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Queen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris   

It’s hard to believe, but the Global Poker League, the creation of Alexandre Dreyfus that began as a concept to shake up the poker world three years ago, is about to embark on its first GPL season tomorrow, April 5th. Although not drawing quite as much attention as the start of the MLB season, every poker-related site has been covering GPL- news steadily since the 12 teams and their team managers were announced, and USA Today is now covering the league in their sport’s section.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports and Entertainment

The GPL’s inaugural draft, live-streamed on, more than lived up to its hype and the suspense that built up before each team’s wildcard picks has kept social media buzzing. It’s clear to me that each of the team managers has not only totally bought into the “poker as a team sport” concept but, more importantly, understands and embraces his or her role as “chief marketing officer and brand ambassador” for their team.

So far, only two team managers (Andre Akkari for the Sao Paulo Metropolitans and Phillip Gruissem for the Berlin Bears) decided NOT to play themselves and chose to name two wildcard players. We’ll fill you in on the remaining wildcard picks as they are revealed

As this series continues, we’ll explore many of the nuances of the league as well as some of the unknowns that are yet to be grappled with. For the time being, however, we know that there will be three online-match days per week every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – either 6-Max matches or Heads-Up matches.

The following is the general schedule announced by the GPL:

  • The GPL Regular Season: April 5th, 2016 –September 22nd, 2016 – Three match days per week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • The GPL Summer Series: June 6th, 2016 –July 8th, 2016 – 33 days of daily heads-up battles filmed live on location in GPL’s Las Vegas studio.
  • The GPL Playoffs: (Dates TBA) – The Global Poker League’s Final Eight play for one of four places in the final.
  • The GPL Finals: November 22nd-23rd, 2016 – Live from London at the SSE Arena, Wembley Stadium, where the first ever GPL Champion will be crowned.

Go to for a more detailed schedule.

TPS Poker ChipsAs the season progresses, we’ll do our best to keep you informed about each of the teams so you can begin to identify your favorite team and become a fan. Of course, all the action will be carried online and live-streamed on along with live commentary delivered by online legends Sam Grafton and Griffin Benger. Get on board, poker players! Poker Chips begin flying on Tuesday. It’s going to be an exciting ride.

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Texas Poker StoreQueen of Hearts ParisBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

For someone like me, having sat through 40-plus years of NFL drafts anxiously waiting to see who my favorite team (the NY Giants) drafted, it was particularly enjoyable to watch poker enter what many are calling the next new wave of televised poker. (See my last post here.)

Global Poker League AnalystsThe Global Poker League completed their first-ever Draft yesterday, with each of the 12 Team Managers choosing four players (from the pool of 203 draft-eligible players) for their team. No, it didn’t engender quite the same amount of hype as the NFL draft does, but the League did a heck of a good job for its inaugural season. They live streamed on, had four guest analysts (including The Brat Hellmuth and Kid Poker Negreanu) and each team was put “on the clock” just as they are in the NFL (albeit for only three minutes) with lots of speculation and analysis surrounding each manager’s pick. For poker enthusiasts, it was a taste of the excitement and potential of the team competitions to come.

Team Managers chose in the order that had been determined by lottery last week, which meant that the Rome Emperors had the first round draft pick. The team with the 12th pick, the Hong Kong Stars, however, also had the 13th – the second round went in reverse order to try to be as fair as possible to all teams. The team managers will also add two “wildcard” players in the coming week, although in many cases they will count themselves as one of the wildcards.

Max Pescatori, Manager of the Rome Emperors, made Mustafa Kanit the GPL’s first draft pick , which was pretty much of a no-brainer since Kanit is a fellow Italian and ranks among the top 10 on the GPI.

The following are the 12 teams as they are now constituted after the draft:

Global Poker League


Rome Emperors:
Manager Max Pescatori

  • Mustapha Kanit
  • Dario Sammartino
  • Timothy Adams
  • Walter Treccarichi
Montreal Nationals:
Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur

  • Mike McDonald
  • Martin Jacobson
  • Pascal Lafrancois
  • Xuan Liu
New York Rounders:
Manager Bryn Kenney

  • Jason Mercier
  • Tom Marchese
  • Kevin MacPhee
  • Jason Wheeler
San Francisco Rush:
Manager Faraz Jaka

  • Phil Galfond
  • Anthony Gregg
  • Kitty Kuo
  • Anton Wigg
Las Vegas Moneymakers:
Manager Chris Moneymaker

  • Anthony Zinno
  • Jonathan Duhamel
  • Jake Cody
  • Jonathan Little
Sao Paulo Metropolitans:
Manager Andre Akkari

  • Darren Elias
  • Byron Kaverman
  • Thiago Nishijima
  • Joao Pires Simao
London Royals:
Manager Liv Boeree

  • Igor Kurganov
  • Vanessa Selbst
  • Chris Moorman
  • Justin Bonomo
Moscow Wolverines:
Manager Anatoly Filatov

  • Dzmitry Urbanovich
  • Vladimir Troyanovskiy
  • Andrey Pateychuk
  • Sergey Lebedev
Los Angeles Sunset:
Manager Maria Ho

  • Fedor Holz
  • Olivier Busquet
  • Eugene Katchalov
  • Chance Kornuth
Berlin Bears:
Manager Philipp Gruissem

  • Brian Rast
  • Sorel Mizzi
  • Dominik Nitsche
  • Jeff Gross
Paris Aviators:
Manager Fabrice Soulier

  • Bertrand Grospellier
  • Davidi Kitai
  • George Danzer
  • Mike Leah
Hong Kong Stars:
Manager Celina Lin

  • WeiYi Zhang
  • Raiden Kan
  • Dong Guo
  • Bryan Huang

Handicappers are already looking at the New York Rounders and the London Royals as pulling off the strongest teams. But as we all know, in poker anything can happen, and in team poker who knows? The Texas Poker Store Blog will continue to keep you totally up-to-date about the Global Poker League; in fact, as of now I am considering it my special beat so come back soon!

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