Alexandre Dreyfus and GPI not honoring “Challenger Cup” WSOP Package Winners

On Tuesday, June 9th 2015, I received a message from a professional poker player named Erwann Pecheux. He informed me about GPI’s Challenger Cup competition and ranking system. I did not know anything about Challenger Cup when he told me about it. Erwann informed me that he was the #1 player in the world in the Challenger Cup in 2014, and told me he was supposed to receive a 2015 Main Event package, but hadn’t been contacted at all by GPI. He then attempted several times to contact Alexandre Dreyfus via email and personal message. Eventually, Dreyfus responded, but told Erwann that no packages were going to be given to 2014 players, and that no packages were going to be awarded in 2015 either. It was at this time that Erwann reached out to me.

He told me that I was #2 in the world, and #1 in North America in 2014 in Challenger Cup. The GPI press release, as well as the current GPI website page for Challenger Cup, states that 3 winners (1 from each of the 3 qualifying continents) will earn a WSOP Main Event package. He asked me if I knew about this or if I had been contacted by GPI and I confirmed that I had not.

I did some research on this matter, and found that several major poker media outlets had posted about Challenger Cup from the moment it was launched until now. I was surprised that I had not heard about it. I found out that I also won an American Poker Award for this, but was never contacted about the award or presented it. I then saw that out of the top 10 for 2015, 4 are my close friends and another is my brother Ralph (I personally know 14 of the current top 25 for Challenger Cup 2015). 2 of the few that I spoke with,
knew about Challenger Cup, knew about the prize packages offered, and were actively chasing this reward. I told them that GPI was not honoring 2014 winners so there’s no way that 2015 winners would be rewarded either. They were very upset just like I was. I told them that I would contact Dreyfus myself.

Erwann had another round of emails with Dreyfus and forwarded them to me. Although Dreyfus had originally said there were no prizes, he changed his tune and informed Erwann that indeed he/we did win the package, but that it was subject to terms and conditions. These terms were that our buyin was a “stake” from GPI and not a prize. If we redeemed the $10k seat it would be under a 35%/65%GPI staking deal that included media and patch requirements. These terms and conditions had never been posted anywhere on the GPI website at anytime ever, and still were not posted even after the last email was sent from Dreyfus to Erwann explaining the terms. I searched for terms and conditions throughout the website and they were not posted.

I then emailed Dreyfus, and in that email I have a quote:

“3 winners (one from the 3 different continents) were to receive a package at the end of the 2014 year. I was never notified about this and neither were the other winners. This year the challenger cup once again is running, and claims to be awarding the same thing in 2015. Can u please address this? We would like our packages to be honored, as we plan on participating in this year’s main event. We are looking forward to claiming our prizes that we earned last year.”

Dreyfus responded to me and the following are his quotes:

“The ‘competition/promotion’ ended up 31st of december 2014, the prizes not obviously”

“We haven’t make any statement re: Challenger Cup 2015 so I don’t know where this is coming from”

He says there has been no statement that anyone in 2015 will be rewarded, but there is evidence in a twoplustwo thread dated May 31st, 2015 (just weeks ago), that has Dreyfus responding to someone with:

“We do have GPI challenger Cup for events only <$2000. winner of the global one is earning a $10k ME WSOP”

He concludes the first email to me with:

“- we do pay upfront (end of june/early of july) the $10,000 buy for 2015 WSOP Buy-in, with a ‘staking’ deal where you pay 100% of the buy-in but get only 65% of the winnings.
– you have to commit to a certain amount of interviews/social media/etc ….
GPI and myself, are committed to promote players and invest in some opportunities as you can see, I’m not sure what the others ‘guys’ said, but rather ask us directly than listening to gossips.

Best,

Alex”

In his original emails with Erwann, he said he was not awarding any prizes at all. Now, after Erwann and I both contacted him, he made this offer of a staking deal with patch and media obligation as the prize. At the end of the email, he insults me by suggesting I was listening to gossips which is disrespectful, and undermines all the research I did on the matter.

A full day later he Alex sends me another email:

“hi Aaron,

Mistake from my team, its not 65 but 55% (they wrote 45+65 =100 … which is unlikely :) )

www.globalpokerindex.com/challenger-cup/terms/

Sorry for the misunderstanding :)

Alex”

I respond:

“Those terms and conditions were just added yesterday and I can prove it. This is extremely insulting.”

After Erwann and I had addressed Dreyfus about our Challenger Cup prizes, and before he sent this last email, GPI added a brand new “terms and conditions” link on the Challenger Cup page. The day before, and throughout the entire existence of the website, there were no terms and conditions posted. It said terms and conditions can be found on GPI’s website, but they were nowhere to be found. I have screenshots of the challenger cup page before and after the “terms and conditions” were added. Not to mention, he changed the staking % to 55/45.

It seemed like Dreyfus was aware that his integrity could be compromised with this evidence of adding the terms and conditions for challenger cup the very next day after Erwann and myself contacted him repeatedly.

The new terms and conditions link doesn’t even match up with the page. The new link says that 2 winners will be awarded (perhaps bc 2 of us addressed him about it), while the current page, and previous press releases and articles state that 3 winners are rewarded. In original emails from Dreyfus to Erwann, Dreyfus only addresses his package, omits that multiple packages were to be rewarded, and converses with Erwann about a single rewarded package (that he wasn’t even going to honor).

Then today, (June 11, in response to my last email where I say “Those terms and conditions were just added yesterday and I can prove it. This is extremely insulting.”), he emails me this:

“They were not addedn but published.
Listen, i’m flexible on the % as I need a counter party of the investment, obviously. We are not a charity business, and our priority is to promote poker and poker players. This is a misunderstanding and wrong communication., but nothing in set in stone. Happy to be flexible. Wwe are gentlemen. I need to focus on others things and you are very good friend of GPI and Eric Danis. No drama, i’m investing in poker. So, let’s consider 2 possibilities :

– I pay the buy-in as I already said and ask for 30% of the winnings, capped to 300k..
Or
– I give you 3k and I get nothing.

Take your time, i’m travelling with my. Wifew from tomorrow but i’ll take the time to answer to close this issue.

Alex
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.”

Dreyfus now addresses that I’m a friend of GPI and Eric Danis, but he never said that before I said that I can prove he added the terms and conditions link that day. He is also now willing to “work with me”, but before he wasn’t. Perhaps because I know about this unethical maneuver. He also ADMITS that the terms were never posted, or “published” as he says, until June 10th, the day after Erwann and I contacted him.

So this is where we are at.

As a wrap-up, my issues with this are, but not limited to, the following:

-Myself and the other two winners were never contacted by GPI at any point about our reward
-Dreyfus telling Erwann in earlier emails several times that there was not going to be any reward to any player for 2014
-Dreyfus responding to me, and notifying me that I will get a 65/35 staking deal and not a package (as stated)
-Dreyfus stating that we had patch and media requirements with this staking deal
-Dreyfus responding unprofessionally to me
-Dreyfus changing the stake % from 65/35 to 55/45 in another email
-The terms and conditions link being added the day after Erwann and I send him multiple emails and messages
-Dreyfus stating that there is no prize for 2015 Challenger Cup players, when the website still states that there will once again be 3 winners.
-Dreyfus stating in a two plus two thread on May 31, 2015 that there was indeed a prize for Challenger Cup in 2015, but on June 10th in an email to me, he denies it and states that he doesn’t know where it is coming from”

I do not just want to receive the reward I earned. I want all the grinders that battle in buyins lower than $2000 to have their shot at these prestigious prizes. It’s something very special when a humble grinder (like Nick Pupillo, who is currently leading 2015 Challenger Cup, and who was under the impression that he was chasing a main event package this year) gets acknowledged on a global level for their hard work. Players don’t get too much attention at the smaller buyins, and the whole point of Challenger Cup is to reward these guys. So I don’t see how or why GPI, and Alex Dreyfus, would refuse to honor the 2014 prizes or the 2015 prizes. It should be offered into the future, if GPI is trying to accomplish what it says they are.

I really just want to get this issue resolved. I don’t want any bad blood with GPI or with Dreyfus, I really just want the packages we won to be awarded to us, and packages awarded to the 2015 players currently in the chase. Beyond that, it’s up to GPI what they want to do. At this point, Dreyfus and GPI have already publicly committed to 2014 and 2015.

I hope that this read gains some interest from the poker community. I wouldn’t waste my time with all this if I didn’t think it was a very serious issue that needed to be addressed. The small buyin players are being dismissed by the entity that was created to honor and award them. It’s unethical and downright disrespectful.

Thanks for reading.

Aaron

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Articles from poker medias about Challenger Cup:

http://www.globalpokerindex.com/challenger-cup/

http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/06/global-poker-index-launches-gpi-challenger-cup-18504.htm

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-poker-index-launches-its-mid-stakes-rankings-with-the-gpi-challenger-cup-262862261.html

http://www.globalpokerindex.com/pecheux-holds-huge-lead-atop-gpi-challenger-cup-race/

http://www.americanpokerawards.com/challenger-cup-winner-2014/

http://pokerfuse.com/news/industry/2014-06-12-global-poker-index-launches-mid-stakes-rankings/

2P2 thread where Dreyfus states 2015 Winner is awarded a seat:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29/news-views-gossip-brought-you-online-poker-report/wsop-gpi-work-revamp-wsop-poy-calculations-controversy-twitter-ensues-1533048/index5.html

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