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[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.
[caption width="640"] Randy Lew earned a full nine points for the Hong Kong Stars this week.[/caption] It was a week of sweeps in Heat II of the cross conference Global Poker League Summer Series from the Cube in Las Vegas. Players are seemingly getting used to the feel of playing in the venue, and fans are warming to the concept of standing play inside of the Cube. Las Vegas Moneymakers (Jonathan Little) defeat Paris Aviators (Mike Leah) 2-1 In the first of a double header of matches in the second week of cross conference competition, Jonathan Little was hoping to overtake the San Francisco Rush at the bottom of the Americas Conference. After a failed hero call by Mike Leah with pocket eights against Little’s kings, Leah lost the opening match, but stormed back to win the second when he rivered a straight, with the same card giving Little two pair. There was a fast start to the third game, with the Las Vegas Moneymakers eventually securing the win. Montreal Nationals (Marc-Andre Ladouceur) defeat Moscow Wolverines (Igor Yaroshevsky) 2-1 The second match saw the leaders of the Americas Conference taking on the Moscow Wolverines. Marc-Andre Ladouceur was looking to reestablish their lead at the top of the conference, after the Las Vegas Moneymakers closed the gap in the earlier game. Despite Igor Yaroshevsky winning the opening game, Ladouceur rallied to win the second two, and maintain their position atop the Americas conference. Sao Paulo Metropolitans (Thiago Nishijima) defeat London Royals (Justin Bonomo) 3-0 Justin Bonomo finished second for a WSOP bracelet earlier in the week and was looking to put that ghost to rest here in this match. However, it was not to be, with Thiago Nishijima putting in an outstanding performance, winning all three matches, including house over house in the second, to close the gap to second place LA Sunset. The Royals failed to take advantage of the Wolverines’ defeat the previous day. Hong Kong Stars (Randy Lew) defeat New York Rounders (Jason Wheeler) 3-0 Randy Lew’s performance last week in the Cube was disastrous, as he was swept by 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson. This week he rebounded though to sweet Jason Wheeler 3-0. The first match was over within two hands, and this sweep was the first win by a Eurasian Conference side in the Summer Series so far. The Hong Kong Stars drew level with the London Royals in their conference with this result. LA Sunset (Fedor Holz) defeat Berlin Bears (Sorel Mizzi) 3-0 Fedor Holz was up against the Berlin Bears’ Sorel Mizzi, no stranger to fighting one-on-one with another player after his MMA antics earlier this year. It was Holz’s aggression which held sway in this match, outperforming Mizzi in each match until he emerged as a 3-0 winner. The LA Sunset cut the gap to first by three points in the Americas conference. Rome Emperors (Timothy Adams) defeat San Francisco Rush (Phil Galfond) 2-1 The final match of the week saw the Rome Emperors take on the San Francisco Rush. Both teams are struggling in their respective conferences, and it was a real battle for both players. Timothy Adams won both the first and second games of this match, and Phil Galfond was lucky to avoid a sweep as he took at least three points from this match by winning the third match. The Rome Emperors closed the gap to the Berlin Bears at the bottom of their conference to two points, as the San Francisco Rush were overtaken by the Las Vegas Moneymakers in theirs. MVP Randy Lew’s performance last week was below the standard of which the GPL audience has grown accustomed to, and this week he showed why he should still be considered one of the top players in the league, by dispatching Jason Wheeler 3-0. The Week Ahead The Eurasian Teams will be trying to improve on the 2/12 record they have from the cross conference matches so far. There will be a top meets top clash between the Montreal Nationals and the London Royals to see who will come out on top there. Meanwhile LA Sunset will look to keep the pressure on the Nationals as they face off against struggling Rome Emperors. Week 3 Summer Series Schedule Moscow Wolverines vs. Las Vegas Moneymakers Sau Paulo Metropolitans vs. Hong Kong Stars (double-header) New York Rounders vs. Berlin Bears LA Sunset vs. Rome Emperors San Francisco Rush vs. Paris Aviators