[CAPTION=100%]The GPL schedule includes the finals in London this November.[/CAPTION]
The Global Poker League is one of the most ambitious poker initiatives launched this year. With the inaugural season kicking off in less than a week, organizers announced the full schedule of events, which includes 15 game weeks, 400+ hours of live streamed content and a two-day final held at The SSE Arena in London at Wembley.
Poker fans will enjoy six months of battles between the league’s 12 teams, with the first live matches taking place on Tuesday, April 5. The season wraps up with a playoff event in North America and culminates with the GPL Finals on November 22-23. The league hopes to capture the attention of some of the world’s 100 million poker fans by streaming events live on Twitch and on GPL.TV.
“While there is a huge existing fan base for poker, it is largely fragmented because of the isolated nature of existing poker initiatives,” said GPL founder Alex Dreyfus. “GPL has an aggressive vision to build new storylines and narratives to engage poker fans with the poker stars playing in the league.”
Season one will unfold in the following four phases:
GPL Regular Season: (April 5-September 22) Matches will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as to not compete with the big weekend games. The contests will be accompanied by an eSports style broadcast, with competitive online matches played out on GPL’s game platform.
GPL Summer Series: (June 6-July 8) This phase includes 33 days of heads-up contests filmed live at GPL’s Las Vegas studio.
GPL Playoffs: (TBD) The league plays down to four places before heading to the finals.
GPL Finals: (November 22-23) The first ever GPL Finals play out live at the SSE Arena in Wembley.
The GPL chose Wembley as its final destination due to London’s international flavor and gaming-friendly setting.
“London gives us the opportunity to build a fully immersive, interactive experience for the GPL Finals thanks to its regulated online sports betting environment,” Dreyfus said. “We are going to connect fans with one another as well as the GPL players at a leading entertainment venue. The experience is more than just ‘sit and watch’ – it’s full engagement.”
Poker presenter and London Royals manager Liv Boeree was equally excited about the location of the finals.
“The SSE Arena has so many great memories for me with all the gigs I’ve seen there, so I’m absolutely chuffed that poker is the first eSports spectator event that will be hosted at this awesome venue,” she said.
Dreyfus created the league after noticing what he believed was a decline in poker entertainment, while at the same time watching the dynamic eSports industry explode. By “shaking up” the game with innovations like The Cube, a soundproof glass box where players will face off in front of a live audience, Dreyfus believes that the game can experience a new surge of popularity.
Tickets for GPL events go on sale in May, with exact dates announced in the near future. You can see the full schedule of events here.