“I’m between relieved and stressed.” That was the way Alexandre Dreyfus summed up his feelings after the launch and draw for the inaugural Global Poker Masters. “I was more stressed about today than the competition tomorrow because gathering the 40 best poker players away from the poker tables is very difficult!” He wasn’t wrong, from Elky to Schemion, Selbst to Troyanovsky, the eight nation-teams represented in poker’s version of the World Cup were all in attendance.
With the Global Poker Masters being described as a competition rather than a tournament, the Sit N Go’s being as matches and the players themselves as components of a greater team structure, this was unlike any poker competition I had ever seen.
Ahead of the draw for the first stage of the competition, the play-offs, players from all nationalities mingled with members of the media and other players in attendance. Team Germany member George Danzer said that everything was relaxed ahead of the start of the competition tomorrow. “It feels like a family reunion. There are a couple of players you like, most of them I like, and then a couple of players you fear. We’re having a good time; there’s no tension in the room.”
According to Danzer, he wants Vanessa Selbst on his table because he’s “had a couple of battles with her.” Elky and Jonathan Duhamel join Selbst along with Mustapha Kanit because “he’s going to try and bluff us, and then Vanessa is going to pick him off and that makes it good for TV. I’m just going to nit it all the way through, not get involved and just watch everyone else at the table.”
On Team Germany’s prospects in this weekend’s competition, Danzer was setting his sights firmly on first prize. “It comes down to team spirit. That’s why Germany always wins the World Cup! It’s going to be the same in the poker competition.”
Liv Boeree, in Malta to collect her award as GPI female player of the year, facilitated the draw and she said she was loving everything that Alex Dreyfus was doing for poker. “He’s just making everything more classy! It’s really raising the standard. I’m excited for the GPI European Awards. I went to the ones in LA and it was incredible – Oscar’s eat your heart out!”
With the play-offs tomorrow and the later stages of the competition scheduled to take place on Sunday evening, it’s going to be a long weekend of international poker action at the Hilton Portomaso in Malta.