Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris
I hadn’t heard much about the Global Poker League lately. (And then, almost as if they knew I was about to publish this blog, there were GPL sightings TODAY on Facebook, plus updates to their website – finally!) I found the paucity of information somewhat surprising, considering the two-and- a-half-month break between their Summer Series and the second half of their season. I thought it would be an ideal time to fix some of the things Alex Dreyfus had said needed fixing.
In fact, in his wrap-up of the first half of the season, Dreyfus said that they needed to:
- Revamp the website (I’ve been saying that for months)
- Improve the mobile app
- Create drama by increasing the “character dynamics” and focusing more on the players’ personalities and less on the game – create WWE-esque narratives
- Connect more with casual fans and grass-roots players
- Provide GPL branded merchandise
- Consider possible partnerships with key online poker rooms (social, free-to-play and real money offers)
Dreyfus wrapped up his post by advising all GPL fans to get ready for some “transformative changes and risk taking.”
Nevertheless, although I kept checking, the only changes I was able to discover were the facts that the Playoffs, originally scheduled for TwitchCon in San Diego, as well as the Finals, originally set to be held at Wembley Arena in London, would instead take place in The Cube at the GPL Vegas-based TV studio.
Clearly, it seems that the entrepreneur, rather than taking big risks, has been focused on tamping down expectations for the remainder of this first year. But, as always, there is a method behind the madness/genius of Alex Dreyfus.
In a terrific podcast, our all-time favorite, Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, interviewed Dreyfus, giving us all a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the entrepreneur from Malta.
In a nutshell, Dreyfus made it clear that his thinking has been long-term since he first bought the Global Poker Index (GPI). His vision, to establish a neutral and independent ranking system for poker, paid off.
As for his vision for the GPL, in the short-term Dreyfus is proud of the fact that they launched successfully and managed to get 72 of the best players in the world to play online for the new league. He’s proud of some of the innovations put in place, like the web-cams and The Cube.
But he’s not interested in short-term profits or putting on anything less than a great show. His long-term vision is a multi-continent league with four different conferences, and a predominantly digital platform to capture millennials. He seems certain that the game of poker HAS to change, has to engage new fans. Ultimately, predicts Dreyfus, although he will no longer own it, the GPL will grow in the hands of a leading sports marketing company. His goal is to do everything in his power to make the League last long enough for that to happen.
For now, I’m going to trust Alexandre Dreyfus and wish the GPL luck in their upcoming second season, beginning on September 20th!