Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Calling Up the GPL Feed

Major League Baseball had its opening day on Sunday, and for the first time I took the plunge and got the relatively cheap MLB At-Bat app that allows you (among other things) to listen to all the games. You even get to pick which team’s announcing crew you want to hear, and I’ve already had fun sampling a few of them.

I’ve also already realized I’ll only occasionally have time actually to listen to baseball games, but given the relatively cheap price of the app I’m not too bothered by that.

Meanwhile there was another opening day yesterday as the Global Poker League kicked off its inaugural season with live streaming of some six-max sit-n-gos played between representatives of the 12 GPL teams. I dialed up the Twitch channel on the Roku so it would play on the teevee while I worked on other things, and found it an enjoyable background hum that occasionally had me looking up as each of the SNGs got down to heads-up before concluding.

Can’t say I focused too intently on Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton’s commentary, although it seemed enjoyable when I did. I thought Laura Cornelius and Eric Danis did well, too, in the studio between matches, with their contributions helping to lend the proceedings the feeling of some kind of sporting event (a goal, I know, of the GPL and its attempt to “sportify” poker).

Watching an online tournament isn’t necessarily the most dynamic thing to witness, of course (and I say that as someone who has watched and reported on a lot of online poker over the years). The attention necessarily drifts, with only occasional hands standing out and most drifting past unnoticed.

Davidi Kitai made what seemed a remarkable fold on his way to winning the first SNG yesterday for the Paris Aviators. Dan “Jungleman” Cates, playing for the Berlin Bears, came in sixth of six in that initial match to earn his team zero points, then in the second one made a weird call of an all-in push by the Moscow Wolverines’ Dzmitry Urbanovich to lose most of his stack before taking sixth again.

Regarding the latter hand -- in which Cates instantly called the shove with J-8 (sooted!) -- Jungleman noted over Twitter that he didn’t mean to call the shove: “misread my hand in gpl, thought i had A9s somehow (j8s hand)... I was playing cash on side. Pretty tilting even though it's not for money...”

Some responded to that tweet by observing that it seemed to undercut the whole idea of the GPL a bit to have a player not giving the matches his full attention this way. Kind of thing does make it hard to compare folks playing online poker to actual sporting events. I mean we don’t see outfielders missing fly balls because they were checking Facebook or playing some other game on their phones.

In any case, it’s diverting and as I mentioned before my inner sports nerd delights in seeing early standings and statistics starting to build -- both for MLB and the GPL. Like baseball, it looks like from the GPL’s ambitious eight-month schedule they’ll be on the air pretty much all the time, too, for those of us curious enough (and having the time) to dip in to catch some of the action.

We’ll see how often I sample both feeds.

Image: Global Poker League.

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