Just weeks after PartyPoker announced its new LIVE global tour, the company reveals that John Duthie signed a five-year deal with the company to serve as its president. Duthie may be familiar to many poker
Who is John Duthie?
Duthie was the man behind the EPT, responsible for its inception and quick rise to success. The longtime poker player followed his passion to PokerStars and launched his brand of European-specific live poker tournaments that became one of the leading brands in its field.
The Londoner founded the tour in 2004 and took PokerStars from an online poker giant to a leader in the live event arena as well. Duthie used his background in television and poker to create a tour that met the needs of a variety of players, and he then translated that into a popular television show that aired in Europe and beyond.
The success of the tour was evident in its ever-increasing registration numbers in the first dozen years. The first EPT event in 2004 was in Barcelona, and there were 229 players in the Main Event. The entire first season attracted 1,468 players and awarded nearly €5 million. Over the course of a handful of seasons, the tour had grown exponentially, absorbing the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, adding new stops almost every season, and hosting Grand Final events in Monte Carlo each year that awarded millions of Euros in the Main Event alone.
At the end of 2011, however, Duthie chose not to renew his contract with PokerStars, opting to move on to other adventures and spend more time enjoying the game as a player instead of an executive. His resignation did not stop the EPT, which went on to complete 12 full seasons and fold into a new tour at the end of 2016, in the midst of its 13th season.
Bringing Order to a Confusing LIVE Start
When the PartyPoker LIVE tour was announced, it looked to be a welcome alternative to series that tend to be more regional in scope. And with the removal of the EPT from the European circuit, LIVE had the opportunity to replace it and provide competition to other tours like the World Poker Tour and PokerStars’ new championship and festival series.
However, the rollout of the schedule and details of what tours are included under the overall LIVE umbrella were less than straightforward. LIVE was said to be tied in with the PartyPoker Millions, of which there is a general category and a North American one, as well as a newly-added stop in Sochi. Supposedly, the first stop of LIVE was scheduled for Playground Poker in Montreal, Canada, but the Sochi event takes place earlier on the calendar. And the Grand Prix live series was tied in as well.
At this point, the schedule looks to begin with the PartyPoker Million Sochi events from March 23-27, followed by PartyPoker Grand Prix Austria and then PartyPoker Millions at Dusk Till Dawn – both in April. The PartyPoker Grand Prix Canada and Germany events overlap from the end of April to May 1, but a PartyPoker Million North America will run in Canada from May 5-10 and a PartyPoker Million Germany from June 1-5.
The lack of a cohesive and clear LIVE schedule makes it tough for media to report, much less for players to follow and plan to participate.
Hopefully, Duthie can bring some clear-headedness and order to the picture. If the EPT was any indication, there will be a smooth-running tour and schedule in the works very soon.
Well-Rested and Energized Duthie to the Rescue
As an artist, creator, and entrepreneur, as well as a proven record with poker tournament success, Duthie is the key to helping PartyPoker tie up its loose ends.
In the announcement, he noted that he has been impressed with the company’s progress and growth so far and looks forward to what he can bring to future endeavors: “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.”
Duthie also discussed a few requirements for establishing a successful tour and inspiring growth. First, the people involved in it – organizers, executives, staff – must love poker players. And the casinos must love poker players and desire a positive experience for them. Second, the events must be fun as well as financially lucrative: “The aim is to have huge player-friendly events with very, very large prize pools, large guarantees, good food, good staff, and just fun. If you lose, you go away thinking, ‘Actually, I had a great time, and I’ll go back.’ It’s more about the event and the experience than just the money.”