Posts Tagged ‘Mediarex Sports and Entertainment’

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

When I began writing a regular poker blog I got very lucky. I didn’t know much about poker, but I really wanted to make a contribution to the Texas Poker Store — the online poker supply store my husband and I own. Of course, he has run it pretty much on his own for the past five years, but when I retired from working full-time at Texas A&M, I had a lot more free time to help with the “family business.” And that’s when I stumbled upon the Global Poker League.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and EntertainmentMy first blog was written on February 21. It was titled “What is the Global Poker League (GPL) and Why Haven’t You Heard Of it?” The brainchild of Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and Entertainment, the GPL was the perfect story for me. It was bold and innovative, it had teams to get passionate about just like other sports and since it was brand new, it could be my special beat; I could introduce it to our followers.

And I followed the hell out of the GPL. I watched it online religiously and pitched it like an evangelist. I probably wrote more than 30 blogs about it, and I tweeted and posted to try to get people as excited as I was about “sportifying” poker. I described everything I loved in my columns: learning how to play poker from some of the world’s best players, getting to know and care about them, getting inside their heads, the webcams and the software and the Cube, along with the poker knowledge and witty repartee of the commentators. I loved having a poker team to root for (in my case the LA Sunset).

But mostly I was incredibly impressed with how dedicated the professional poker players were to the League, to their respective teams and to their team managers, all of whom were terrific spokespeople for the GPL and for poker in general. They were also respectful of their fans, including newbies like me, who might never have seen players like Mercier, Busquet, Kenney, Boeree, Jaffe, Filatov, Bonomo, McDonald, Elky, Duhamel and dozens more were it not for their wholehearted commitment to, and enthusiastic participation in, the GPL.

In the end, after some glitches and delays along the way, the GPL pulled off their season-ending Playoffs and first-ever Championship (won by the Montreal Nationals) in a series of strategic, hard-fought, engrossing and sometimes thrilling matches held from November 29th – December 1st in the Cube in Vegas. The dedication demonstrated by the players was extraordinary considering that they weren’t playing for the money ($100,000 split six ways). They all seemed to realize that something much greater was at stake; this was a way to showcase the game they love and to recapture the spirit of competition. In that way it transcended other poker tournaments played for huge stakes all over the world.

It saddens me to know that I could probably write a blog tomorrow and title it, “What is the Global Poker League (GPL) and Why Haven’t You Heard Of it?”– it certainly hasn’t had the impact I imagined it would have. But Alex Dreyfus is still a hero in my book. He accomplished what he set out to do; he made his vision a reality. He got poker superstars to play for team loyalty and the love of poker, and he greatly expanded the potential audience for poker. Next year, with the sponsorship of PokerStars and the countless lessons learned this season, I’m betting on the Global Poker League to hit its stride and never look back. In the mean time there are a lot of poker games to play in, we hope you get the best cards and wish you luck.

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Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

I wrote about the launch of the Global Poker League (GPL) on this blog twice, on February 21st and again on the 26th, the day after the League’s first draft. Since then, I’ve been searching for more news about it so I could keep y’all updated on any new developments, and I have checked their Facebook page daily for updates, but nothing exciting or revealing has been posted as of yet. If anything, it seemed that founder Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and Entertainment, may have been playing the League down a bit for fear of having the hype overshadow the results.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and EntertainmentIn fact, Dreyfus said as much when discussing how successful the first-ever draft had been. In an article titled ” The Day We Sportified Poker,” Dreyfus noted how thrilled he was with the coverage of the draft, both through the five-hour live stream on Twitch, which drew an estimated 195,000 unique viewers and the activity on Twitter, which had poker enthusiasts engaged and arguing back and forth throughout the event. He also raved about the quality of the managers of each of the 12 teams and the terrific job done by the the analysts who kept fans entertained and informed throughout.

I watched enough myself to know how much fun it was listening to the opinions and color commentary delivered by the two superstar poker legends, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, as well as circuit experts, Joe Stapleton and Eric Danis. After such a successful event, with the highest of production values in place, it makes sense that Dreyfus wants to plan the next steps taken by the new League very carefully. He and everyone else involved know that the League isn’t going to take off immediately; it could take several years to build up interest in and enthusiasm for team poker, and each team will need to work hard to earn the devotion of its own fan base.

For those who are eager to know more, the next news we’re all waiting for is who will each team manager choose as their two Wild Card players that the rules allow for. Most assume that each manager will make him or herself one of the Wild Cards, but their choices for the other spot could be newsworthy. Wild Card players also have to be ranked in the top 1,000 of the Global Poker Index and which player a team manager chooses will give us all some insight into their strategy for the first GPL season. Are they gunning for the most highly ranked players? Or are they looking for a wild card player who is popular and entertaining enough at the poker tables to engage fans? Remember, marketability is the name of the game!

And speaking of downplaying the hype, Dreyfus just announced, via a simple tweet on his Twitter feed, that the GPL will begin its first series of online matches on April 5th — stay tuned for full schedule.

In other words, when we know more, we’ll let you know!

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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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