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Steals, Snubs & Surprises: Dissecting the Global Poker League Draft

Well, that was super fun.

The first-ever Global Poker League draft was held last night in Los Angeles and, thanks to the technological wonder that is Twitch.tv, poker fans got to experience it almost first-hand via the live stream.

With running commentary from Joe Stapleton, Eric Danis, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth and seamless hosting from Kara Scott, the first poker draft in history went off with few hitches.

Without really knowing just what kind of skills a great GPL team might require it was hard to predict just which players Team Managers might see as the best choices to fill out their rosters.

First-Ever Global Poker League Draft Surprises

With geography, gaming ability, Hold'em skill, personality, flexibility, friendship and enthusiasm all legitimate and subjective variables to consider the players that came off the board were a surprising mix.

Fedor Holz

Holz at #9 a bargain.

As Hellmuth and Negreanu hilariously showed in their respective draft boards, one Manager's first-round lock might be another's easy pass, so to qualify picks as "steals" or "snubs" is subjective as well.

Still there were plenty of fantastic players not picked, virtual unknowns drafted and plenty of fodder for debate.

With each team still holding two "wildcard" picks to come some of the players mentioned below might still join the first season of the Global Poker League. But for now, here are a few noticeables.


Fedor Holz -- 9th, LA Sunsets Seeing Holz drop all the way to ninth was somewhat surprising but the beneficiary was LA Sunsets Manager Maria Ho, who excitedly snapped him up.

One of the most talented and successful players to come into the game over the past couple of years Holz is a superstar in the making.

Vanessa Selbst - 18th, London Royals Easily a first-round talent Selbst dropped all the way to the middle of the second round. Maybe not the right fit for the Managers who passed the end result is Selbst joining Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Chris Moorman and Justin Bonomo on one powerhouse of a team.

Anthony Gregg - 21st, San Francisco Rush The End Boss could legitimately stake a claim to the honor of best player in the world. Faraz Jaka is doing backflips right now.

Chris Moorman - 31st, London Royals Another late gem for Boeree as the most successful online tournament player in history falls in her lap.

Other great-value picks: Dzmitry Urbanovich, 8th Moscow Wolverines; Olivier Busquet, 16th LA Sunsets; Tom Marchese, 22nd New York Rounders, Martin Jacobson, 23rd, Montreal Nationals; Timothy Adams, 25th Rome Emperors


Gruissem goes off-script.


Phil Gruissem and the Berlin Bears - Most people expected a more German-centric team given the wealth of talent in-country but Gruissem went off script with three North Americans - Brian RastJeff Gross and Sorel Mizzi.

All super talented players but with little connection, it would seem, to Berlin. Dominik Nitsche, a German living in Edinburgh, does add a bit of local flavor though.

Celina Lin and the Hong Kong Stars - Lin obviously felt a strong local team was the best strategy but not picking even one highly ranked international superstar that was available was semi-surprising.

All of her picks likely could have been grabbed as wildcards as well, meaning she had some room to play with. No semi-local star like David Yan or Jonathan Karamalikis, either. It'll be interesting to see how the HK team stacks up when play begins.

Kitty Kuo

Kitty is in.

Kitty Kuo to San Francisco; Jonathan Duhamel to Las Vegas; Darren Elias to Sao Paulo; Timex and Xuan Liu to Montreal - Lots of geographical mismatches came into play but these might be the most notable.

With just one Quebecer, two players from Ontario and one Swede the Montreal Nationals were less Francophone than expected. Andre Akkari went away from Brazil for his first two picks in Elias and Byron Kaverman.

And Kitty Kuo joining San Fran is an odd match on the surface but a delight she'll be involved.


As we mentioned above the idea of a "snub" is fairly subjective. And of course there are still 24 players to be added as wildcard picks so plenty of undrafted players might still make the cut.

But no Shannon Shorr? No Mohsin Charania? No Christian HarderMike Gorodinsky or #1 Stander Justin Oliver?

For the record these are the 10 highest-ranked players not to be selected yet: 

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Benjamin Pollak (FRA)25$2,615,000
Sam Greenwood (CAN)33$2,800,000
Igor Yaroshevskyy (UKR)34$1,695,000
Niall Farrell (SCO)41$1,940,000
Scott Clements (USA)44$6,975,000
Ankush Mandavia (USA)45$2,315,000
Jared Jaffee (USA)49$2,730,000
Ismael Bojang (AUT)51$1,870,000
Hans Winzeler (USA)53$2,010,000
David Yan (NZL)57$1,580,000

Who's the Early Favorite?

Based on an unscientific assessment of Twitter responses the London RoyalsLA Sunsets and San Francisco Rush seem to be early favorites among poker diehards.

Based on collective GPI ranks, though, the New York Rounders are by far the most highly rated with an average rank of #15. The Las Vegas MoneymakersHong Kong Stars and Sao Paulo Metropolitans are the early underdogs.

Here are the 12 teams with the average GPI rank of the five players per team so far (including Managers) and the sum of their career live earnings. 

  • Rome Emperors (162): $16,291,715
  • Montreal Nationals (456): $33,927,265
  • New York Rounders (15): $45,227,670
  • San Francisco Rush (359): $20,969,816
  • Las Vegas Moneymakers (1022): $36,909,402
  • Sao Paulo Metropolitans (551): $14,022,147
  • London Royals (303): $38,742,913
  • Moscow Wolverines (242): $13,649,398
  • Los Angeles Sunset (305): $28,025,439
  • Berlin Bears (152): $44,808,217
  • Paris Aviators (132): $30,800,318
  • Hong Kong Stars (556): $3,110,185

Breakdown Per Team

Rome Emperors (162): $16,291,715

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Max Pescatori (ITA)134$4,176,786
Mustapha Kanit (ITA)31$5,497,875
Dario Sammartino (ITA)39$3,251,024
Timothy Adams (CAN)355$2,546,978
Walter Treccarichi (ITA)249$819,052

Montreal Nationals (456): $33,927,265

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Marc-Andre Ladouceur (CAN)627$1,704,748
Mike McDonald (CAN)18$12,949,811
Martin Jacobson (SWE)273$15,045,724
Pascal Lefrancois (CAN)1005$2,577,792
Xuan Liu (CAN)359$1,649,190

New York Rounders (15): $45,227,670

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Bryn Kenney (USA)6$8,743,544
Jason Mercier (USA)3$16,356,296
Thomas Marchese (USA)24$12,404,012
Kevin MacPhee (USA)5$5,424,937
Jason Wheeler (USA)36$2,298,881

San Francisco Rush (359): $20,969,816

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Faraz Jaka (USA)64$5,066,962
Phil Galfond (USA)594$2,339,619
Anthony Gregg (USA)522$10,476,457
Kitty Kuo (TAI)308$1,091,426
Anton Wigg (SWE)306$1,995,352

Las Vegas Moneymakers (1022): $36,909,402

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Chris Moneymaker (USA)4616$3,588,654
Anthony Zinno (USA)3$5,337,383
Jonathan Duhamel (CAN)21$17,592,802
Jake Cody (ENG)363$4,132,822
Jonathan Little (USA)106$6,257,741

Sao Paulo Metropolitans (551): $14,022,147

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Andre Akkari (BRA)1851$1,466,727
Darren Elias (USA)35$3,505,319
Byron Kaverman (USA)1$6,757,855
Thiago Nishijima (BRA)374$1,784,213
Joao Pires Simao (BRA)493$508,033

London Royals (303): $38,742,913

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Liv Boeree (UK)177$2,997,943
Igor Kurganov (RUS)137$10,218,893
Vanessa Selbst (USA)321$11,728,256
Chris Moorman (ENG)793$4,107,768
Justin Bonomo (USA)88$9,690,053

Moscow Wolverines (242): $13,649,398

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Anatoly Filatov (RUS)424$1,298,838
Dzmitry Urbanovich (POL)16$4,190,393
Vladimir Troyanovskiy (RUS)42$4,199,228
Andrey Pateychuk (RUS)116$2,873,717
Sergey Lebedev (RUS)612$1,087,222

Los Angeles Sunset (305): $28,025,439

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Maria Ho (USA)852$1,708,584
Fedor Holz (GER)9$7,549,491
Olivier Busquet (USA)117$6,857,079
Eugene Katchalov (UKR)317$8,669,109
Chance Kornuth (USA)228$3,241,176

Berlin Bears (152): $44,808,217

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Phillip Gruissem (GER)406$9,731,202
Brian Rast (USA)38$16,313,290
Sorel Mizzi (CAN)110$11,148,823
Dominik Nitsche (GER)13$5,164,231
Jeffrey Gross (USA)193$2,450,671

Paris Aviators (132): $30,800,318

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Fabrice Soulier (FRA)206$5,829,817
Bertrand Grospellier (FRA)192$10,922,427
Davidi Kitai (BEL)10$6,757,706
George Danzer (GER)205$2,249,980
Mike Leah (CAN)48$5,040,388

Hong Kong Stars (556): $3,110,185

PlayerGPI RankCareer Winnings
Celina Lin (CHN)880$581,359
Weiyi Zhang (CHN)823$253,446
Raiden Kan (HKG)220$866,303
Dong Guo (CHN)372$554,374
Bryan Huang (SIN)486$854,703

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