GPL Summer Series Heat 1: Aaron Paul Makes Debut

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The 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is well underway in at the Rio in Las Vegas and of course, that is going to be the talk of the poker world for much of this summer. Not to be forgotten, though, is the Global Poker League, which began its Summer Series last week with Heat 1, live at the GPL studios in Vegas.

The Summer Series is similar to the heads-up rounds of the GPL’s regular season, except that, as mentioned, these contests are held live. As most professional poker players are in town for the WSOP or at least part of it, the Global Poker League took this portion of the poker calendar is a great opportunity to get the competitors out from behind the safety of their computer screens and in front of each other for the one-on-one matches. Also in contrast to the regular season, these matches are inter-conference, pitting a team from one conference against a team from the other.

The highlight of the GPL Summer Series Heat 1 was the debut of actor Aaron Paul, best known for his
Emmy Award-winning portrayal of Jesse Pinkman in the decorated AMC television series, “Breaking Bad.” Paul was the only non-poker pro to be selected for one of the GPL’s twelve teams, chosen by LA Sunset manager Maria Ho as one of her Wild Card picks. His selection was clearly a PR move, but it is not like Ho can just hide him and let the other members of her team carry him along. Each player must play in a minimum number of contests during the season, so it was inevitable that Paul would have to put his poker skills to the test at some point.

Paul played in the very first heads-up contest of the Summer Series for the LA Sunset, pitted against the manager of the Paris Aviators, Fabrice Soulier. Their match marked the first appearance of The Cube on a GPL broadcast; the two men were isolated from the rest of the broadcast studio in the huge plexiglass box. Rather than sit at a poker table with a live dealer, Paul and Soulier stood facing each other, each with a pedestal-mounted tablet in front of them with which they could interact in order to see their hole cards and input their bets. Also in between them were two monitors that displayed the community cards.

It what was perhaps a surprise, Aaron Paul took two out of three games from Fabrice Soulier, earning six points for his team. Soulier earned three points for his lone win. The first two games were decided fairly quickly, as neither lasted more than 50 hands, but the rubber match dragged on, requiring 109 hands before Paul wrapped it up.

There were two clean sweeps last week: Montreal’s Martin Jacobson won all three games against Hong Kong’s Randy Lew and Sao Paolo’s Felipe Ramos earned nine points against Berlin’s Jeff Gross. Additionally, the Americas Conference won every match last week.

GPL Summer Series Heat 1 Results

LA Sunset (Aaron Paul) 6, Paris Aviators (Fabrice Soulier) 3
San Francisco Rush (Jonathan Jaffe) 6, Moscow Wolverines (Dzmitry Urbanovich) 3
Las Vegas Moneymakers (Scott Ball) 6, London Royals (Chris Moorman) 3
Montreal Nationals (Martin Jacobson) 9, Hong Kong Stars (Randy Lew) 0
Sao Paolo Mets (Felipe Ramos) 9, Berlin Bears (Jeff Gross) 0
New York Rounders (Kevin MacPhee) 6, Rome Emperors (Timothy Adams) 3

Global Poker League Standings

Americas Conference

Montreal Nationals – 115 points
LA Sunset – 101 points
New York Rounders – 93 points
Sao Paolo Mets – 91 points
San Francisco Rush – 75 points
Las Vegas Moneymakers – 71 points

Eurasia Conference

London Royals – 100 points
Moscow Wolverines – 95 points
Hong Kong Stars – 91 points
Paris Aviators – 89 points
Berlin Bears – 74 points
Rome Emperors – 66 points

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