Global Poker League Finale to Light Up Iconic Wembley Venue

April 3rd, 2016 | by Kaycee James
GPL final to take place inside Wembley's SSE Arena.

The inaugural Global Poker League champions will be crowned inside Wembley’s famous SSE Arena. (Image: ALAMY)

The Global Poker League (GPL) is set to get underway on April 5 and after 19 weeks of action the inaugural tournament series will conclude with a finale inside London’s SSE Arena, Wembley.

Announcing the latest details of the series earlier this week, the GPL’s Alex Dreyfus informed the community that the centerpiece of his idea will take place at Wembley SSE Arena; a venue which has previously housed NHL, UFC and NBA events.

Known as one of the top arenas in Europe, Wembley appears to be a fitting venue for an event Dreyfus believes will cause a seismic shift from poker being a player orientated experience to a “fan experience.”

72 of the Best to Compete 

Following the GPL’s February draft that saw the 12 franchise captains pick four players each from a roster of 203 eligible pros, the full schedule of events has now been released.

With one wildcard pick for each franchise remaining, the likes of Sam Trickett have recently been drafted in by London Royals leader Liv Boeree, which means we’ll eventually see 72 players compete in various events between April 5 and November 22.

As well as announcing the date and venue of the first ever GPL finale, Dreyfus also outlined the overall dynamics of the series:

  • The GPL Regular Season: 5th April 2016 – 22nd September 2016 – Three match days per week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • The GPL Summer Series: 6th June 2016 – 8th July 2016 – 33 days of daily heads-up battles filmed live on location in Las Vegas.
  • The GPL Playoffs: (Dates TBA) – The Global Poker League’s surviving eight play for one of four places in the final.
  • The GPL Final: 22nd-23rd November 2016 – Live from London at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

A Battle of Nations

The first match will be a six-max online battle on Tuesday April 5 at 12pm EST between representatives from the Hong Kong Stars, the Moscow Wolverines, the Berlin Bears, the Paris Aviators, the Rome Emperors and the London Royals.

Following the initial match, the 12 franchises from Eurasia and the Americas compete in a series of one-on-one showdowns between April 6 and 7 before week 2’s battles kick off on April 12.

In total, the GPL will produce more than 400 hours of footage which will be streamed across a variety of mediums, including: Amazon Fire, XBOX, Twitch and PokerCentral.

To add a final sprinkle of production value to the event, Dreyfus also announced that tournament pros Sam Grafton (from England) and Griffin Benger (from Canada) will provide live commentary for every match.

Although he acknowledged that the first season will likely include a number of failures, Dreyfus is hopeful that his product can increase the overall appeal of poker and attract a wave of new fans and investors.

“While there is a huge existing fan base for poker, it is largely fragmented because of the isolated nature of existing poker initiatives. GPL has an aggressive vision to build new storylines and narratives to engage poker fans with the poker stars playing in the league,” said Dreyfus.

To check out the full GPL schedule, click here.

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