Mediarex Entertainment, the parent company of the Global Poker League (GPL) set out on a mission to change the reputation of poker from being a game of luck to a game of skill. Mediarex CEO Alex Dreyfus started to promote the concept of a GPL in 2015 and launched the inaugural edition of the GPL in 2016.
GPL Season 1 – A Flop?
The 2016 GPL was promoted heavily across the world as more than 200 players featured in the first ever GPL draft. The GPL decided to allow only players who featured in the top 1,000 Global Poker Index (GPI) rankings to qualify for the GPL to ensure that only the top poker players in the world competed against each other. The GPL had 12 teams from around the world compete against each other and players from 33 countries were represented in the first edition of the GPL.
The GPL was launched to ‘sportify’ the game of poker and was expected to gain a reputation for being the World Cup of Poker. There were a lot of teething problems with the inaugural edition of the GPL and the response wasn’t as great as Mediarex expected. Dreyfus promised that the second edition of the GPL would sort out these issues and be streamlined better. Mediarex did not proceed with season two of the GPL in 2017 as the company decided to revamp its strategy.
During the course of the last 9 months, Mediarex has adopted a regional strategy of promoting the game of poker with the announcement of GPL China and GPL India. The two countries have a population in excess of a billion people each and many poker analysts including Dreyfus believe that the next poker boom will be in China while India will also turn out to be a lucrative market going forward. The GPL has continued with its regional marketing strategy by now announcing the launch of GPL Brazil.
GPL Brazil
The GPL website now has a landing page for GPL Brazil but there isn’t a lot of information available at the moment. The GPL Brazil landing page currently features Brazilian poker pro Thiago Nishijima along with the words ‘Vamooo’. Nishijima is ranked second on Brazil’s all time money list and has more than $2 million in career prize money based on the latest info from the Hendon Mob.
The GPL has also completed a makeover of its official website and introduced new branding and logos for all of its GPL regional leagues. Alex Dreyfus stated that after seeing the performance of GPL 1, the company decided that it needed to make changes as it did not want to launch GPL 2 using the same format and concept. Mediarex decided to listen to player feedback and make a number of changes which meant focusing on the top regional poker markets. As a result, the company decided to proceed with the launch of GPL China, GPL India and GPL Brazil because it believes that these three markets will be hotbed for poker activity.
While the GPL will foray into China and India for the first time, it has already established its presence in Brazil because one of the twelve teams featured in the inaugural GPL edition were the Sao Paulo Mets which comprised of top Brazilian players such as Thiago Nishijima, Joao Bauer, Felipe Ramos and Joao Simao.
GPL Regional Concept
Top poker operators including PokerStars have been focusing on the Latin American market for a number of years as the game of poker has grown in the region with every passing year. GPL Brazil will attract the attention of the Latin American market and create a fan base that the GPL will be able to leverage in the coming years.
The GPL wants to adopt a similar strategy in Asia with the launch of GPL China and GPL India which is expected to take place before the end of the year. The GPL will go with the format of featuring the best local players in the region and has confirmed that they will not be standalone leagues. The top teams from GPL China, GPL India and GPL Brazil are expected to feature at some point of time in a World Championship playoff to determine the best team in the world.
The GPL has confirmed that it will release more information about GPL Brazil in the coming months.