Maria Ho was named one of the first 12 managers for the new Global Poker League and with the draft coming soon she's already formulating a plan for her team picks.
Ho was tight-lipped on specifics but said she'd be thinking out of the box and that pure poker skill isn't the only factor she'll be considering when drafting players.
She also said that while the draft order will have a lot to do with who puts together the strongest teams, she's got her eye on Bryn Kenney as one of the managers to watch out for.
Ho said she feels very confident about the GPL's chances of success as a poker TV show, and that she's excited to be getting in on the ground floor of an innovation that could take poker to the next level.
Check out the Q&A with LA Sunsets manager Maria Ho to learn more about what to expect from the upcoming Global Poker League.
PokerListings.com: It's pretty exciting that this is all coming together! Are you stoked to be a GPL manager?
Maria Ho: Yes! I think the GPL is a really cool concept and I'm always looking to be a part of anything that seeks to bring this industry and game to the next level.
Being a manager gives me the chance to get in on the ground level.
PL: How did it come about that you were named manager for LA?
MH: According to the GPL, a manager must have roots or some kind of strong tie in with the city that they represent and I was raised in LA and have lived there since I was 6 years old.
GPL mastermind Alex Dreyfus.
Alex contacted me and asked me if I would be interested and it seemed like a great fit.
I am very excited to rep LA especially since it is somewhat of a poker mecca considering Commerce Casino is there and there is a huge poker player pool and poker fan-base out of LA.
PL: Who are some of the players you're looking at for the draft? What qualities are most important to you when selecting a team?
MH: I think there are some obvious stand-out choices for the draft based on their GPI rankings and their reputations as skilled poker players but I will be considering other factors as well that I think will be important in building a great team.
I'll be thinking more out of the box. I don't believe it is necessarily all about just choosing the most skilled poker players.
PL: Who do you expect to put together the strongest teams?
MH: All of the people that have been selected as team managers are quite diverse and I think that will make for some really interesting strategies in regards to who they draft.
Obviously the draft order will probably have the most impact on who will be able to put together the strongest teams but I have my eye on Bryn Kenney.
PL: In addition to the prize money, do you think managers and players will be making side bets on the GPL events?
Maria has her eye on fellow manager Bryn Kenney.
MH: Knowing how much this community loves to make side bets and enjoy gambling on seemingly anything and everything, I don't doubt that there will be a lot of that going on behind the scenes.
PL: Historically we've seen that it's challenging to succeed with TV poker projects. There's a certain level of skepticism about GPL's feasibility as a spectator sport.
Do you personally believe it will work as a live event that people want to attend, and as a TV show people tune in to watch?
MH: I am very confident that this will be a TV show that people will want to watch. I think that given the caliber of players we can expect to play in the league along with this new and exciting format there will be a lot of interest from the viewers.
As far as whether this will be successful as a spectator sport remains to be seen but I believe that we have all the right components to make it exciting as a live event and hope that poker fans will share that vision and excitement.
PL: One last question, do you like the cube and the standing tables?
MH: I think the cube is necessary to make it successful as a live event because how else will the audience know what the hole cards are without compromising the integrity of the game which is obviously of utmost importance.
I think having the players stand while playing helps reinforce the overall intensity of these live heads up matches.