevin MacPhee
  • Jason Wheeler
San Francisco Rush:
Manager Faraz Jaka

  • Phil Galfond
  • Anthony Gregg
  • Kitty Kuo
  • Anton Wigg
Las Vegas Moneymakers:
Manager Chris Moneymaker

  • Anthony Zinno
  • Jonathan Duhamel
  • Jake Cody
  • Jonathan Little
Sao Paulo Metropolitans:
Manager Andre Akkari

  • Darren Elias
  • Byron Kaverman
  • Thiago Nishijima
  • Joao Pires Simao
London Royals:
Manager Liv Boeree

  • Igor Kurganov
  • Vanessa Selbst
  • Chris Moorman
  • Justin Bonomo
Moscow Wolverines:
Manager Anatoly Filatov

  • Dzmitry Urbanovich
  • Vladimir Troyanovskiy
  • Andrey Pateychuk
  • Sergey Lebedev
Los Angeles Sunset:
Manager Maria Ho

  • Fedor Holz
  • Olivier Busquet
  • Eugene Katchalov
  • Chance Kornuth
Berlin Bears:
Manager Philipp Gruissem

  • Brian Rast
  • Sorel Mizzi
  • Dominik Nitsche
  • Jeff Gross
Paris Aviators:
Manager Fabrice Soulier

  • Bertrand Grospellier
  • Davidi Kitai
  • George Danzer
  • Mike Leah
Hong Kong Stars:
Manager Celina Lin

  • WeiYi Zhang
  • Raiden Kan
  • Dong Guo
  • Bryan Huang

Handicappers are already looking at the New York Rounders and the London Royals as pulling off the strongest teams. But as we all know, in poker anything can happen, and in team poker who knows? The Texas Poker Store Blog will continue to keep you totally up-to-date about the Global Poker League; in fact, as of now I am considering it my special beat so come back soon!

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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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Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts ParisQueen of Hearts Paris

I really enjoy looking at the various poker signs hanging in a person’s poker room or man cave; they help personalize the space. Some are there to loudly proclaim their favorite NCAA team or “represent” their alma mater. Others are funny poker sayings, while others seem to capture the essence of poker. We carry officially licensed NCAA poker signs and mirrors in the Texas Poker Store, although the most common signs, like the proverbial “Folding is for Quitters” and humorous classics such as: “If You Can’t Spot the Sucker at the Poker Table, It’s Probably You” and “Trust Everyone . . . But Always Cut the Cards” are, unfortunately, often out of stock due to their popularity.

Poker Room Mirror Four AcesSo I started collecting good poker quotes that would make equally good signs if someone clever wanted to produce them. I discovered that a lot of people have made observations about poker, some because they play professionally and others because they happen to love poker. For example, the brilliant playwright David Mamet had a very insightful one: “You Can’t Bluff Someone Who’s Not Paying Attention,” while professional poker player Dan Reed is credited with, “You Will Show Your Poker Greatness by the Hands You Fold, not the Hands You Play.”

The Rounders-inspired poker player, Dutch Boyd, known for creating the first online poker site, is quoted as saying, “Poker is a Lot Like Sex. Everyone Thinks They Are the Best, but Most Don’t Have a Clue What They are Doing.” That would make a heck of a poker sign. It’s kind of like Chris Moneymaker’s well-known quote,The Beautiful Thing About Poker is That Everybody Thinks They Can Play.”Poker Room Sign

Poker star Phil Hellmuth could certainly have sold a lot of signs with his statements about the role of luck, including: “If There Weren’t Luck Involved, I Would Win Every Time” andPoker is 100% Skill and 50% Luck.”

One of my favorites comes from the legendary baseball player, Jackie Robinson, who said, “Baseball is Like a Poker Game. Nobody Wants to Quit When He’s Losing; Nobody Wants YOU to Quit When You’re Ahead.”

We’ll follow up with more ideas for good poker signs in our next blog. Until then, let us know if you have any suggestions. So what is your favorite Poker quote? Send it to us and we just might use it.

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Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

Returning to the question of whether poker should be considered a game or a sport, it’s probably a good idea to check out accepted definitions of the two words.

According to the dictionary, the word Game means a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators (which leaves the game of Solitaire, for example, out in the cold).

The same dictionary defines the word Sport as a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other, often for spectators (which, of course, doesn’t do a lot for the lone hunter or hiker who undoubtedly believe they are also involved in a sport).

Queen of Hearts ParisNotwithstanding my quibble with the number of people involved, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish between the two definitions, with the major exception being the word physical.

TPS Poker ChipsNo matter how physical one gets pushing a huge pile of chips into the middle of the poker table and/or pulling them in to sit in stacks in front of you, no matter how much you exert yourself shuffling and dealing cards, it’s a stretch to consider that physical activity.

In fact, the question might never have come up except for two facts. One is that ESPN and the Fox Sports Network cover poker regularly, certainly giving it the aura of sport. And two, the pressure in a major poker tournament is intense, the stakes are unbelievably high, players rake in millions and the last one standing is deemed the champion. Like most big-time sports.

Fortunately for anyone who finds all this confusing and/or irrelevant, the issue has actually been decided, at least in some circles.

In 2011, poker was officially accepted by the International Mind Sports Association at the organization’s congress held in Dubai, UAE. It is now considered a mind sport, meaning it requires skills that go way beyond luck, like chess or bridge.

So you can call poker a game, a sport or a mind sport and continue to enjoy playing it or watching it on TV or at a poker tournament. Just don’t call it gambling and you’ll stay out of trouble.

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