The Global Poker Index (GPI) has made another round of announcements about the Global Poker Masters (GPM), coming closer to finalizing the rosters for each nation and clearing up exactly how the final spots will be filled.
Each of the eight countries participating now has a four-player lineup that is set in stone, with only one “wild card” participant remaining to be determined for each team.
Earlier, the GPI a.k.a poker’s World Cup, announced the four qualifying players on each team, based on their rankings in the Index.
While five players from that initial list of 32 have backed out of the competition, most will participate, which has to be considered a win for the GPM in its inaugural event.
“There have been no disappointments,” said GPI CEO Alex Dreyfus. “There were some schedule conflicts for [the players who dropped out] and I wanted players that were keen to commit. Players who were keen to participate, but couldn’t guarantee their attendance had to make way for the player next in line. They understood.”
Replacements Feature Plenty of Star Power
The most obvious dropout was the United States’ Dan Colman, who made it clear early that he wasn’t planning on playing in the event. Another top American in the GPI rankings, Pratyush Buddiga, will also be skipping the World Cup style competition.
But those players will be replaced with plenty of star power, as Bryn Kenney and Olivier Busquet are taking their places on Team USA.
Similar situations played out on some of the other teams that lost participants. In the UK, Stephen Chidwick declined to play, and was replaced by Sam Trickett, Europe’s all-time leader in tournament earnings.
Mike “Timex” McDonald dropped out for Team Canada, but he’ll be replaced by WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel.
Finally, Igor Yaroshevsky will be replacing Artem Metalidi on the Russian team.
According to Dreyfus, the GPM has been a successful tool in getting top players to care more about the GPI rankings, which determined who got invites to the event.
“The top 20/30 players told me that having the GPM was a great motivation for them to grind more points in order to ensure they are selected,” Dreyfus said.
Fans to Have a Say in Wild Card Entrants
There’s still a fifth position that needs to be filled on each team, and it appears that both the current team members and poker fans will have a say in who gets those final invites.
“Each team will give us two names that are in the GPI 1000+,” Dreyfus said. “We will then put those names out to the general public to vote for their favorite one. That ensures a nice balance between the opinion of the player and the fan.”
The GPM will be held on March 21 and 22 at the Hilton Portomaso in Malta. The event, which is planned to become a yearly competition, is one that Dreyfus hopes will become the most important international team event in the poker world.
“This is Poker’s first legitimate World Cup, made possible by an unbiased team and nation selection process carried out by GPI,” said Dreyfus. “We’re grateful and excited to have the endorsement and support from both casual and professional players all over the world on this.”