The first-ever Global Poker League (GPL) will kick off during the first quarter of 2016, when 12 teams from America, Europe and Asia are expected to join the league. The league has an innovative format, all form part of CEO Alexandre Dreyfus’ vision to ‘sportify’ poker, by turning it into an event able to appeal to a larger public, just like any other sport.
The inaugural Global Poker League Draft took place last week Thursday, when the league’s 12 franchise managers selected their squads at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California and GPI chief Alex Dreyfus reached out Holly Sonders, as a part of his long-held belief that he can and will sportify poker. Bringing the personality and sports knowledge of Sonders to GPL Draft Day was a piece of the puzzle that no one knew was missing until Dreyfus made the announcement.
The draft was hosted in person by Kara Scott but she was joined on the sidelines of the event by Holly Sonders, who caught the team managers at various points throughout the draft to capture their thoughts and feelings for the viewing audience.
Sonders was a late, but crucial addition to the GPL who needs to capture a mainstream audience which isn’t necessarily acquainted with most of the names in poker in these post-boom years. Sonders therefore provides a much-needed familiar face and name for people’s first exposure to the league, because the sporting world knows Holly Sonders – and here are few facts you need to know about her:
She was a four-year all-district golfer and four-year starting point guard at Marysville High School in Ohio before taking her talents to Michigan State. Among many achievements with the Spartans, she was an Academic All-Big 10 selection and earned the team’s most improved player award as a junior.
Meanwhile, she made sure to pick up a degree in journalism, which allowed her to combine her passions for reporting and sports. She became a star while working on the Golf Channel. Once there, she quickly rose in fame as one of the most popular figures in the sport, appearing on shows such as “Morning Drive,” “School of Golf” and “Playing Lessons with the Pros.” She left the Golf Channel for Fox in July 2014, as a sideline reporter and broadcaster, focusing mainly on golf and football.
She is one of Golf.Com’s Most Beautiful Women in Golf, the Golf.Com website annual feature recognizing her as the “most beautiful women in golf” in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
And now, the truth is: poker may not have been her game of choice in the past, but Sonders epitomizes sports passion. So that is what Dreyfus is looking for in his mission to sportify poker. And Holly Sonders was so excited to be a part of the Global Poker League’s Draft Day.
Photos via holly.sonders / Instagram.