In January, partypoker announced the establishment of partypoker LIVE, a new live global poker tour that it hopes will be able to find a niche amongst the established tours like the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker Circuit, and PokerStars Championship and Festival (well, the PokerStars tours aren’t exactly “established,” but they were born out of the European Poker Tour). Now partypoker LIVE has its new leader, as John Duthie has been announced as its President.
This is a significant hire for partypoker, as John Duthie was the founder and former CEO of the European Poker Tour, elevating it into an international tournament series on par with the World Poker Tour. Duthie’s contract with the EPT ran out at the close of 2011, at which point he stepped down from his position.
“We are thrilled that John has joined us at the beginning of this journey,” said partypoker’s Managing Director, Tom Waters, in a press release. “Very few people in the world have made such a significant contribution to poker and his experience, relationships and understanding of players will be a huge asset to us.”
“Our guarantees are ambitious but our marketing strategy is to provide value to players instead of investing money outside of the poker community and we are confident that with John’s guidance we can optimise this strategy for the benefit of the live poker market,” Waters added. “partypoker LIVE will offer a minimum of 5M GTD for 5K buy-in, 1M GTD for 1K buy-in and 500K GTD for 200 buy-in and we plan to visit as many continents and countries as possible.”
Per the press release, the following are the confirmed partypoker LIVE events so far:
partypoker Million Sochi [Sochi Casino & Resort] $1M GTE
partypoker Grand Prix Austria [CCC Montesino] €500K GTE
partypoker MILLIONS [Dusk Till Dawn] £6M GTE
Apr 25-May 1
partypoker Grand Prix Canada [Playground Poker Club] CA$500K GTE
Apr 27-May 1
partypoker Grand Prix Germany [King’s Casino] €500K GTE
partypoker Million North America [Playground Poker Club] CA$5M GTE
partypoker Million Germany [King’s Casino] €1m GTE
Duthie also expressed his excitement to start his new job:
I have been impressed with the progress of partypoker and in particular the number of trusted, experienced and well-respected individuals and organisations that have chosen to put their support behind the partypoker brand. I believe there is a gap in the market for an operator whose primary focus is poker and who will listen to, and work with, the poker community as this was something that was absolutely key to the growth and success of the EPT. I still love the game just as much as the first time I saw my first flop and I believe this passion will help partypoker LIVE become the largest and most fun poker tour in the world. I plan to enjoy myself immensely working with and meeting old friends.
In an interview with the partypoker blog, Duthie said that one of the keys to the tour will be the venues. In the ones selected so far, he sees card rooms that “are totally dedicated to poker and all run by people who love the game.”
“I think loving poker players is really fundamental. Some casinos don’t really like poker players, they don’t see them as being that much value to them. Whereas poker rooms and venues make a completely different atmosphere.”
“….whoever [sic] is running a tournament needs to remember that they’ve been given the privilege of running that tournament for the players,” Duthie explained. “It’s not about “us and them”; it’s about the players allowing us to run it on their behalf.”
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