Inside Look at Fantasy Poker Manager

Date: 2013-07-08
Author: Jason Glatzer

PokerSoftware caught up with Ophélie Laffuge of Fantasy Poker Manager today in the hallway at the Rio Convention Center right after busting out on Day 2 of our World Series of Poker event.  As I am a huge fan of Fantasy Poker Manager, I am very pleased that Laffuge had time for an interview about the site.

Fantasy poker is similar to many other games where you draft a team of players based on a salary cap.  You can then join leagues, challenge your friends, and root on your favorite players to victory.

PokerSoftware: How did the idea of launching Fantasy Poker Manager come about?

Ophélie Laffuge: It started last summer when Alex Dreyfus bought the Global Poker Index, which is a rankings website for live poker tournament players.  He wants to promote poker as a sport and having an official rankings website is one of the key steps to making it look like a sport for everyone in the mainstream.

Then, we thought about fantasy poker because, for every major sport, you have a fantasy game.  We thought that would be a good way to promote poker as a sport to the mainstream world.

PokerSoftware: What was the first event your game worked with?

Ophélie Laffuge: We officially launched the app to the public in February 2013 and released our first beta version in January for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.  The first beta version was just for the staff and developers and we started to do some tests during the PCA.  Our first tournament for the public was the World Poker Tour event in February.

Since February, we signed agreements with the WPT and WSOP to become the official fantasy game of both tours.

PokerSoftware: Can you tell us about your presence here at the WSOP?

Ophélie Laffuge: We had to be here during the WSOP since this is where all of the players are.  We signed the partnership with the WSOP four or five months ago and have a booth right here in the main hallway.  That is the best way to talk to players directly and tell them about the game.  It is still a new game and most people do not actually know about it, so that is why we are here.  Most people we speak with find the idea pretty exciting.

Since we are the official WSOP fantasy game, we developed some special features for the WSOP.  We launched an official WSOP league and Dave Tuchmann, who is commenting on the live final table stream, launched his own private league.  He talks about how the league and his team are doing during the live stream.  Overall, we couldn’t miss the WSOP; we had to be here.

PokerSoftware: How many players are currently playing on Fantasy Poker Manager?

Ophélie Laffuge: We have several thousand players and are growing day by day with new registrations.  We are still in the beta version, but hopefully by August we will release our official first season game with the new start of the new WPT season.  That is quite exciting!

PokerSoftware: How many poker players are currently available to be selected to a fantasy team?

Ophélie Laffuge: We have a database of almost 1,500 players.  They include the top 1,000 players ranked in the Global Poker Index, which is why both websites are quite related and linked together.  We also include some celebrities like Doyle Brunson, who is not in the top 1,000 in the GPI anymore since he does not playing that many tournaments, but he is such a legend that we had to add him to the game.

Another example is Michael Phelps.  He is not ranked in the top 1,000, but he was here, so we thought it could be quite fun for people to draft him.  So, we have the ability to add players like that.  All sponsored players are featured in the game, even if they are not in the top 1,000.  We added more women as well since we thought it would be nice to have some women.

PokerSoftware: If someone falls out of the top 1,000 of the GPI, are they still available?

Ophélie Laffuge: Yes, once they qualify, they can’t be removed from the game.

PokerSoftware: How has the reaction been from the poker players themselves?

Ophélie Laffuge: We have some professional poker players who are really big fans of the game like Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee and Mike "SirWatts" Watson.  If you check the rankings right now, they are in the top 10 in the general rankings.  They like to draft their teams and talk about it.  It is pretty exciting to see some professional players get into the game so much.

PokerSoftware: What’s up for Fantasy Poker Manager after the WSOP is over?

Ophélie Laffuge: We are going to close the beta version and reset all of the rankings.  I believe the first event will be WPT Cyprus in August, which is the start of the official first season since we will not be in beta anymore.  We will still be partnering with the WPT, which means we will have a booth for every WPT tournament in Europe and the USA.  We will have someone on our staff there to talk to players about the game.  Next year, we will be at the WSOP again.  That is just the beginning.

PokerSoftware: Will there be software changes once Fantasy Poker Manager is out of beta?

Ophélie Laffuge: We are still discussing that, but we are going to be adding a few new features.  For instance, players will be able to choose a captain on their team and his score will always be double.  We will also have features such as players on sale and give discounts on special players if we want to highlight them.  It is working well so far, so the game will remain the same with features like challenging your friends and playing the poker quiz and we'll also add a few new features.

To play Fantasy Poker Manager for free, check out

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