All major sports leagues had to start somewhere. Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA, all were born out of other leagues. The Epic Poker League is attempting to take the game of poker mainstream, and have it compete with the likes of tennis and golf.
The league is commissioned by one of the best players in poker history, Annie Duke. The legendary player believes that for poker to be relevant, it must showcase the best talent in the sport on a grand stage. That stage will be CBS, who has signed on to broadcast the league.
“This is the one piece that’s kind of missing from the poker landscape right now,” said Duke. “which is something for the best players in the world to compete against the best players in the world.”
The professional players may sign on for this type of structure after watching a recent surge in amateurs competing at high levels. Unlike in other sports, amateurs in poker that understand the game have a legitimate shot at beating the pros. It is one of the only sports where in an individual tournament, amateurs can compete.
The pros would like there to be more prestige for winning or cashing in multiple high profile tournaments. In order to play in the Epic League, players would have to have fared well in the points system that is being developed for the league. Recent results will also count towards deciding whether a player can compete in Epic or not.
Pat O’Brien, who has a long history of sports commentating, and currently hosts as sports talk show on Fox Sports Radio, will host the Epic shows. Professional poker player and commentator Ali Nejad will join O’Brien on the telecasts, offering insight into the minds of the players competing at the tables.
The World Series of Poker has been the driving force behind poker in the past decade. The WSOP has partnered with online poker sites to provide an outlet for the best players in the world. Even in these forums, however, all that is required to enter tournaments is cash. If a player comes up with the buy-in, they are admitted into a tournament, whether they are professionals or amateurs.