On Friday, the Global Poker Index (GPI) announced the launch of the Global Poker Masters, a brand new $10,000 buy-in invitation-only poker tournament set to bring the best 36 players in the world to represent their countries in what GPI's CEO Alex Dreyfus defined: "the world cup for poker as a sport."
"If we really want to promote poker as a sport, we need an international competition like this one," Dreyfus told PokerNews. "We need something that gives the best players and the best countries the right exposure. With our initiative, we are creating another reason for the industry and mainstream media to keep talking about poker."
Although date and location are not set yet, Dreyfus told PokerNews "we can expect it to run in North America alongside one of the major events scheduled for 2015 Q1."
The Global Poker Masters already have a defined and interesting structure that aims to bring something completely new to the world of tournament poker.
The event is going to be a country-based poker championship, with the nine highest ranked countries in the GPI qualifying to compete, and the top four players from each qualifying country — based on GPI Player of the Year points accumulated over a 12-month period — winning the chance to take a seat and play on behalf of their nation.
"Players will participate for at least two different reasons," Dreyfus explained. "First, because there is good value for them. The players we will bring to the tables all make between $200,000 to $1,000,000 a year, and if you want to have them you need to motivate them with some money. That's why we chose to have a $10,000 buy-in and we are adding an additional $100,000 on top of that to make the prize pool even more attractive."
"Then, players will come because they want to get a chance to represent their countries. I spoke to a lot of them and they have all liked the idea. To many players, poker is about recognition. With this event, I believe we are doing something important in this sense, and at the same time we are also giving the industry one more chance to see poker promoted in the mainstream and sports media."
Although the event aims to become a "poker world cup," the innovative formula created by the GPI for the upcoming Global Poker Masters aims to look more like a sort of Texas hold'em-only Olympics.
"As this is a team-based event, there is not going to be one single winner at the end of it," explained Dreyfus. "Technically, we are going to have four groups, with one player from each country in every group. The event will include a total of 16 sit-n-go tournaments, with players rotating around four different tables every time the tournament they are playing is over. "
"Every tournament will give players a certain amount of points according to their placement. The winner of the Global Poker Masters will then be the country that, at the end of the 16th tournament, will have aggregated the highest number of points."
To get an idea of the names that the Global Poker Masters is planning to bring to the tables, here is how the field would look like if the event would start today:
|United States||United Kingdom||Canada||Germany||Russia||France|
|Keven Stammen||Jack Salter||Shyam Srinivasan||Ole Schemion||Alex Bilokur||Roger Hairabedian|
|Scott Seiver||Tom Hall||Mike McDonald||Arture Koren||Alexander Denisov||Erwann Pecheux|
|Vanessa Selbst||Simon Deadman||Amichi Barer||Phillipp Gruissem||Anatoly Filatov||Miroslav Alilovic|
|Mukul Pahuja||Oliver Price||Andrew Chen||Martin Finger||Alex Kravchenko||Patrick Bruel|
|Mustapha Kanit||Tam Truong||Paul Berende|
|Andrea Dato||Michael Kanaan||Marcel Luske|
|Dario Sammartino||Jeffrey Rossiter||Tobias Peters|
|Antonio Buonanno||Rory Young||Pieter De-Korver|
"If you think about it, all the poker events in the world are a satellite to the Global Poker Masters," Dreyfus continued. "Once you play at the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, or any other tournament, you get points. And those points can get you a spot to the Masters."
If you would like to be part of the Global Poker Masters, but you are not sure you will be able to climb the GPI rankings to be one of the world's top players, you will still get a good chance to follow all the action at the tables here on PokerNews in 2015.
"I hope to soon be able to announce two mainstream consumer brands as sponsors of the event as we are already in advanced talks," Dreyfus went on. "As for our media partners, PokerNews will follow the event with live reporting and live stream of the tournaments."
The launch of the Global Poker Masters completes an exciting time for the Global Poker Index, as it comes a week after the launch of the first ever GPI-branded print magazine and only two days after the announcement of the first American Poker Awards scheduled for the first months of 2015.
If you are in Las Vegas for the 2014 WSOP, you can discover more about the Global Poker Masters and all the other initiatives promoted by the Global Poker Index by paying a visit to their booth at the Rio Casino. Otherwise, you can visit the Global Poker Masters official website and keep an eye on our weekly GPI ranking update here on PokerNews.