Introducing the OPL: Online Poker League

2 years ago
Online Poker League
17:37
09 Nov

The World’s biggest Online Poker League has just been announced. With over 50 online events, $10k leaderboard and over $20k in added prizes, it's an innovative project which aims to bring together the best elements of the most successful online formats.

The Online Poker League (OPL) has ambitious plans to combine multi-site play, ‘live’ Twitch streaming and YouTube broadcasts, online poker communities and competitive leader-board rankings offering big money prizes.


The Competition

Leagues are basically very easy to follow: simple leader-boards where everyone can see who’s doing well and who is floundering, with a big cherry or two on top for the winners.

The OPL is following a traditional league model, where the top 100 will win cash prizes totaling $10,000. A decent chunk of change for a start-up league, and it will likely increase if the league takes off. Visit the OPL rankings.

Each player’s top 10 results from all the events they play will create their position in the OPL rankings. Very reasonable, considering there are over 50 scheduled events on offer over the 2 months of play at a wide range of poker rooms. Top 7 results from 10 and such-like are always off-putting to players, who can’t always commit to such a hectic schedule and end up falling by the way-side. But this innovative structure means players aren’t ‘locked in’ to playing every single event.

Some of the eligible OPL poker rooms include - Full Tilt Poker, WilliamHill, bet365, PartyPoker, Unibet, StanJames, Betfair, TigerGaming, ACR and more.

Aside from the $10k league leader board, there’s the individual events themselves, which, according to the league’s blurb, are “worth an average $500 in added value - We're adding crazy gadgets like iPads, Hoverboards, XBOX's, PS4's, Apple Watches, and huge chunks of added cash to each and every tournament.”

In short, individual events by themselves will be an attractive proposition for any amateur online player, as significant added prizes are thrown in.


Innovative Diversity

An impressive innovation of OPL is that they’ve somehow managed to get the likes of FullTilt, PartyPoker, William Hill, Unibet, Americas Card Room and a host of other big-names to sign with the league, hosting exclusive events for its players.

This is something which nobody has managed before – other poker leagues have tended to stick to one site – so the OPL has a massive chance here to make something major happen.

So far they have set a 50 event, 2-month schedule starting on November 15th with a $5 William Hill NLHE event (which offers an added incentive of an Xbox for the winner) and later the same day we see AmericasCardRoom enter the fray with $250 cash added $5 tournament.

With 9 events across 8 different cardrooms in the first week, the OPL is evidently looking to hit the ground running.

So far so good – big name sites, big prizes, big ideas – but what else will the OPL bring to the table?


Twitch Streaming

This has become one of the most popular ways to follow poker online, and the OPL has big plans to broadcast all of their league events. “Every tournament will be streamed live on Twitch TV PokerTube channel with commentary” they say.

Now this is the kind of approach which will work wonders in my estimation – bringing an interactive-ness which will help to engage the players and those thinking of participating in the OPL.

Jason Somerville – aka ‘jcarverpoker’ – proved this year that there are tens of thousands of online poker fans eager to watch, listen and engage in poker tournaments which offer an insight into what’s going on. If the OPL get the right blend of commentary and discussion going it should boost their brand hugely.

Which brings us unto the social factor of the Online Poker League...


Social & Community

Always a big part of any venture nowadays, the OPL will integrate with some major poker communities, including PokerTube, Poker.Org, PokerVIP and PokerPlayer Magazine.

OPL has plans to expand their league to even more independent communities and social poker groups in the future, making the league a truly community-based online experience.

This will undoubtedly prove key for the league’s success. The Nuts poker league is an example of a truly successful live format league in the UK, played primarily across pubs & bars for amateur players.

OPL looks to emulate that kind of style online, with players from communities coming together to discuss, dissect and troll whatever event or league they are taking part in.

Doubtless there will be a regular FB account and Twitter-feed to run alongside it, since the operators are viewing their OPL as a ‘Community’ of sorts; different brands involved, a variety of media to push the league forward, and a competitive league with many events.

Additionally, both YouTube and PokerTube itself will see the broadcasts uploaded afterwards which ought to increase the league’s chances of success if done properly.


Summary

Innovative ideas, big-name backers, great prizes, professional poker people involved, contemporary social media accounted for and schedules already in place for everything.

The Online Poker League (OPL) seems to tick all the right boxes and some new ones too – whether it will succeed where others have failed remains to be seen, but I for one hope they do. Poker really needs this kind of modern, communal and creative approach if it hopes to expand.


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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