The Global Poker League is set for launch in 2016 with a purpose-built arena called The Cube – 12 teams will take part in Season 1 and play across two different Conferences
We’ve been talking about the upcoming Global Poker League for a long time now, but the first solid details have just been released… And it’s set to cause a stir in the poker world.
Starting in Q1 2016, the Global Poker League is a 12-team promotion that will pay poker players to compete. Instead of entry fees, the prizes will be funded from revenue streams such as sponsorship, ticketing and merchandise.
The teams will represent cities across two conferences, Americas and Eurasia, and expected teams include San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, London, Paris and Hong Kong. They’ll be made up of five players – three of these will be drafted (from the GPI Top 1,000) and two will be selected as wildcards.
The teams will compete for 14 consecutive weeks through a series of matches played live and online. All of the matches will be streamed live, with a panel of experts, and some will be shown in real-time on TV. Broadcast details haven’t been released yet.
One of the big innovations is that live events will take place in a custom-built arena known as The Cube, a one-way soundproofed room that enables spectators to see everything that happens, while keeping players sealed from the outside world. This circumvents the need for a delay to stop hole card information being passed back to the players. The Cube will be a sort of portable poker room, moving between venues and able to be constructed almost anywhere.
The games will be played with real chips and a dealer to control the action, but the cards will be digital, which will get round the need for shuffling and make the play around four times faster than a normal live game. It also means that fans watching live – either online or at the venue – will be able to get real-time stats and info on the game as it’s being played. Players will be standing up as well, which will leave them far more exposed, and the action will be controlled by a shot clock, with games lasting around 30-40 minutes.
Venues have yet to be confirmed but the GPL wants to take poker outside of the normal poker world and try to get more mainstream coverage for the game. The GPL World Championships, planned for summer 2016, will be staged ‘at one of the most renowned sport and entertainment venues in the USA.’
Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of MSE, said: ‘We’ve been talking and working tirelessly for a long time about how “we Sportify Poker” and the launch of the Global Poker League is a great stepping stone on our route to achieving that. This isn’t going to be ‘yet another poker event’ – we’ll be bringing something new and exciting to the table.’
Is the poker world ready for something so different? We remember the Mansion Poker Dome in Las Vegas, a similar purpose-built arena that was set to capitalise on the poker boom, without any success. However, the GPL is different and if the players buy into it and the GPL brings fresh money into the game, it could be the start of poker’s new life as a live spectator sport. We’ll bring you more as soon as we get more information.
PokerPlayer magazine is now free on your phone or tablet!