The inaugural draft for the Global Poker League (GPL) took place on Feb. 25, 2016, and saw the league's 12 franchises select their first four players from a pool of 203 stars. PokerNews' award-winning Editor-in-Chief, Donnie Peters, has already given his thoughts on the draft, but now we’re going to look at the Montreal Nationals in a little more depth so you know who you're rooting for when the GPL kicks off.
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The Montreal Nationals are run by Team PokerStars Online Pro Marc-Andre Ladouceur, and there is no way that he is not going to select himself as a wild card for the upcoming GPL season. Not only does the man from Montreal, Quebec have $1,704,748 in live tournament winnings and $1,072,854 from the online world, Ladouceur is also an accomplished online cash-game player to boot.
Ladouceur had second pick in the draft and he took fellow Canadian Mike "Timex" McDonald, who is third on the Canadian all-time money list with an astronomical $12,981,820 in earnings. McDonald is a phenomenal talent who cut his poker teeth in the online arena before making the live scene his own. "Timex" still holds the record for being the youngest-ever winner of an EPT main event, having taken the EPT Dortmund title in 2008 at the tender age of 18.
Next on the Nationals' roster is 2014 WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson. The popular Swede is considered one of the very best tournament players of his generation and will ensure his team has an army of Swedish fans when the GPL events kick off. While Jacobson is more reserved than some of the other players drafted by the GPL franchises, there is no questioning his highly-skilled ability at the tables.
Like Pescatori before him, Ladouceur went with keeping the majority of his team from his home country, choosing Pascal Lefrancois as his third-round pick. Lefrancois has $2,577,792 in live tournament winnings, including $635,011 from his 10th-place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event. Perhaps more famously, though, Lefrancois posed topless for his winner's photo after winning the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2010 WSOP.
Ladouceur's final pick went to Xuan Liu, which added a female element to the roster. Liu is a superb poker talent with more than $1,600,000 in live tournament winnings and more than $610,000 from the online realm and is another Canadian for the roster. Liu's addition could be a stroke of genius when it comes to garnering fans for the Nationals thanks in part to Liu starring in the Girl Got Game poker TV show.
So, assuming Ladouceur takes himself, who will the other wild card pick for the Montreal Nationals be? Don't be surprised if Mark Radoja gets the nod. Radoja has more than $2,000,000 in live tournament winnings, is Canadian, has two WSOP bracelets, and is a close friend of Jacobson.