In an attempt to “sportify” poker, the Global Poker League is changing the way some top professional poker players earn a living. Instead of the pay-to-play structure that exists for poker players today, the GPL will pay its players to perform.
Salaries for Season 1 have been set at $100/hour, and that number is scheduled to increase in Season 2 by 50%. Critics may argue that such a compensation scheme undermines the spirit of competition, but as is the case in nearly all professional sports, winners will earn additional rewards as well as the accolades that accompany champions.
As part of the incentive package to perform, players will be vying for a 20% share of the $100,000 prize money received by the team that wins the GPL Championship. Players will also receive a cut of the revenue generated from licensing agreements, merchandising and sponsorship deals. Travel expense will be picked up by the GPL.
The GPL Draft
Team managers will draft eligible players on February 25, in conjunction with the American Poker Awards. The draft will consist of three rounds with the draft order for each round determined by random draw.
Over the course of the following week, team managers will announce their “Wildcard” sections, two additional players chosen at the mangers discretion that will complete the team roster. Team managers that believe they will give their team the best chance to win can select themselves as one of the Wildcards.
Within hours of the official announcement that the GPL was accepting player applications, interest in participating had already begun to spread among the pros.
The GPL Season
The Regular Season will consist of 12 weeks. Teams will compete twice a week online, live in-studio and at featured live events where play will take place in The Cube, GPL’s signature gaming ring that allows the audience to see in (including players’ hole cards) but does not allow the players to see out, thus helping to preserve the integrity of the game.
The GPL is also introducing a series of gameplay innovations to enhance enjoyment of the games by the fans including time limits on matches, a shot clock for each player’s turn and technology enhancements that incorporate digital and live play designed to speed up play of the matches.
All regular season matches will be livestreamed allowing access to viewers around the world. Play will be proceeded by pre-game shows featuring expert analysis of the upcoming match.
The GPL World Championship will be determined by a series of playoffs culminating in the championship match. GPL post-season play will take place in the US during the summer of 2106 at a top-tier sporting arena.