[toc]The Montreal Nationals have defeated the Berlin Bears in the seven-hour final of the inaugural Global Poker League in Las Vegas.
The final was a best-of-eleven contest which Pascal Lafrancois decided after defeating Brain Rast heads-up.
The Montreal Nationals will now share a first prize of $100,000, though with more than $36 million in live tournament cashes between them, perhaps the pride of being inaugural champions is worth more?
Global Poker League starts strong, finishes weak
The Global Poker League was the brainchild of entrepreneur Alex Dreyfus, who wanted to bring an esports feel to poker and match the popularity of live-streaming esports championships; the idea was to embrace the world of esports and Twitch streaming to advance poker.
At first, the series began very positively.
The online poker matches, with high-profile poker players facing off online and streaming commentary and reactions via webcam, were well-received by poker fans and gave us some very memorable moments.
Additionally, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul signed for the LA Sunset and played two Global Poker League matches, which was a pretty momentous occasion for poker.
However, majority of the live live matches, in which players stood face-to-face in “The Cube,” were not particularly well-regarded. Interest in the Global Poker League in general began to wane towards the end of the series.
Despite being streamed live on Twitch, the Global Poker League final (moved from Wembley Arena to Las Vegas early on in the season) saw worse viewing figures than many low-stakes poker tournament streamers.
The future of the Global Poker League
It appears that among poker fans and the world at large, the Global Poker League had very little appeal. Poor viewership for the climax of the season is surely disappointing for those involved.
However, the players themselves have been very enthusiastic about the competition – evidenced alone by their playing for free as opposed to for their usual high stakes.
Additionally, PokerStars have announced sponsorship of the Global Poker League going forward. With such a huge – indeed, the hugest – name in the poker industry behind them, it will be very interesting to see what the Global Poker League has in store for the second season.