France's lineup at the 2015 Global Poker Masters is now complete, as PokerStars Team pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and national star Patrick Bruel have been added to the team.
As announced on Tuesday in Deauville during the France Poker Awards, the two players will join the winner of the Global Poker Index (GPI) European Challenger Cup winner Erwann Pecheux, 2013 World Series of Poker November Niner Sylvain Loosli and the winner of the World Poker Tour Cyprus Paul Tedeschi for the event to be held in Malta on March 21 and 22, 2015.
The decision to add Grospellier, Bruel and Tedeschi came after two of the country’s most acclaimed poker players, Fabrice Soulier and Benjamin Pollak were denied the opportunity to play the first-ever edition of the GPM by their sponsors Everest Poker and Betclic.
As the organizer of the GPM and owner of the GPI Alex Dreyfus explained, the two poker rooms did not agree with some of the competition’s rules, namely the organizer’s decision not to allow the display of any poker brand during the event.
"I am very disappointed about the behavior of their sponsors," Dreyfus told PokerNews. "It’s sad because Soulier and Pollak are French players and because it's almost a French event if you consider that I am French too."
"I wanted to believe in France’s poker community but unluckily I was wrong," Dreyfus wrote one week ago on the French poker forum ClubPoker.
"We are not going to accept the logos of individual sponsors – whether those are gaming companies or not – in the same way as the individual sponsorships of football players are not allowed during the football’s World Cup," Dreyfus went on.
In Dreyfus' opinion the absence of sponsors is crucial to give legitimacy to the event and also to create an opportunity for non-gaming brands to see some potential in the live poker industry and bring new liquidity in the system.
"My relationship is only with the players because they are the ones involved in the national team, I have no commercial agreements with online gaming sponsors," Dreyfus continued. "My idea is to create an edition of the world cup that will allow us to attract non-gambling sponsors in the future." Dreyfus concluded.
The 2015 Global Poker Masters to take place during the EPT Malta
Dreyfus' new ambitious creation will be held at the Hilton hotel in St. Julian's, Malta, right while the first-ever European Poker Tour (EPT) Malta will invade the Portomaso Casino.
"There is no buy-in for the event. We want to create an international competition where players are playing for pride, for their country and for the love of the game," Dreyfus explained.
Thought to be the first real poker's world cup, the GPM is an invitational event that is set to bring to the table some of the world’s best tournament players.
Among the names that will take part to the event there are the Americans Olivier Busquet and Dan Smith, Germany’s Ole Schemion and George Danzer, Italy’s Dario Sammartino and Mustapha Kanit, U.K’s Jack Salter and Sam Trickett.