Global Poker League Intent on Making Poker a Sport

November 10th, 2014 | by Brian Corlisse
GPI announces Global Poker League

Alex Dreyfus of the GPI plans to “sportify” poker in 2015 with the Global Poker League. (Image: GPI)

The Global Poker League could do for poker what the Justice League did for superheroes: legitimize the concept.

At least that’s the theory behind the Global Poker Index’s Alex Dreyfus thought process, who recently claimed that he wanted to “sportify” poker. Intent on changing the public’s perception of the game and legitimize it as a skillful endeavor, Dreyfus recently bolstered his efforts with the announcement of the Global Poker League.

After two years of refining the GPI’s tournament ranking system and adding various products to his poker arsenal, such as Fantasy Poker Manager, Dreyfus is now planning to launch a new product that will help create a series of events that will be based on a sports format.

Professional Approach to Poker

According to a press release posted on the GPI’s website, the Global Poker Masters (GPM) will be the first step in creating a “World Cup”-style MTT that will give some of the game’s finest grinders a chance to represent their countries.

Using the GPM as a platform, the GPI will then present the Global Poker League to the world. Although the structure for the professional league hasn’t yet been formalized, Dreyfus has stated that the initial vision is to host a “series of live events akin to a sports season co-hosted by international poker events.”

While this concept doesn’t seem to be anything too radical, the second component to the GPI’s “ambitious” plan is the one that’s the most intriguing. Taking part in the series of tournaments will be between six and eight “franchises.” Instead of each franchise (read: poker team) consisting of the top MTT grinders from each nation, there will be a “draft” process that includes seeded pros and “wildcard” players.

Emulating the NHL

Similar to the process major sports teams from the NFL and NBA go through each season, the franchise teams will have an owner. According to Dreyfus, he’s already presented the idea to a number of prospective future owners who’ve responded positively to the concept.

So what’s the point of all this? As Dreyfus sees it, in order for the industry to grow, it needs to become a sporting enterprise and that’s the goal of his latest projects.

“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,” wrote Dreyfus.

Quite how the Global Poker League will look when it eventually launches remains to be seen, but so far the concept has already caught the attention of the community, including the likes of Dan Fleyshman who tweeted that he knows a guy who “might want to sponsor” a team.

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