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Global Poker League: A Look at the New York Rounders and San Francisco Rush

Bryn Kenney and Faraz Jaka
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  • Take a closer look at the members of Global Poker League franchises the New York Rounders and San Francisco Rush.

The Global Poker League (GPL) looks set to take the poker world by storm thanks to its unique format and the bringing together some of the world’s best poker talent. Previously, we took a closer look at the rosters of the Rome Emperors and the Montreal Nationals, now the New York Rounders and San Francisco Rush go under the spotlight.

New York Rounders

New York Rounders
New York Rounders
PlayerLive tournament winnings
Jason Mercier$16,422,563
Tom Marchese$12,653,422
Kevin MacPhee$5,444,368
Jason Wheeler$2,712,154

Manager: Bryn Kenney with $9,184,907 in live tournament winnings

PokerNews’ Editor-in-Chief, Donnie Peters, penned his thoughts about the GPL draft and stated he believes team managers needed to not only select their rosters based on a player’s ability, but also on their marketability and the personality of the players. Bryn Kenney seems to have done that judging by his team being, in my opinion, one of the stronger rosters and looks to be the most fun to be around.

Kenney himself is a colourful character and one who is well-known on the world poker circuit. With almost $9.2 million in live tournament winnings, Kenney certainly knows his way around a poker table. Kenney cut his teeth in the online poker world, so will be able to adapt to the possibly fast-paced format the GPL is thought to be. This is also true of his four picks so far.

Jason Mercier
Jason Mercier

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier was Kenney’s first pick and nobody would deny that Mercier is a catch. Hugely successful both in online and live poker, and across a number of poker variants, Mercier is one of the greats of the game. Mercier is used to being in the spotlight and playing under the glare of the television camera will not faze him one iota.

Pick number two was Tom Marchese who may be better known to some of you as “kingsofcards,” which was his online alias. Marchese is more focussed on live poker these days, preferring to play in the $25,000 High Roller events at Aria, Las Vegas instead of travelling the poker circuit. It will be interesting to see how any travelling effects Marchese because his last non-US cash, not including the PCA, was back in 2010 when he finished seventh in the European Poker Tour (EPT) London Main Event.

Kevin MacPhee
Kevin MacPhee

Kevin MacPhee is another player who could be entertaining during GPL broadcasts. While he is usually focussed while playing, MacPhee is willing to participate in interviews and always comes across as a player who likes to have fun away from the tables. MacPhee has almost $5.45 million in live tournament cashes, including an EPT title and two World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, and more than $7.1 million in the online arena.

Jason Wheeler was Kenney’s fourth pick and another players who travels the world playing WSOP, and EPT events when he is not busy grinding out the hours at the virtual felt. Wheeler, 38, was ranked as a high as second in the world for online tournaments in 2013 and has almost $7.15 million in online cashes. In the live arena, Wheeler has amassed $2.712 million in cashes, including a recent WSOP circuit win in Las Vegas worth $323,236.

Kenney is obviously going to pick himself as one of the wildcards, leaving one spot to fill. One thing is for certain, Kenney will not shy away from picking another colourful character for his roster, perhaps one of the players that Peters described as one of the “bad boys” like Justin “stealthmunk” Schwartz. Another possibility, although he didn’t make himself eligible, would be someone like Dylan Linde who is close friends of MacPhee, plays well live and online and would slot into that empty berth easily.

San Francisco Rush

San Francisco Rush
San Francisco Rush
PlayerLive tournament winnings
Phil Galfond$2,339,619
Tony Gregg$10,854,878
Kitty Kuo$1,092,510
Anton Wigg$2,016,044

Manager: Faraz Jaka with $5,066,962 in live tournament winnings

Faraz Jaka seems to have taken the approach of selecting players who are both skilled at online and live poker, mirroring himself. With just shy of $4 million in online winnings and almost $5.1 million in live tournament winnings, Jaka is one of the most successful players in the world today.

Phil Galfond was the first pick for Jaka and it’s no wonder when you consider his poker prowess. Galfond is predominately an online cash game player, and a pot limit Omaha one at that, but he has a very analytical approach to the game and will be a key team member away from the tables, that is for sure.

Kitty Kuo
Kitty Kuo

Jaka selected Tony Gregg as his second pick and it is easy to see why. Gregg may not be the most prolific of poker players when it comes to volume, but he has an almost unnatural ability to go deep in a large percentages of tournaments that he graces his presence with. You may recall that Gregg won the $111,111 One Drop High Roller at the 2013 WSOP for $4,830,619, a result that makes up around half of his live tournament winnings. Online, Gregg has $1.7 million in winnings, showing he can adapt to the different formats of poker.

Kitty Kuo may not have been the name every manager scrambled to secure, but Jaka made her his number three pick. Kuo has been a regular on the EPT for some while now and although she may only have two six-figure scores to her name so far, she is completely fearless at the felt and will be a formidable opponent for anyone facing her in the GPL. Kuo’s flamboyant style and willingness to chat at the tables is sure to be a hit with viewers when the GPL hits the airwaves.

Anton Wigg
Anton Wigg

Anton Wigg was the fourth pick for Jaka and could be an absolute steal because the dashing Swede is a superb poker players. The former EPT Copenhagen champion has cashed for more than $2 million in live poker tournaments and an additional $6.24 million in the online world, where he is better-known as “antesvante.”

Of all of the franchises, the wildcard slot of the San Francisco Rush is the hardest to guess. Jaka has thought outside of the box when picking his team so I’m going to take a stab in the dark and suggest Sam Greenwood.

Stay tuned to UK & Ireland PokerNews in the coming weeks as we preview the rest of the 2016 GPL franchises.

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