Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Nationals’

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.

Global Poker League Finals

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

For all you Global Poker League fans out there, today (Nov. 29th) is the first day of the Playoffs to determine the winner of the Americas Conference.

The #1 seeded Montreal Nationals were the highest scoring team in the GPL’s regular season, with a whopping 200 points.  They will play the 4th seed, the San Francisco Rush in a series of heads-up games beginning at 3 P.M. ET.

Whichever team wins the “Best of Seven” (first team to accumulate four game victories) will await the winners of the match between #2 LA Sunset and #3 Sao Paulo Metropolitans.  The winners will then face off to determine the winner of the Americas Conference Final.

Tomorrow (Nov.30th) pits the #1 seeded Moscow Wolverines against the #4 London Royals. The winners will await the results of the best-of-seven match between the #2 Hong Kong Stars and #3 Berlin Bears. The winners will then play for the Eurasia Conference Final.

Higher seeded teams take an advantage into the playoffs, as do their counterparts in other highly contested playoffs.. The team managers have the opportunity to see their opponent’s lineup before submitting theirs which may involve some team strategy.  And, their starting stacks are higher: 130K vs. 100K and 120K vs. 110K.

Finally, on Thursday, Dec. 1st, the winner of the Americas Conference winners will play the Eurasia Conference winners in a best of eleven series to determine the first-ever GPL Champions and winner of the $100,000 prize.

GPL Playoffs

We’re covering up our poker table and getting ready to cheer our favorites at the Global Poker League Playoffs!

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

For those of you who got caught up in the Inaugural season of The Global Poker League and felt somewhat let down after such a promising first half, all is not lost.

Global Poker League Playoffs

In fact, despite the loss of momentum from long delays and venue changes, the League has successfully completed its regular season (20 weeks, 174 matches and 300 hours of digital content) and is headed towards the Playoffs and Finals.

As founder Alex Dreyfus put it; “Against all odds, we built and ran a League from scratch through a full cycle of competition. That’s a big achievement, and my team and I are very proud to have accomplished this much.”

I couldn’t agree more, especially since the GPL got me excited about poker, to say nothing about teaching me how to play. I was also incredibly impressed with how dedicated the professional poker players seemed to be to their respective teams and to their team managers, all of whom were terrific spokespeople for the new league and for poker in general. They were also respectful of their fans, including newbies like me, who might never have seen players like Mercier, Holz, Kenney, Boeree, Jaffe, Bonomo, Brunson, Elky, Duhamel and dozens more were it not for their wholehearted commitment to, and enthusiastic participation in, the GPL.

That being said, the following teams have qualified for the Season 1 Playoffs to be held in Vegas on November 29th and 30th  with the Finals to be played on December 1st.

Americas Conference:

1st: Montreal Nationals
2nd: LA Sunset
3rd: Sao Paulo Metropolitans
4th: San Francisco Rush

Eurasia Conference:

1st: Moscow Wolverines
2nd: Hong Kong Stars
3rd: Berlin Bears
4th: London Royals

Looking ahead, the future appears very promising for team poker. Thanks to the recent strategic partnership with Pokerstars, Dreyfus seems assured of seeing his as yet unfulfilled vision come to fruition. As he wrote, “we will be able to deliver a better fan experience and better fan engagement on a larger scale” based on how much they learned during the first six months combined with the clout of Pokerstars. In the meantime, let’s all hope for some exciting matches to finish this season in style.

Everyone at the Texas Poker Store will be watching very closely and will keep you all abreast of all the action.

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Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I’m feeling somewhat apologetic right now because it’s been more than a week since I posted my last Global Poker League blog, which is certainly unfair to my small but growing list of followers.  I was traveling/vacationing, which I mentioned last time, and my timing was way off, but I DID manage to write one blog from California, since you can take the GPL with you!

Sorel MizziFuBerlin Bearsnnily enough, last week Sorel Mizzi’s timing was way off too. Playing in his first match for the Berlin Bears, he got his start time completely wrong. Driving under pressure to get to a place where he could play, he discovered that he’d left his laptop back in the Motel 6. With no time to go back for it, he drove to the first Apple store he could find, bought a new laptop, pulled into a coffee shop and apologetically entered his first 6-max, because he didn’t want to let his team down. (He wound up scoring 13 crucial points for the Bears over two days, more than making up for his late arrival.)

My real excuse for not writing again was that I got sick as a dog two days before my vacation ended, which was compounded by winding up on an American Eagle flight from hell (upon which I tragically left my tablet with its awesome collection of ebooks). After that, I came as close to praying for my own demise as I can ever remember while suffering through three agonizingly difficult days.

Nevertheless, because I’m admittedly hooked on the GPL, I managed to follow a few of the matches on my cell and dragged my laptop to my bed on occasion to catch some of the replay action on globalpokerleague.com. Of course, you can watch GPL poker from any device, but on Thursday, with my health restored, I had my favorite GPL fan experience so far. My husband fixed it so we could stream the matches onto the big screen in the living room where we watched the Americas Conference Heads-Up matches together.

Olivier BusquetL.A. SunsetI was rewarded by a shirtless L.A. Sunset’s Olivier Busquet playing heads-up poker from a beach bar in Jamaica (why not; he’s not only been dominant in HU matches but he also looks damn good with his shirt off) against Felipe Mojave “Vamos” Ramos of the Metropolitans, who’s been a phenom in his matches but a decided underdog against Olivier.  Although Busquet was as charming and generous with his gems of poker strategy as always, often finding new and creative ways to outplay Felipe, he ultimately relinquished his unbeaten status to the lovable Brazilian, losing 2 out of their 3 matches. Later, the humble Felipe expressed his admiration and respect for Busquet, admitting to Laura Cornelius that he’d studied Busquet’s prior matches which might have been what gave him the edge.

The third match was important to me personally because I’d seen my N.Y. Rounders go from first place to third during this week so I wanted their competition, the Montreal Nationals, to lose. And, lose they did, eventually. Pascal Lefrancois played lights out for the Nats in the first game, but a stoic and determined Jonathan Jaffe, feeling the pressure to help his team, won the second and third games, earning six points for the last place San Francisco Rush.

What is quite clear after seven weeks of GPL matches is that the league has not only delivered on its promise to entertain its audience with exciting matches played by elite poker players (with tremendous pride and a wealth of poker knowledge) but that these players truly care about winning for their teams. And that’s how you begin to “sportify” poker.

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