Alex Dreyfus, the CEO of the Global Poker Index, has launched a withering attack on Betclic Everest for refusing to allow its sponsored players to compete in his forthcoming GPI Global Poker Masters event.
The sticking point is that they will not be permitted to wear sticky patches bearing the logo of their sponsors.
The Global Poker Masters is part of Dreyfus’ grand plan to “sportify” poker, a long-term vision that he hopes will ignite a second poker boom, and he’s infuriated that Betclic has thrown a spanner in the works.
Billed as the “World Cup for poker,” the Masters is the first foray into tournament hosting for the player ranking website, which lists the top live tournament players over a 36-month period using its own patented points system.
The tournament will be a $10,000 buy-in invitational, the culmination of the year-long player of the year points race which will take in the world’s top poker countries, as well the top players from each country.
Except that the five-man French Team, selected on merit, will be decimated by the intransigence of Betclic Everest, a French company, which is refusing to allow Benjamin Pollack and Frabrice Soulier to take part.
It’s an attitude that, according to Dreyfus, qualifies the company for the “Absurd” award at the forthcoming FrancePokerAwards, which unfortunately for Betclic Everest, is also owned by Dreyfus.
Dreyfus chose to vent his spleen, in French, on the French-facing poker forum ClubPoker.Net. “For almost three years now I have tried to create an initiative, a dynamic, to revive media interest in poker, as much in France as in (most) of the rest of the world,” he pleaded. “To that end, I bought a few companies, the GPI, HendonMob, EuropeanPokerAwards and the FrancePokerAwards.
I launched FantasyPokerManager (now with 100,000 players), and ultimately two large projects: the Global Poker Masters, and Global Poker League.
“The idea is to “sportify” poker; to popularize the game; to invigorate it and trigger a boom. Only innovation, risk-taking and disruption will do that. It is a long journey, for two or three years minimum. It is a long-term vision.
“This vision is shared almost players … around the world, as well as the poker media, and other leading groups in the world of media and sport, as you’ll see in a few weeks … I didn’t not count on the French “idiocracy.” I, who left France eight years ago, found myself this week in a ridiculous situation that hurts and saddens me.”
Dreyfus accuses Betclic Everest of descending into “childish bickering” and its management of choosing to defend their jobs instead of encouraging French poker, which he says needs to be united.
He also explains that he is has no commercial agreements with online gaming sponsors because the idea is to try to create a “first edition” that will attract non-gaming sponsors in the future.
“Managers of [Betclic Everest] simply cut two of the best players from the France team because they could not accept (unlike Winamax, PMU or Pokerstars) to see their players represent France for two days without a 5cm2 their logo on their chest. This reduces the team’s chances of winning and that’s a shame.
“I remain French, nonetheless,” he added defiantly.
The Global Poker Masters will run, with or without Betclic Everest, from March 21 to 22.