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Global Poker League announces 12 franchises, team managers for inaugural season

13 January 2016

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Mediarex Sports & Entertainment (MSE), the company behind the Global Poker League, is pleased to announce the 12 teams and managers for its inaugural season, which will kick off with a draft day on Feb. 25.

Using a single league entity format inspired by the eSport industry and similar to MLS, team franchise managers from across the world were selected by the Global Poker League. The managers were assigned based not only on their poker skills but their business acumen, ability to lead a team and commitment to investing time and passion into their team and the league.

Team managers include some of the best known poker players from across the globe, including one of the most successful poker players in German history, a former WPT Player of the Year, an Italian trailblazer and the man responsible for igniting the poker boom. Together the 12 team managers total an incredible 71 career wins, 405 Top 10s and an astounding $46,589,602 in live tournament earnings.

The first key activity for the managers will be their player selection at the draft which will be held at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and live-streamed on Twitch.tv and other OTT platforms on Feb. 25 from 2 p.m. PST. Co-hosted by Kara Scott, World Series of Poker and former High Stakes Poker presenter and featuring analysts including Phil Hellmuth, the event will mark the start of the Global Poker League's first season.

Players already planning on entering the draft include back-to-back WPT winner Darren Elias, "The 10 Million Dollar Man" Chris Moorman, three time WPT champion and WSOP gold bracelet winner Anthony Zinno and Fedor Holz – one on the hottest players on the poker circuit and one of the fastest risers in the GPI World Poker Rankings right now.

Aiming to change the image of poker and deliver the game to a wider mainstream audience, the Global Poker League will provide a new level of fan engagement, with live events and innovative new game play formats. Its combination of online, studio and venue based events aims to ignite the passion of the 100 million plus existing poker fans worldwide.

"Today is an exciting day in Global Poker League history, the confirmation of our team managers is a crucial step towards our goal," said Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of MSE. "We've secured an incredible amount of talented leaders to represent our 12 franchise teams as well as strong intent from some of the world's best poker players to make themselves draftable on 25th February. We're looking forward to what the next few months and the inaugural season of the Global Poker League will bring for fans across the globe."

The 12 Global Poker League teams and managers are confirmed as follows:

BERLIN BEARS: Philipp Gruissem, Team Manager

A former #2 ranked player on the GPI World Poker Rankings and one of the most successful tournament players in German Poker History, Gruissem represented his nation at the 2015 GPI World Cup in Malta.

8 career wins (2 WPT Alpa8 titles), 22 Top 10s, $9,717,201 in live tournament earnings

HONG KONG DRAGONS: Celina Lin, Team Manager

A multiple-time winner on the live tournament circuit, Lin is one of the biggest names in Asian poker and one of the most successful streamers on Twitch.

4 career wins, 43 Top 10s, $577,577 in live tournament earnings

LOS ANGELES SUNSET: Maria Ho, Team Manager

One of the most recognizable faces on the poker circuit, Ho likes to compete on and off the felt, she also participated in Season 15 of “The Amazing Race” alongside Tiffany Michelle.

1 career win, 13 Top 10s, $1,708,584 in live tournament earnings

LAS VEGAS MONEYMAKERS: Chris Moneymaker, Team Manager

The man responsible for igniting the poker boom, Moneymaker is the everyday man who turned a satellite victory into a win for the ages in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event

6 career wins, 18 Top 10s, $3,587,316 in live tournament earnings

LONDON ROYALS: Liv Boeree, Team Manager

Boeree, a former EPT Sanremo Champion & co-founder of the Raising for Effective Giving charity organization, remains one of the most recognizable players in poker.

3 career wins (EPT title in 2010), 22 Top 10s, $2,977,203 in live tournament earnings

MONTREAL NATIONALS: Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Team Manager

One of Canada's top poker players, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, a former tennis star at UNC Greensboro, had two close calls in back-to-back years at the WSOP Main Event, finishing 63rd in 2011 and 13th in 2012.

1 career win, 12 Top 10s, $1,704,611 in live tournament earnings

MOSCOW WOLVERINES: Anatoly Filatov, Team Manager

Filatov is a Russian-born pro with over $1.6M in online cashes boosting his live lifetime winning, which include a runner-up finish in the 2012 EPT Vienna High Roller.

2 career wins, 21 Top 10s, $1,298,838 in live tournament earnings

NEW YORK ROUNDERS: Bryn Kenney, Team Manager

One of the game's most consistent pros, New York state native Kenney has stayed within the GPI Top 100 Global Rankings for more than five years, with a majority of that time spent as one of the Top 10 players in the world.

7 career wins, ($100k PCA Super High Roller), 48 Top 10s, $8,574,979 in live tournament earnings

PARIS AVIATORS: Fabrice Soulier, Team Manager

A legend of the French poker scene, Soulier, a former television director, is an 18-time winner of the live tournament poker circuit.

18 career wins (WSOP bracelet in 2011), 69 Top 10s, $5,815,738 in live tournament earnings

ROME EMPERORS: Max Pescatori, Team Manager

Better known to many as "The Italian Pirate," Pescatori is a trailblazer for poker in Italy. The four-time WSOP bracelet winner has spent more than 10 successful seasons on the live tournament circuit.

17 career wins (4x WSOP gold bracelets), 100 Top 10s, $4,176,786 in live tournament earnings

SAN FRANCISCO RUSH: Faraz Jaka, Team Manager

Jaka, a former WPT Player of the Year, needs no introduction. One of the most consistent pros on tour for almost 10 years, Jaka loves to spend time on the road.

2 career wins, 27 Top 10s, $5,008,642 in live tournament earnings

SAO PAULO METROPOLITANS: Andre Akkari, Team Manager

A Sao Paolo native, Akkari jumped from software development into poker through a chance encounter. Since then, he's become one of the biggest poker stars in Brazil.

2 career wins, 12 Top 10s, $1,442,127 in live tournament earnings

 
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