Posts Tagged ‘Americas Conference’

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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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It’s hard for me to believe, but the Global Poker League has completed its seventh week of online action. After this week’s matches are completed, the second phase of the schedule — the GPL’s Summer Series — will begin in Las Vegas on June 6th, making life way more convenient for those players who will also be playing in the World Series of Poker events.

Global Poker LeagueFor those of us who hadn’t spent much time watching poker before, much less finding themselves addicted to the entertainment value of the game, the Summer Series should be an exciting change of pace from the online matches we’ve gotten used to enjoying. First of all, the action will be live on the felt in the GPL’s Las Vegas studio. Second, there will only be Heads-Up matches, but it will be cross-conference action (for the first time) until all the Americas Conference teams have played all the Eurasia Conference teams. As they’ve done in the HU matches online, winners will receive three points per game for their teams and losers receive no points, so a total of nine points per match will be at stake. It will be fascinating to see how the results of these cross-conference games scramble up the rankings.

Of course, the HU action will be live streamed on Twitch, GPL and other platforms globally so we can continue cheering for our favorite team. There are some cross-conference pairings I’d love to see, but for now we only know which teams are playing when (http://www.globalpokerleague.com/schedule/)

The GPL has made the games easy-to-watch as well as highly entertaining for newbies like me by providing Great Content: web cams to get to know what’s going on inside each player’s head (from strategy to analyzing their opponent to how much they love their dogs); excellent interviews (Laura Cornelius and Eric Danis in the Lounge) and two humorous and knowledgeable commentators (Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton during the matches). In other words, there’s enough pure entertainment value so that my lack of poker savvy didn’t preclude enjoying the competition. In the end, I never forgot that I was rooting for the NY Rounders and the LA Sunset, the two teams representing places I’ve spent most of my life.

Team Texas Poker tore's Night HawkOn the other hand, for experienced poker players, the level of chatter and commentary was never dumbed down; the participants all speak the language of poker and it’s been up to me to determine how much I’ve wanted to learn. Suffice it to say that I’ve learned more about poker in the last two months than I’d ever known (considering we’ve owned an online poker supply store for four years) and more importantly, I’ve become intrigued by it. I’ve researched a bunch of terms I didn’t understand, watched late night poker on TV with my husband so we could discuss everything from player position to ranges, bluffing and gut shots and I’m ready to take my place at one of our tables and play.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is all playing out for us, the audience, just as Alex Dreyfus envisioned several years ago. What fascinated me when I decided to make the GPL the focus of my blog was that it was something new in the world of poker: a fan experience with digital content and competition at its core. And its founder, Dreyfus wanted . . . needed ambassadors to help him make poker bigger and more mainstream. Dreyfus knew “this skill game, sport game, brain game, whatever you want to call it” was not just gambling. He also knew that without exploiting its entertainment value and getting the media to talk about it, it would slowly die.

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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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