Global Poker League Announces Draft List for Inaugural Season

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After a sign up period in which players could either opt-in to participation in the organization or choose to stay out of the group, the Global Poker League announced earlier today (got to love Europe!) 203 professionals from the 1000 qualified players that will make up the inaugural draft for the GPL’s first season.

In preparing for the draft prior to the American Poker Awards on February 25, GPL founder and Mediarex Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Dreyfus had to gather a stable of players that would commit to participate in the GPL. “The turnout for players signing up for the 2016 GPL Draft was much more than we expected – I see that as a sign of hope,” Dreyfus admitted to’s Giovanni Angioni during the announcement of the roster. “When players unite, they can make a real impact on the growth of poker. We are happy to try and provide a foundation to make that happen.”

The top 1000 players on the Global Poker Index are eligible for drafting by one of the 12 teams that make up the GPL, but that doesn’t mean that everyone wanted to take part in the event. Four of the Top Ten players in the world – including current GPI #1 in the world Steve O’Dwyer, #4 Nicholas Petrangelo, #9 Stephen Chidwick and #10 Connor Drinan – chose not to participate in the inaugural season of the GPL and thus won’t be eligible to be drafted. Others in the Top 25 (players who arguably might make one of the 60 roster spots in the GPL) that have also decided not to participate include Martin Finger (#13 in the GPI), Erik Seidel (#14), Scott Seiver (#18) and Joe Kuether (#20).

Even without these players in the mix, there is still a stellar arrangement of poker professionals in the mix for the 12 teams of the GPL to choose from. Topping the list is 2015 GPI Player of the Year Byron Kaverman (#2 currently in the GPI Top 1000) and the man who challenged him for much of the year for that title, Anthony Zinno (#5). Jason Mercier (#3) and defending World Series of Poker Europe champion Kevin MacPhee (#13) top the powerful roster of U. S. players that will bear consideration for drafting.

There are a strong contingent of European professionals making up the roster of draft-eligible pros, important as the GPL is an international league (the two conferences that make up the GPL are the GPL Americas and the GPL Eurasia). GPI #9 Fedor Holz (Germany) is the top ranked international player that has committed to the GPL, with other international names such as countryman Dominik Nitsche (GPI #13), Poland’s Dzmitry Urbanovich (#16), Canadians Mike McDonald (#18) and Jonathan Duhamel (#21), France’s Benjamin Pollak (#25), Italy’s Mustapha Kanit (#31) and the Ukraine’s Igor Yaroshevskyy (#34) putting their names in the hat for the GPL.

With the field of players now determined for the GPL, it is up to the 12 teams to now get ready for the first round of draft picks. Those teams and their managers – Philipp Gruissem and the Berlin Bears, Celina Lin and the Hong Kong Stars, Maria Ho and the Los Angeles Sunset, Chris Moneymaker and the Las Vegas Moneymakers, Liv Boeree and the London Royals, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and the Montreal Nationals, Anatoly Filatov and the Moscow Wolverines, Bryn Kenney and the New York Rounders, Fabrice Soulier and the Paris Aviators, Max Pescatori and the Rome Emperors, Faraz Jaka and the San Francisco Rush and Andre Akkari and the Sao Paulo Metropolitans – will either figuratively or literally meet on February 25 in Beverly Hills, CA, prior to the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards to choose their first round picks. Now that there’s a list of draft-eligible players, there can be some thoughts as to a “mock draft” for that first round.

Regardless of how the teams will line up to make their selections, the players present their own skills and attributes that could potentially make one more desirable than another. With this in mind, what would a Top 12 list of the best players available in the 2016 GPL Draft look like? We will take on that question tomorrow but, for now, check out the full list of GPL draft-eligible players here.

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