Alex Dreyfus on the Global Poker League: “I Know It Sounds Impossible”

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In what was a wide-ranging three-hour discussion, the Chief Executive Officer of Mediarex Sports & Entertainment and the man behind the Global Poker Index, Alex Dreyfus (pictured), offered his vision to a few hundred video conference attendees on Twitch. That vision? “Sportifying” poker through what Dreyfus is calling the Global Poker League. Check out Part 1and Part 2 of the discussion.

The first hour and fifteen minutes was Dreyfus detailing much of what he has previously said in other outlets and press releases. Testing out the philosophies through the Global Poker Masters, which held its first competition earlier this year, Dreyfus believes that the next step, the Global Poker League, “will duplicate the success of the Masters into a year-round event.”

“What we want is to create an experience where the fans – not the players – are engaged with it,” Dreyfus said in the video presentation. “The only way to do that is to create storylines that last some time.”

With this in mind, Dreyfus envisioned the Global Poker League. Through a 12-week regular season, the GPL will feature 12 teams divided into two conferences. Six of those teams will make up GPL Americas – Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Sao Paulo – with the other six – London, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Barcelona, and Hong Kong – making up GPL EurAsia. “These cities were chosen because they are good markets, plenty of marketing possibilities,” Dreyfus noted.

The teams will feature owners, who were not revealed during the Q&A period but are expected to be “businessmen, hedge fund managers, and sports owners” that will make an initial two-year commitment. The owners will “draft” three players from the GPI 1000. There will be two “wild card” slots for each team, once again the choice of the owner, to fill out the five-man roster. “This provides a sport element to the proceedings,” Dreyfus said.

Dreyfus provided a timeline for the inaugural GPL season. The teams will be assembled between December 2015 and February 2016, with the first six weeks of the first GPL season to start thereafter. After a week’s break, the second six weeks of the regular season will be contested before the GPL takes a hiatus for the 2016 World Series of Poker.

Following the break, the top two Americas teams and the top two EurAsia teams will meet in what Dreyfus calls an “iconic” live setting to determine the Conference Champions and, eventually, the World Champion of the Global Poker League.

The league will play in three different formats – online, in a “studio” arena, and in a “live” format – and will also play “innovative” forms of poker that will force the action. While playing in “The Cube” (pictured), an isolation booth, the players will stand, allowing for sponsorship sales on their backs as the fans watch. “We’re making this experience a better one for the viewers, allowing for excitement during the event,” Dreyfus believes.

As to how the fans are going to be able to watch the action, Twitchwas a featured member of the broadcasting group. Dreyfus did not give any further details as to traditional cable or television broadcast companies that may join the GPL team and Dreyfus also held out the possibility that there could be a syndication element.

The Q&A that followed Dreyfus’ presentation touched on many different subjects, including player compensation, security of the games in non-casino venues, and the potential for a GPL event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Dreyfus attempted to be as forthcoming with information as possible, but with the GPL in its infancy, there is still much that isn’t figured out.

With this said, Dreyfus is aware of how difficult it will be to put everything together regarding the GPL. “I know it sounds impossible, every step seems as if it is impossible,” he stated. “But we are going to experiment and sometimes we will fail. But we will find what works to make the GPL an exciting endeavor.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. As much as we’d like to consider poker a sport, it has nothing in common with sports as sports are defined as forms of competitive physical activity. Poker has already so many outlets where one can prove or improve their skills – including all sorts of WPT, EPT, WCOOP and WSOP events – why bother with trying to make it into something that it is not? I believe the general population will see no interest in watching a bunch of folks in a cage eagerly waiting for the next “money” card to be dealt – no matter how flashy and colourful one … makes the cage. I mean, sure, other poker players may be interested – but your average john / jane doe who enjoy going for a baseball, football or basketball game will have 0 interest in this me-thinks….. and if they do than what we believe in Europe: you can sell anything to Americans – will truly be proven.