GPL: Rome Emperors Select Mustapha Kanit #1 Overall in Draft


Mustapha Kanit was the first player selected in the Global Poker League draft

Mustapha Kanit is one helluva poker player. As of Thursday afternoon, he’s also the answer to a future trivia question.

Who was the first player selected to play in the Global Poker League?

Kanit went first overall to the Rome Emperors on Thursday as the GPL held their inaugural draft at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Kanit was one of 48 players chosen by the 12 GPL team managers on Thursday.

The second overall pick went to the Montreal Nationals, managed by Marc-Andre Ladouceur. While most observers expected the Nationals to draft fellow French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel, Ladouceur took a different approach and instead chose Mike McDonald.

Other players chosen in the first round include Jason Mercier, Phil Galfond and Fedor Holz. Mercier was one of few draftees in attendance and was quick to thank his new manager, Bryn Kenney, and the GPL.

“Being a professional poker player is a great honor and we need to be great ambassadors to the game and this is a great opportunity for all of us,” said Mercier.

Complete First Round Selections

  • Rome Emperors: Mustapha Kanit
  • Montreal Nationals: Mike McDonald
  • New York Rounders: Jason Mercier
  • San Francisco Rush: Phil Galfond
  • Las Vegas Moneymakers: Anthony Zinno
  • Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Darren Elias
  • London Royals: Igor Kurganov
  • Moscow Wolverines: Dzmitry Urbanovich
  • L.A. Sunset: Fedor Holz
  • Berlin Bears: Brian Rast
  • Paris Aviators: Bertrand Grospellier
  • Hong Kong Stars: Weiyi Zhang

The second round began with Hong Kong Stars manager Celina Lin drafting Hong Kong pro Raiden Kan. All four of Lin’s picks were players with strong ties to the Chinese or Hong Kong poker community. While managers were encouraged to draft players with connections to their city, Lin was the only manager to do so.

The London Royals drafted Vanessa Selbst 18th overall and 2014 WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson went 23rd overall to the Nationals. The Emperors closed the round by drafting another Italian, Dario Sammartino.

Complete Second Round Selections

  • Hong Kong Stars: Raiden Kan
  • Paris Aviators: Davidi Kitai
  • Berlin Bears: Sorel Mizzi
  • L.A. Sunset: Olivier Busquet
  • Moscow Wolverines: Vladimir Troyanovskiy
  • London Royals: Vanessa Selbst
  • Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Byron Kaverman
  • Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jonathan Duhamel
  • San Francisco Rush: Anthony Gregg
  • New York Rounders: Thomas Marchese
  • Montreal Nationals: Martin Jacobson
  • Rome Emperors: Dario Sammartino

After drafting Italian pros with his first two picks, Pescatori went a different direction with the first pick of the third round. Pescatori added Canadian pro Timothy Adams to his roster. Rounders manager Bryn Kenney was able to add one of his good friends to his team with the 27th overall pick, Kevin MacPhee.

Online poker’s all-time leading money winner, Chris Moorman, also heard his name called in the third round. London Royals manager Liv Boeree drafted Moorman 31st overall.

Complete Third Round Selections

  • Rome Emperors: Timothy Adams
  • Montreal Nationals: Pascal Lafrancois
  • New York Rounders: Kevin MacPhee
  • San Francisco Rush: Kitty Kuo
  • Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jake Cody
  • Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Thiago Nishijima
  • London Royals: Chris Moorman
  • Moscow Wolverines: Andrey Pateychuk
  • L.A. Sunset: Eugene Katchalov
  • Berlin Bears: Dominik Nitsche
  • Paris Aviators: George Danzer
  • Hong Kong Stars: Dong Guo

The fourth and final round started with a quick change in the formalities. Managers were originally told they could defer their fourth pick and instead be given an extra Wildcard selection to use in Season 1. After a meeting with all managers, it was determined that all teams would draft a fourth player to fill out their initial roster.

After Lin finished her team by drafting Bryan Huang, the Paris Aviators took Canadian Mike Leah and the Berlin Bears drafted Jeff Gross. Other big names added to teams in the fourth round include Chance Kornuth, Justin Bonomo, Joao Pires Simao and Jonathan Little.

Complete Fourth Round Selections

  • Hong Kong Stars: Bryan Huang
  • Paris Aviators: Mike Leah
  • Berlin Bears: Jeff Gross
  • L.A. Sunset: Chance Kornuth
  • Moscow Wolverines: Sergey Lebedev
  • London Royals: Justin Bonomo
  • Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Joao Pires Simao
  • Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jonathan Little
  • San Francisco Rush: Anton Wigg
  • New York Rounders: Jason Wheeler
  • Montreal Nationals: Xuan Liu
  • Rome Emperors: Walter Treccarichi