Carl Pion: The Visionary Behind Global Poker Link

Carl Pion: The Visionary Behind Global Poker Link

Lee Davy sits down with Carl Pion, founder of Global Poker Link, a poker network with a social integration, and a man with a lot of plans for the betterment of the poker community.

Carl Pion: The Visionary Behind Global Poker LinkOn the face of it, it’s just a card game, but when you sit down and play that first hand, it becomes so much more. It has a vice like grip with satin hands. You love it. You can’t stop thinking about it.

Carl Pion knows this. His neck has felt the tightness of those same satin hands. Fortunately, for us, Carl Pion is a very smart and inquisitive man. He is on a journey to make sure that we are never too far away from our poker fix.

I sat down with him to talk about his latest project: Global Poker Link.

This is what he had to say.

Who is Carl Pion?

“I am an entrepreneur at heart. I have been involved in the business world for over 35 years, and between 1994 and 2010 I owned and operated two successful apparel companies out of Toronto. In 2004, I started playing poker competitively. I love the game, and I am extremely passionate about it. There is nothing I like doing more competitively, and I think I did a pretty decent job at it earning $140k playing recreationally on the live circuit. And since I rarely play online, I know I am a winning player.

“As a serial entrepreneur I am always looking for opportunities in the market. And I prefer to call myself a low level visionary. I find ways into the market with something new, or something that’s missing, and that’s where the idea for Global Poker Link started.”

How does an idea germinate into a business?

“There is a big difference between someone who has a vision, and someone who turns a vision into actuality. Everyone wants to be a business owner. In order to be one, you have to understand almost every facet of business. You need to understand what it takes to make money, and to lose it. It’s a very rare case where someone starts out and doesn’t lose money. You need to get used to this, and you need to be mentally and physically prepared.

“I started my apparel business because I found the holes in the market. I kept thinking: “How could I do it better? What were other people doing right? What were they doing wrong?”  So when I’m networking on Facebook, or just watching shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, I am not looking at what everyone else is looking at. I’m always looking for opportunity.

“To sum up how GPL was born, it is a combination of the years I have spent networking on Facebook and Twitter, and realizing how millions of poker players share not only content, but so much about themselves and their lives, yet get little to no compensation in return. And then there was the countless times I have watched recreational amateur poker players of all ages play free rolls on PokerStars for hours to earn pennies. What I ultimately saw as an Entrepreneur was people that should be making money, and people that wanted to make money.

Hence the vision for GPL began.

“To create and bring to market a poker network that would allow professional poker players to brand themselves and make money, and for amateur poker players to build their bankrolls. In my eyes, this was not only good for the people; it was a solid long-term strategy to bring awareness to the game worldwide. All I had to do was build a team around me, create the template, and then build it right. And building it right meant offering the members a platform that would be too tempting to ignore, and would eventually draw thousands of players from Facebook and Twitter to GPL. That was not going to be an easy task!

“To do it right also meant I needed to bring on a partner that was young, energetic, and well connected and experienced within the poker community. After many discussions with potential possibilities, I made a decision to bring on Tyler Hancock of PokerBrokers. An individual with a passion for the game, but more importantly, an individual that rose through the ranks quickly to become a Super Affiliate, and one that has many connections to poker players at all levels.

Can you tell me what has come of the Global Poker Link vision?

“Well, the easiest and simplest answer is that in March of 2014, Global Poker Link went into development with the goal of being the first total poker network that compensated its’ members for referrals, content, activity, and much more. And in March of 2014, Phase I, our social platform and members forum was quietly released to the public. And just recently in April we launched Phase II, which was our first software update, site redesign and Stage 1 of our Bankroll Generator Program, which is our Referral Compensation plan that pays out $0.25 for every new member referral. Well that may not sound like much, but there is much more, a lot more!

Can you tell me more about the Bankroll Generator Program?

“Sure. The BGP is a 3-tier program where our members can earn compensation through: 1. Referrals 2. Content & Activity 3. Shop & Share. As noted above, referrals will pay $0.25. When we roll out the compensation plan for C & A, members will earn more real money based on page views of the content they share on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. The Shop and Share is the nuts and bolts of the BGE and where members can really make some serious money if they choose to. In the S & S program, referring members will earn between 10% and 30% of our profits on all purchases made by their referrals.

“If you Lee were to refer say 20 people to GPL, and those 20 people went on to earn $10 each in their first month on GPL, the total earnings would be $200. Based on those earnings, they would be Silver ranks and would be required to spend 85% ($170) of their earnings on the site. If our profit were $50, you Lee would earn between $5 and $15 as the referrer. Think of someone like Daniel Negreanu. If he was to refer say 20,000 new members to our site and they went on to earn $10 each, well that would be $200,000 of earnings where $170,000 would have to be spent on the site. If we made $50,000, Daniel would stand to earn between $5,000 and $15,000. Just imagine if these referrals went on to earn $25 a month? Just think about it.”

Is there more to come?

“I can tell you that over the next 6 to 8 months, we are going to be rolling out a variety of new features and programs that will make GPL a total network for poker player around the world. Starting the end of May and over the next 60 days or so we are going to release Phase III in stages. These stages will include our Stage 2 Bankroll Generator compensation structure for member content & activity, the launch our Ranking System, and where we will implement member e-wallets that will be used to store member earnings safely and securely.”

Can members earn for their content & activity?

Absolutely Lee, that is the plan. We are going to compensate members that can drive traffic to our site. And to drive traffic, you need to refer people, or simply share great and valuable content. And with the latter, there more great stuff you share, the more page views one will achieve. And we are going to pay every member more real money and points for those page views.

“So you are a writer, what this will allow you to do, is not only drive traffic to the site you are writing for, but also to GPL. And you will receive remuneration for every page view you get from your readers. The idea for us is to drive traffic. I want to be part of something sociable. I want people to feel comfortable and want to engage and communicate with as many people in the Global Poker community as possible. Facebook doesn’t moderate. There are obvious no-no’s, but for the most part it’s a non-moderated site, and allows people to do what they want. That’s what we want to do, allow the players the freedom to share, with the same level of moderation as Facebook and Twitter. We have no intention of becoming social dictators. We want to be social spectators.

“People can come to our site and post anything that they desire (well almost anything, there are rules). But we want the community to be built of poker players. The content doesn’t need to be poker related. But the site is a community of poker players. If people share valuable content they will be paid. If they refer people they will be paid.”

Are you in the market for original content?

“Absolutely, that would be fantastic for us. If a writer wanted to come on board that would be great. We are creating a platform that will allow them to monetize their followers and their fans. We don’t want to interfere with how people make money or how they become successful. Our platform is designed to help you do that.”

Describe the ranking system you have?

“Well Lee, if you are going to create a rewards program, you might as well create a ranking system. And not only have we created one, we created it to mirror the Poker Stars ranking system from Bronze to Super Nova Elite, and the only difference with us is that you don’t have to spend to earn points. At GPL every member will earn points every time they earn money. And the points they earn will not only determine their rank, it will determine how much money they can cash out of their wallet. So if you are a Bronze rank, you can cash out 10% of your earnings, and you will be required to spend the 90% on our site to purchase products and/or services. Now if you really take GPL seriously and get your rank to Super Nova Elite, well we know you will have made some serious coin, but as a SNE, you will also be able to cash out 75% of your earnings. So for the big boys like Negreanu, Ivey and any other mainstream pro that has a ton of Followers, let’s just say that GPL is an opportunity in the making.”

I believe you have some interesting developments regarding GPL and your involvement with Twitch.

“Yes sir we do. Part of the reason we opted to remain in beta mode was to give us the flexibility to pivot with shifts in the poker marketplace, and wow has there been a shift due to the emergence of Twitch. We needed to get a closer look at it. In late 2014 we set up several test streams and when we started we had maybe 50-100 viewers on average. But near the end of 2014 we decided to allow viewers to buy a piece of Tyler {Hancock} whilst he streamed. And we used that opportunity by making it mandatory to sign up at GPL in order to buy his action. And man did that work. Membership jumped 400% in 2 weeks and gave us the answer we needed.

“At the same time, we also realized that Twitch produced a variety of negatives for poker streamers. Whether it was allowing viewers to gain insight into their playing strategies, or whether they could even make decent money. There were numerous negatives that would impact poker streamers. We cannot change Twitch, but we can change how streamers can make money.

“Unless you are Daniel Negreanu, Jason Somerville, or even Jaime Staples, you are not going to make a lot of money through Twitch. The online poker rooms are laughing right now as they see their marks get advertised for free day in and day out. They are getting brand exposure eight hours per day from poker players streaming all over the world. What a dream!

“So starting this May, we began taking applications for the GPL Global Stream Team. A global team that will stream under the banner of GPL, where we will promote their channels, generate sponsored ads for their channels, sponsor their free rolls, sponsor contests & promotions, and run Pay Per View webinars or charity fundraisers. In lament terms we will become their marketing agents and the brand that takes care of their future. The only difference is we will not control them in any way. They will keep total control of their personal brands. All we want is the members and the traffic.”

“All of this activity: the forum, the news section, the bankroll generator program, the share & shop, and the Twitch opportunities, all happen within one place. They all happen within GPL. So go to the site, log on and get your referral code today.”