Posted February 1, 2018 by Alex in Poker Online

The Future Of Poker As A Sport

Alex Dreyfus on USPoker
Alex Dreyfus on USPoker

Poker is going places. Alex Dreyfus, the man behind anything that has to do with poker, has some big plans. In 2015, he came up with his notion to ‘sportify’ poker. After the launch of American Poker Conference, American Poker Awards, Global Poker Masters, he has emerged with Global Poker League.

According to him, poker is not a sport but can be sold as a sport. He intends to sell the topmost players. Just like the NASCAR, which highlights the drivers and sponsors, a similar model engaging all the poker enthusiasts can be built, said Alex Dreyfus on USPoker. To achieve his goal, he has already kept aside $4.9 millions as investment. This money will support GPL and engage exclusive marketing consultants in sports, who will question the company in the areas of improvement and steer it in the right direction. Dreyfus is also hoping to increase his team size from 15 to 25.

Dreyfus stated that the US will take up 50% of the marketing, though a large chunk of investments are from Asia (China to be precise). As poker was born in US, he feels the place will provide a solid foundation for his dreams.

Online poker in US is not legal. Dreyfus is clear that he will not be the one to influence the same but his products will support online poker through broadcasts on TV.

The main features on GPL would be:

  • The top (approximately 1000) players will be draftable players.
  • The players should agree to become a part of the said league.
  • They will be selected in a live session via teams.
  • The selected players can be swapped or cut and new players will be chosen every year.

The GPL aims to present only the best of the poker players.

Trying to sportify poker, Dreyfus has put a lot on stake and it seems he has come up with flying colors.


Here comes the GPL

The live matches at GPL have already started and the place where they are taking place is a huge enclosure made of glass. It is referred to as the Cube, which is soundproofed and has a one-way glass. Thus, the viewers can see what’s happening inside but the players can’t see the outside world. This makes it all the more exciting giving the fans more importance. All the creative initiatives being taken are for improving the fan base and the overall experience. It lays the foundation for future plans of the project, announced Alex Dreyfus on PokerListings.

It all started in 2012 when Dreyfus offered to sell his online poker room and invested the whole capitol in setting up the GPL. Slowly, the Global Poker Index and HendonMob.com got acquired.

The brand new studio at Las Vegas is a living example of a turnabout in poker.


GPL in full swing

The latest update from GPL shows signs of some major changes. The founder himself confirmed the rumors doing the rounds. The previous itinerary of the first season was scheduled in mid August 2016, but the grapevine implied that it was getting delayed till September. The website too re-scheduled some dates, locations including the finals.

There was no official announcement made regarding the adjustments but Alex Dreyfus on PokerUpdate spoke about the changes.

When asked about the location changes from San Diego and London to Las Vegas, Dreyfus agreed that the company needed some more time to plan improvements and launch other products. Being a small team, the break they got did not suffice. In addition, there was a dispute of events. With EPT, WCOOP and Burning Man coming up, they thought it better to postpone it for a few more weeks. The time will be used for promotions.

In spite of the successful initiatives like the draft, the League and Cube, the foundation needs to be sturdier, feels Dreyfus. They want a great live experience for the audience for which some hard work on the digital product and distribution front needs to be accomplished.

Enquired if the studio at Vegas be able to hold huge audience number, Dreyfus said that the focus is on digital viewers, as of now, for the next couple of years. He also mentioned that poker enthusiasts will be included via contests and merchandise. Their aim is to be done with the first season, work on improvements and start with second season.

The market for GPL, according to Dreyfus is a fan-based model. This connects the players with their fans, where the League serves as a platform. Here the fans will be included in all aspects, starting from watching the players, shopping with them, betting on them, selecting them, playing and actually experiencing them.

The team is involved in lot of surveys to study the market and create a pedestal with the top poker players.

When asked about the feedback that they received from the players, Dreyfus assured that the players and other members are very committed. Having met some during the matches that took place, he knew that the players are aware of the vision of GPL and everybody has to work towards achieving it.