Way back when this first season of the GPL got going back in late March, the plan then was apparently to stage this finale at the SSE Arena, Wembley where (presumably) there’d be a big live audience on hand to watch it all.
There were a lot of particulars having to do with this first season that hadn’t been pinned down then, actually, and at the time I think most were a little skeptical that there actually would be some sort of season-punctuating event attended by thousands.
In May came news that the playoffs would be starting in late September-early October and be played at the TwitchCon 2016 event in San Diego, then finished up at Wembley in November. That plan was eventually scrapped, then in early August we heard the playoffs would be happening this week in a Las Vegas studio.
So it’s a decidedly less spectacular spectacle, but still all being streamed live on Twitch for those who are curious. Yesterday the sucker went on for more than 15 hours before the Montreal Nationals emerged as the Americas Conference champs.
I tuned in occasionally, and will probably do so again today as the Eurasia Conference gets decided, then tomorrow for the championship. It remains kind of a challenging watch for more than short stretches. Still, I’m glad to see them managing to see this first season through, and there something kind of entertaining about the playoff format.
Have to imagine Season 2 will be scaled back considerably, though, the eight-month grind (with the breaks) being a bit too lengthy to keep the attention of most. There remains all sorts of challenges, really, making it hard to imagine poker working as a genuine spectator sport, sans the “reality TV”-type bells and whistles that has made it work in other formats and incarnations.
Image: Global Poker League.