Montreal Nationals Crowned 2016 Global Poker League Champions

On December 1st, the inaugural Global Poker League Championship reached its climax after the Montreal Nationals defeated the Berlin Bears to claim the title, as well as its $100,000 first place prize.
The Montreal Nationals team consisted of Marc-Andre Ladouceur (CAN), Mike McDonald (CAN), Martin Jacobson (SWE), Pascal Lefrancois (CAN), Xuan Liu (CAN), and Jason Lavallee (CAN), while representing the Berlin Bears was Phillip Gruissem (GER), Brian Rast (USA), Sorel Mizzi (CAN), Dominik Nitsche (GER), Jeffrey Gross (USA), Daniel Cates (USA), and Bill Perkins (USA).
The best-of-eleven battle was held at the GPL Arena in Las Vegas, with all the action taking place inside The Cube. The two teams eventually squared the competition at 5-5, before the final showdown subsequently saw Brian Rast (10-8) move all-in on an 8-4-Q-10-2 board, only to lose to Pascal Lefrancois’ holding pocket queens.
Following their victory, Montreal Nationals team member McDonald praised the GPL Championship and its creator Alexandre Dreyfus for attempting to turn poker into a spectator sport. As the 27 year-old WSOP bracelet holder explained:
“If we were watching Pascal at a final table for 10 times the stakes, we’d just be sitting there having a good time. Here we were .. nervous. This really made it about the poker rather than about the money, and I think that is kind of what the goal of sportifying poker was.”
Despite getting off to a slow start at the beginning of the year, and a few hiccups along the way, Season 1 of the GPL reached an exciting conclusion last week, and gave hope that next year’s competition may inspire more spectators to follow the action and so secure its future success. In the meantime, Dreyfus has hinted at a few improvements to come in 2017, including a reduced length season in order to “keep hype at a maximum”, as well as higher stake games, and a geographic expansion of the teams involved in the competition.

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