Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

 

I’m traveling, I’m visiting my kids in Los Angeles, but somehow I remembered to check the GPL streaming schedule and managed to catch the heads-up match between Randy “Nananoko” Lew for the Hong Kong Stars and Justin Bonomo for Liv Boeree’s London Royals; Bonomo swept Nano for nine points which made me a little sad cause I’ve grown to like Nano.Global Poker League

Every once in awhile, I realize that although I’ve been living in a Global Poker League bubble for the past couple of months, the unfortunate fact is that it not only remains an unknown entity even to most poker fans, but no one I know has the slightest idea what it is. My friends and family don’t even get why I’m suddenly interested in poker. And I’m not sure how to change that. Our blog is not exactly Buzzfeed, nor can I force people to read my columns in order to catch my enthusiasm for the new League.

Alex DreyfusSo I’m trying to keep in mind what founder Alex Dreyfus has said about what he’s trying to accomplish with the GPL. It’s definitely NOT about becoming an overnight success or converting the world of elite poker players into the NFL in one season.  It will take two, three or more years, and it will be a slow process.

In fact, says Dreyfus “Our intent is not to create an event for players, like the World Series of Poker, but an event for fans and spectators. Our goal is to shift from a player and customer experience to a fan experience.” In other words, the GPL has no desire to compete with the WSOP. Its goal is to create a framework and platform where the best poker players regularly play for their team, as you can see on Twitch-TV right now, while we fans get into their heads and discover their stories.

What Dreyfus is doing is setting the stage for a continuing and engrossing poker storyline. In my case, for example, last week I got wrapped up in the heads-up matches between the Sao Paulo Mets’ Olivier Busquet and the NY Rounders’ Thomas Marchese, not because of my love of poker, but because, through the webcams, I had access to both of their New York Rounderscommentaries, both of their strategies, their very different personalities, and both their hole cards at the same time! This has never been done before, Dreyfus assures us. Not only that, but I was pulling for the team from New York, the Rounders, because that’s what I do . . . I root for New York teams.

Eventually, you and your friends and poker buddies will be talking about the amazing heads-up match you saw on Tuesday. One might say, ‘ Olivier got awfully lucky on the river with that final King.” You might answer, “I like Ladouceur’s style; he’s a very thoughtful poker player, but OB had an awfully good run. When it came down to the all-ins, Busquet always seems to win.”

It’s that “Hey, did you see what happened yesterday” mentality that the GPL wants to cultivate. The marketing goal for Alex Dreyfus is to provide enough sports or entertainment content to create a habit. And a habit is something you do every day or every week.

“What we aim to do with the GPL is for you to be hooked to watch GPL whether it’s one, two, or five matches per week, every week,” Dreyfus explains.

Which is why I’m with my daughter in L.A, and have a million things to do, but still took the time to watch a GPL match today.

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Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris:

Queen of Hearts ParisI was thinking about the Global Poker League (GPL) over the weekend, when there are no matches going on. I was trying to figure out how Alex Dreyfus and the GPL will ever get to that place they’re aiming for – that sweet spot where everyone has at least heard of them (like the NFL or the NBA) and where they attract a wide audience of fans around the globe. And that audience can’t just be poker fanatics. They need to bring in brand new fans that become excited about the competitive format, start identifying with and then rooting for their “home team,” and can’t wait for that team to make it to the playoffs in September and ultimately, the finals in November.

It’s hard to figure, because in some ways the GPL is obviously most akin to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) since it’s about poker, and ultimately crowning a champion. But even though at this point more people have heard of the WSOP than the GPL, I’d bet that the audience for the WSOP consists of 98 percent poker players and fans. Period.  And of course, the WSOP is all about individual players. It’s huge, but it isn’t going to grow much bigger.

Maybe the GPL wants to be more like Major League Baseball (MLB) in that just about everyone has at least heard of it; it has fans from every walk of life; some people have season tickets and some catch a game occasionally; even if you’re only a casual fan you still know what team you root for, and then just about everyone gets involved as the competition heats up and the leagues face off against each other until only two remain to play in the World Series.

Then again, we call it the World Series because of our ethnocentricity, but it’s never been about the world; it’s always been the United States’ Series, hasn’t it? Same  for the Super Bowl; everyone around the world has heard of it, football fans root passionately for their favorite team and hope they make the playoffs, but again; the NFL is made up of leagues from the U.S. and culminates in a Super Bowl that, although watched by millions, is only played by teams from the U.S.

Perhaps the GPL is more like soccer’s World Cup, with teams from all around the world playing each other until the victor emerges.

NY Rounders vs Las Vegas MoneymakersOkay, I apologize. I’ve been fantasizing about the future of the GPL and what we might compare it to, but there’s really nothing like it. And that’s its advantage. It has the pull of home teams that can start building a loyal fan base; people are already rooting for their favorite team. It has the software and webcams that make it possible to get inside the players’ heads to learn their strategy and get to know them personally, the feature I most enjoy.  It has live chatting and tweeting at the same time to create even more fan engagement. It has the innovative “time banks” which, according to Earl Burton on “Poker Update” are not only turning out to be a useful tool in a player’s arsenal but are also so successful that they should be borrowed by all of online poker. It has the mystique of the” Wild Card” choices, where anything can happen, including drafting a famous actor like Aaron Paul for your team.

Although it has been a global league from its inception, with teams representing Hong Kong, Berlin, London, Paris, Rome and Moscow, it is poised to become a global phenomenon after striking a recent major media deal with Sina Sports, the leading online sports platform in China, with a daily traffic flow of 15 million online users and 26 million mobile visitors. Dreyfus noted that the deal is destined to increase interest in poker and the GPL among a potential viewership of more than 40 million people. Not only that, but the media giant will be hosting poker content alongside an array of mainstream sports, from soccer to basketball. In other words, Sina Sports is an already highly credible media platform that should boost the credibility and reputation of the GPL  tremendously. Talk about attracting a new audience!

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Pocket Bullets ParisBy: Pocket Bullets Paris

I can’t think of a better day than the one we have planned for tomorrow. Friends of ours invited us over for the perfect trifecta: Texas Hold ’em, barbecuing, and watching Johnny Manziel make his first start for the Cleveland Browns. Since we’re all Aggie football fans, we’ve really missed the excitement of watching JFF play. As hard as it was losing Johnny to the NFL draft, it’s been even harder watching him sit on the bench while Hoyer has led the Browns. Finally, when head coach Pettine could no longer rationalize continuing to go with Hoyer, he made the decision to start Manziel. Which means a whole lot of football fans who normally couldn’t care less about the Cleveland vs. Bengals game, will be laser-focused on the Browns at 12 noon CST tomorrow.

SPocket Bullets Paris on a hot run at the WSOP o, if things go ideally, Johnny will play lights out, the barbecue will be done to perfection, I’ll be on a hot run at the poker table and we’ll all enjoy the day. If we could only have one out of three, however, I’m pretty sure this group is hoping for a great day for Johnny Football and the beginning of a new era for the Cleveland Browns.

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There have been quite a few professional athletes who have turned to the poker felt. Boxing champ Antonio Harber did it in 2007 and 2009, Paralympic gold medalist Marlon Shirley competed in 2009. Even NFL legend Emmit Smith tried it out in 2010, Orel Hershiser participated from 2008-2010 and this year, at the WSOP, we saw Roberto Luongo, arguably one of the NHL’s best goaltenders and goalie for the gold-medal winning Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

So far, in the 2012 Summer Olympics Michael Phelps has failed to win a medal and looked shocked when he realized that his medal streak was now broken.  So it’s not that much of a stretch to wonder if maybe Phelps, like so many other great athletes, will be attracted by the World Series of Poker Main Event and try out for the poker felts. I know I would root for him if I saw him at the poker tables. Who knows, maybe he can add a nice gold bracelet to go along with all those gold medals. What do you think?

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