Chris Moneymaker, the man who sparked the poker boom when he won the 2003 WSOP Main Event, will be hoping his profile has the same effect on the soon-to-be-launched Global Poker League.
For much of 2015, Global Poker Index (GPI) CEO Alex Dreyfus dropped hints about his latest project, the Global Poker League (GPL).
Designed to be a media-friendly event that could “change the way we see poker,” according to those involved, the GPL will see 12 franchise teams compete in a series of tournaments spread over 14 weeks.
Although the full details of the new event have been kept under wraps by Dreyfus, he did announce that each tournament will feature “The Cube,” a specially designed stage that will offer an all-round entertainment experience for those watching live, online, and on TV.
To build up the anticipation even more, Dreyfus announced this week that the first franchise would be the Las Vegas Moneymakers, a name made in marketing heaven. The team will be overseen by Chris Moneymaker, of course.
On top of that announcement, it was also explained that the GPL will go live on February 25th, and that over the next week or so, the other 11 teams will be announced.
Following the news, Moneymaker took to Twitter to explain that he’s looking forward to being part of the new project.
“@CMONEYMAKER: This will be a fun adventure!!!” the WSOP champ tweeted.
Since taking control of the GPI, Dreyfus has sought to legitimize poker as a skillful endeavor through a combination of tournament rankings and innovations. Operating under the mantra “we sportify poker,” Dreyfus believes that he can make poker as much of a spectacle as other competitive sports.
In fact, in recent months he’s compared poker to the booming video game industry, where thousands of people now pay an entry fee to watch the top pros compete for big money prizes.
“Just think about this: If people pay to watch video games, why wouldn’t they pay to follow a spectacular poker game? You just have to make sure you do not offer the poker we know today. You need to offer something different from the WSOP, the WPT, or the EPT,” explained Dreyfus.
While the debate over poker’s status as a sport is one that continues to divide the industry, Dreyfus will be hoping that Moneymaker’s presence can draw in casual poker fans who may still hark back to the golden era of online poker, only twelve brief years ago.