GPI Founder Alex Dreyfus Announces Global Poker League

Updated: November 11th, 2014 by Dev Ops

Alex Dreyfus, founder of the well-received Global Poker Index, has announced a new poker-league creation with the founding of the Global Poker League (GPL).  Dreyfus has grand plans for his new GPL, which he announced in a “blog”-style format to selected poker media (below), with his expressed hope that his new creation can successfully fill poker’s potential “league”-style market niche, where other before him have tried and failed.

GPL-Logo-300x198Dreyfus is no stranger at all to one of those league-format failures, that being the remarkable crash and bankruptcy of the Jeffrey Pollack / Annie Duke venture, the Epic Poker League.  Dreyfus’s original GPI was launched in conjunction with the 2011 launch of the EPL, though by early 2012, the EPL and its parent company, Federated Sports and Gaming, had squandered millions in venture capital and had its remaining assets sold at bankruptcy auction.

Only two poker entities survived their association with the old EPL: the Heartland Poker Tour, which nearly collapsed itself under the weight of the EPL’s debt and money siphoning, but which has since been stabilized by new owner Pinnacle Entertainment, and the autonomous GPI, which has since then been re-steered by Dreyfus into a position of general industry respect.

Dreyfus has then added other offerings to his the product family of his firm, Zokay Entertainment, such as poker-themed fantasy sports product, Fantasy Poker Manager.  For Dreyfus, launching the Global Poker League, which is intended as a follow-up to his ongoing Global Poker Masters tournaments, closes the circle.

Calling the new Global Poker League part of an ongoing push to “sportify” poker, Dreyfus envisions his participating Global Poker League teams as being drawn from the rankings of players in his various GPI rankings, supplemented by wild-card and independent entries.  The idea is to produce a name-heavy, marketable poker product, which was also one of the goals of the old EPL — though that Pollack/Duke venture failed in the execution.

Here’s hoping Dreyfus and his new GPL fare better, and here’s Dreyfus’s own words on what the GPL is and how he hopes it will create its own audience within the poker world:

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Blog : The Global Poker League, next piece in the puzzle to Sportify Poker

It’s been two years since I began developing the Global Poker Index into a startup capable of being one of the central pieces within the worldwide poker Ecosystem. It’s been an ambitious investment, an entrepreneurial dream, and a leap of faith – in short, a long journey. Yet the further I go, the more I realize we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible in this space – and it makes the whole adventure that much more exciting.

Rankings

What started with the GPI World Player Rankings – made to define Poker’s best live tournament players – and after only a few years achieved the one thing you can’t buy: genuine legitimacy. Its served as the backbone for everything that came next.

Fantasy Sports

We turned to social media, developing Fantasy Poker Manager; a free-to-play social game that gave casual fans a place to follow poker in an engaging new way, promoting players and events the same way conventional Sports’ social media assets do.

Awards

GPI also acquired the European Poker Awards, launched the American Poker Awards – and connected them via an industry wide Global Poker Conference with stages at both ceremonies. These platforms promote Poker in an inclusive and sportified environment.

Sports Formatted Events

These initiatives are powerful, but not enough to achieve the end goal: to Sportify Poker in full. The missing piece? ‘Sports formatted’ poker events controlled and run by GPI. Fully sportified events that exist in a larger framework – a league – with no gambling and the power to attract mainstream digital sports and news media.

World Cup

Our Global Poker Masters (GPM) is a first step. Labelled “Poker’s World Cup” and slated to be held in early 2015, GPM brings the top eight Poker Countries in the world together to compete. With five elite national players per team GPM will be livestreamed internationally across dozens of prominent sports sites. We have clear precedents – Tennis has the Davis Cup, Football has the World Cup, and Poker has the Global Poker Masters. On a personal level I can’t wait to see what happens when ‘Team France’ runs into ‘Team USA’.

Professional League

Our next step in 2015 is to launch the last piece of the GPI puzzle – the Global Poker League (GPL). It’s our most ambitious (read: risky) project to date and one capable of creating uniquely sportified poker content build for mainstream digital sports and news media.

GPL will be Poker’s professional league. The initial vision is to have a series of live events akin to a sports season co-hosted by international poker events, with between six to eight different franchises (poker teams) competing against one another with initial seasons lasting a short three to four months. Unlike the Global Poker Masters – where teams are comprised of each Nation’s top 5 available players – GPL teams will consist of “draftable” players from GPI’s Rankings and wildcard entries. I’ve already presented this concept, and terms for participation, to a number of prospective future team owners. It’s been an extremely positive experience – reception has been warm across the board and we’ve already had a number of commitments from intrigued future ‘franchise’ owners. Commitments from leading figures from both in front of and behind the felt are rolling in too.

>> www.globalpokerleague.com

Vision

Tie all of these things together, and you have GPI’s grand vision – rankings, connected to digital sports distribution, Poker’s World Cup in the form of GPM, a professional league with GPL, fan engagement via Fantasy Poker Manager, with Awards and Industry conferences as added threads.

In short – a new authority, sports vertical, and a fully realized marketing vehicle for the world’s live poker ecosystem. One that doesn’t compete with any existing poker stakeholders but rather empowers them to grow alongside.We want to create a new overarching layer to this industry capable of serving the poker space as a whole.

The most important thing now is execution. Its a matter of building out and marketing all of these initiatives at the right time, and I believe that time is now.

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