We have heard about the Global Poker League (GPL) from Global Poker Index (GPI) CEO Alexandre Dreyfus before, but really all we have ever heard is that it is part of his plan to “sportify” poker. The GPL was always some blurry thing coming in the future, but never have any details been forthcoming. On Tuesday, though, the GPI, along with Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, issued a press release that shed a light on some of what is to come.
The Global Poker League is slated for the first quarter of 2016 and will feature twelve “franchise” teams representing different cities, just like we see in professional sports leagues. It sounds like the cities could be in flux, but the Americas conference is expected to consist of Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo and Toronto. The Eurasia conference will likely be London, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Hong Kong, and Moscow. Each team will be made up of five players; the first three will be selected via a draft, while the other two will be “Wild Cards.” Only the top 1,000 in the Global Poker Index will be eligible for the draft. No information was given as to how the Wild Cards will be picked.
Those teams will go at it for at least fourteen weeks at a variety of venues which include television studios, online, and live locations. Those locations won’t necessarily be casinos, either. The GPL plans on holding the live poker matches at “iconic venues across the globe” with the GPL World Championships to take place at “one of the most renowned sport and entertainment venues in the USA.”
The competitors will play their little poker games at those live venues in “The Cube,” a 20-foot sound proof transparent cube. We’re not sure why they need to play in a sound proof cube rather than just on a stage, but perhaps it will allow the players to concentrate better, to be more “in the moment” with each other, the dealer, and the cards, while still allowing fans to see what’s going on. Then again, when you’re watching a poker game in person, especially in a large arena it’s not like you can really see what’s happening, anyway. That’s why The Cube will be equipped with all sorts of high definition screens, scoreboards, and lighting. It will be like a concert where you can’t see the performer, but instead just watch him on a gigantic screen.
The live audiences will also be able to see hole cards (ok, that’s probably why The Cube needs to be sound proof). Some games will also stray a bit from the norm in that a 30-40 minute clock will determine the end of the match. The live games will also be partially automated with digital cards and RFID chips.
As for prize money, it will come out of the GPL’s coffers, as it will be derived from various revenue streams such as advertising and merchandise. Players will not have to pay to play.