The schedule for the second week of the Global Poker League is out with the highlight being the impending heads-up clash between San Francisco Rush’s Phil Galfond and New York Rounders’ Jason Mercier.
Ok, I have to admit. I was wrong.
When I reviewed Day 1 of the Global Poker League (GPL), I doubted that poker could elicit the emotion, excitement, and elevation necessary to turn poker from a game played in smoke filled, french fry chomping casino halls, to the largest eSports arenas in the world.
I was so turned off by the sheer mundanity of the six max games that I decided not to waste the rest of my day watching more of it. I am glad I had a change of heart. The heads-up action, in particular, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates match with Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier showed me that poker is alive and well when marketed correctly.
The introduction of the webcams was genius. The ability to listen to the thought processes of some of the world’s greatest players was intriguing. The sheer entertainment provided by Dan Cates being Dan Cates was enthralling. If they can somehow introduce webcams into the six-max action, I may tune in once again.
When the action began, I thought the success or failure of the GPL would depend on poker’s ability to invoke an emotional response. Now I believe that pressure lies squarely on the fingertips of those who represent the franchises. It’s all about the people. It’s not so much about the poker. We need entertainers.
The game itself doesn’t offer up enough emotionally stirring situations, but the people can. If I were Alex Dreyfus, I would be sending a memo to all my Team Managers actively advising them that their players start to ratchet up the entertainment value when playing. For some, this will come naturally, for others it will be difficult. We don’t want to tune in and see a bunch of bricks.
I said, ‘bricks’.
A few weeks ago, I shared my opinion why I wanted the Hong Kong Stars to win. My ego is proud to tell you that they currently top the Eurasia Conference going into Week 2.
1. Hong Kong Stars – 18 points
2. Paris Aviators – 16 points
3. London Royals – 12 points
4. Rome Emperors – 9 points
5. Moscow Wolverines – 5 points
6. Berlin Bears – 3 points
1. New York Rounders – 16 points
2. Las Vegas Moneymakers – 13 points
3. Montreal Nationals – 12 points
4. LA Sunset – 9 points
5. Sao Paulo Mets – 7 points
6. San Francisco Rush – 6 points
Week 2 Action
As the six-max action enters its second week, it’s clear the LA Sunset manager Maria Ho believes that Fedor Holz is their strongest player in that particular format. The young German superstar will compete in his third six-max match (more than anyone else) before Chance Kornuth replaces him for the final game. Holz picked up a fourth and fifth place finish during Week 1.
Anthony Zinno had a strong showing in the six-max action for the Las Vegas Moneymakers, and I would have liked to have seen that consistency flow. Instead, team manager, Chris Moneymaker, has decided to throw Jonathan Duhamel and Jake Cody into the mix.
Once again it’s the heads-up lineups that provide the most excitement. Hong Kong Stars team manager, Celina Lin, has decided ‘if it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ by keeping Randy Lew front and center for the heads-up action. Lew was the only player during Week 1 to win all three heads-up matches – Sergey Lebedev was on the other end of that tanning. Lew will square off against London Royals Sam Trickett. I can’t wait for that one.
LA Sunset team manager, Maria Ho, is following Lin’s strategy by keeping her best heads-up player in the action. Olivier Busquet defeated Sao Paulo’s Darren Elias in Week 1 by 2-1, and he keeps his place to face off against the former World Champion Jonathan Duhamel.
The matchup of Alex Luneau v Dario Sammartino is a mouth watering one. And I can’t wait to see Dominik Nitsche sharing his thought process during his match against Vladimir Troyanovskiy. I am a big Pascal Lefrancois fan and can’t wait for him to start showing the world what he’s all about.
That leaves Phil Galfond v Jason Mercier.
It’s the only match that makes my Google Calendar. It’s the only match that keeps me out of the bedroom. It’s the only match that keeps me away from my son’s first stage performance. It is what the GPL is about.
Titan v Titan.
Character v character.
Yes, Alex, I would pay to watch it.
Week 2 Schedule
Match 11: Six Max Action Eurasia Conference (Tue, 12 April: Noon ET)
London Royals: Justin Bonomo
Rome Emperors: Mustapha Kanit
Berlin Bears: Dominik Nitsche
Paris Aviators: Mike Leah
Moscow Wolverines: Vladimir Troyanovskiy
Hong Kong Stars: Bryan Huang
Match 12: Six Max Action Eurasia Conference (Tue, 12 April: 1.40 pm ET)
The same lineups except Dong Guo taking the place of Bryan Huang in the Hong Kong Stars lineup.
Match 13: Six Max Action Americas Conference (Tue, 12 April: 3.30 pm ET)
New York Rounders: Kevin MacPhee
LA Sunset: Fedor Holz
San Francisco Rush: Kitty Kuo
Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jonathan Duhamel
Montreal Nationals: Xuan Liu
Sao Paulo Mets: Joao Pires Simao
Match 14: Six Max Action Americas Conference (Tue, 12 April: 5.10 pm ET)
The same lineups except Chance Kornuth taking the place of Fedor Holz in the LA Sunset lineup, and Jake Cody replacing Jonathan Duhamel in the Las Vegas Moneymakers lineup.
Heads Up Action
Match 15: Hong Kong Stars v London Royals (Wed April 13: noon ET)
Randy Lew (Hong Kong) v Sam Trickett (London)
Match 16: Rome Emperors v Paris Aviators (Wed April 13: 2.30 pm ET)
Dario Sammartino (Rome) v Alex Luneau (Paris)
Match 17: Berlin Bears v Moscow Wolverines (Wed April 13: 5.00 pm ET)
Dominik Nitsche (Berlin) v Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Moscow)
Match 18: Sao Paulo Mets v Montreal Nationals (Thu April 14: 1 pm ET)
Thiago Nishijima (Sao Paulo) v Pascal LeFrancois (Montreal)
Match 19: San Francisco Rush v New York Rounders (Thu April 14: 3.30 pm ET)
Phil Galfond (San Fran) v Jason Mercier (New York)
Match 20: Las Vegas Moneymakers v LA Sunset (Thu April 14: 6.00 pm ET)
Jonathan Duhamel (Las Vegas) v Olivier Busquet (LA Sunset)