Global Poker League CEO and #EntrepreneurLife stalwart Alex Dreyfus informed the community over the weekend that PokerStars has signed-on as an official sponsor of the GPL. The announcement comes as the League prepares for the second-half of its Season 1 programming — scheduled to resume this Tuesday, October 4th.
The response from 2+2 NVG posters has been overwhelmingly negative since the news broke roughly 72 hours ago. A series of poor decisions by GPL head Dreyfus over the summer (combined with other questionable actions dating back to his involvement with ChiliPoker.com) has cast a shadow over the embattled executive. As Dreyfus’ influence within the poker community has expanded through his acquisitions of The Hendon Mob and the Global Poker Index, a sense of ill-will towards the French businessman has likewise spread across the poker world; specifically on the TwoPlusTwo boards.
Add to that a failed inquiry that Dreyfus once initiated to acquire the TwoPlusTwo forums along with dismal Season 1 ratings, an inability to effectively promote its players plus a high-dollar monstrosity (The Cube) that demands $100,000 for international transportation, and it’s easy to see why the poker community has grown weary of not only Dreyfus, but the “sportification of poker” concept as a whole. And that’s not even bringing up the most glaring issue facing the GPL as it attempts to achieve legitimate growth this October… the fact that it’s a play-money poker competition.
TwoPlusTwo Reacts to PokerStars/GPL Partnership
The GPL — halfway through its inaugural season — already faces a credibility crisis. One that threatens to end Dreyfus’ dream/nightmare of “sportifying” poker well before the League achieves any meaningful amount of legitimacy. Simply put, the Global Poker League’s current product is not up to par with trending industry content such as Polkernews, the Poker Life Podcast, Poker Central, Twitch streams or even PokerStars’ live coverage of its own premier events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yEdtO6yjsc Will PokerStars be able to leverage its marketing efforts to effectively promote the game of poker through the GPL? That remains to be seen. It is possible that poker’s leading marketing force will find more worthwhile methods for utilizing the League’s A+ talent roster. But The Cube — in all its sterile, rectangular glory — has worn extremely thin as a set piece among the GPL’s critics. The gameplay aspect of the League’s poker-for-points format has not been successful in engaging a live poker audience, while Dreyfus’ Big Brother twist of requiring players to stand up during their showcase matches makes for an awkward, painful experience shared by players, commentators and viewers alike. Regardless, it’s time for the head-scratching to resume. Season 1 of the Global Poker League is upon us again. Will the poker community care this time around? We’ll know more by the end of the week. In the meantime, best of luck to all players participating in sanctioned League matches, currency trades, or frantic check-cashing races to their local banks this month. Here’s hoping mainstream interest for the GPL surpasses the paltry 5% Dreyfus deems acceptable for reverse-layaway loans.
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David Huber (known as “dhubermex” online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).