Lynn “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.
My 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.