Manager Max Pescatori, Rome Emperors Recipients of Global Poker League #1 Pick



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Earlier this week, the Global Poker League inched ever closer to reality.

In a ceremony broadcast from their studios in Malta, the GPL’s Alexandre Dreyfus and Laura Cornelius hosted the first-ever Draft Lottery for the inaugural season of the league. After the ceremonies were complete, the 12 teams – and poker fans who watched the proceedings – were rewarded with knowing who would pick where come next week.

Before the draft got underway on Tuesday, Dreyfus did announce a change to the format of filling out the teams in the GPL. Previously there were supposed to be three draft rounds but Dreyfus announced that there would be a fourth round added to the action. In addition, another player was added to the one “wild card” that each team CAN (but isn’t required) to pick, making for two players that would fill out the rosters for each team to a maximum of six players, giving the team managers (who are expected to step to the felt themselves) a bit of flexibility when it comes to different competitions.

The Draft Lottery is important because, as GPL commentator Eric Danis pointed out (and any sports fan realizes) the strategy begins when you know the draft order. As the first pick in the draft, you have all the talent at your disposal; when you are at the middle to bottom of the stack, you have to believe that some of the talent that you covet may not be available when your pick comes up. As such, the 12 managers of the teams were watching the lottery not only to see who got the first pick but to see where they would be drawing from.

Dreyfus kicked off the drawing of the eggs (each team’s logo was inside a plastic egg, all of which were the same color), with his pick officially earning the #12 selection in the draft. That would go to the Hong Kong Stars, whose manager Celina Lin will not only have the #12 selection in the draft but will also have the #13 selection (the snake-style draft is done so that, in theory, the talent can be evenly balanced over the entirety of the league). Next drawn out of the kitty by Cornelius was the Paris Aviators in the #11 slot and Dreyfus followed that up with the third straight GPL Eurasia team, the Berlin Bears, in the #10 pick.

GPL Eurasia continued to have a bit of misfortune in the early going as their fourth team, the Moscow Wolverines, ended up with the #8 pick in the draft after the Los Angeles Sunset were chosen in the #9 slot. Once the Wolverines were off the board, that left only the Rome Emperors and the London Royals with a shot at working their way into the top half of the draft. The Royals came off the board next (drawn by Cornelius), sealing them in the #7 slot, and now only the Emperors were left to fend off the rest of the GPL Americas entries.

It was another international team that came off in the #6 slot, but it was a GPL Americas team. The Sao Paulo Metropolitans picked up the #6 slot and were followed by the Las Vegas Moneymakers in slot #5. After Dreyfus drew the San Francisco Rush in #4 and Cornelius chose the New York Rounders for the #3 pick in the draft, it was down to the Toronto Nationals and the Rome Emperors for the #1 pick; once Dreyfus opened the egg and revealed the Nationals’ logo, the Rome Emperors had earned the #1 pick in the 2016 GPL Draft.

For Rounds 1 and 3 of the 2016 GPL Draft, the teams will choose in this order:

Rome Emperors
Toronto Nationals
New York Rounders
San Francisco Rush
Las Vegas Moneymakers
Sao Paulo Metropolitans
London Royals
Moscow Wolverines
Los Angeles Sunset
Berlin Bears
Paris Aviators
Hong Kong Stars

And in Rounds 2 and 4, the teams will choose in this order:

Hong Kong Stars
Paris Aviators
Berlin Bears
Los Angeles Sunset
Moscow Wolverines
London Royals
Sao Paulo Metropolitans
Las Vegas Moneymakers
San Francisco Rush
New York Rounders
Toronto Nationals
Rome Emperors

And remember, there’s still those “wild card” players that can be chosen by the manager. The “wild cards” have to either be on the list of the 203 players who declared for the GPL draft or a “celebrity” (think football legend Neymar, who has demonstrated a zeal for poker and actually has a sponsorship with PokerStars) for which special consideration might be granted.

Emperors manager Max Pescatori is now facing a tough decision when it comes to that first pick next Thursday in the GPL First Round of the draft. Does he go with one of his fellow countrymen – someone along the lines of Mustapha Kanit or Dario Sammartino – or does he look outside his country’s borders and pick the best player available with the #1 overall pick? Poker News Daily has run the “mock draft” and, although Kanit is tough to overlook, Jason Mercier has the greatest success over the past five years (or so), making him arguably the best pick to anchor a team.

We’ll learn the decision from Pescatori on Thursday at 2PM (Pacific Time) when he and the other 11 managers for the teams will make their First Round draft picks known. Those proceedings will be broadcast on the GPL’s Twitch channel prior to the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

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