John Duthie Becomes President of PartyPoker LIVE

PartyPoker’s move to reestablish itself as a major online and live poker brand has attracted a bit of notice this morning.  Party has announced that John Duthie, founder of the European Poker Tour (EPT) and long-time executive within the Rational Group / PokerStars brand of families, has just swapped corporate masters to become the new president of the recently launched PartyPoker LIVE global poker tour.

john-duthieIt’s a natural post for the well-regarded Duthie, who put together the EPT way back in 2004, growing it into Europe’s dominant live-poker series.  The EPT was a natural fit for Duthie’s organizational skills, following his previous career as a television director.  Duthie was an is a long-time poker player himself, with over $3 million in recorded career tourney winnings.

According to an announcement about the signing as posted on the PartyPoker blog, Duthie inked a five-year deal to head up PartyPoker LIVE, which was itself launched just last month.  The newly-created PartyPoker LIVE tour will retain the long-running PartyPoker Millions (held this year at Dusk Till Dawn in April) as its centerpiece event, but will buttress that with other Party-sponsored events around the globe.

To summarize the digression before returning to the Duthie signing, the PartyPoker LIVE series kicks off in late March with the PartyPoker Million Sochi in Russia.  Other LIVE events include a double dip at the Playground Poker Club near Montreal, Canada — Grand Prix North America event at the end of April and the PartyPoker Million North America as May begins.  Other announced LIVE events include Grand Prix Austria, Grand Prix Cork (Ireland), and PartyPoker Million Germany.

One unique twist for PartyPoker LIVE events is that Day 1 action will be held online (several days earlier) as well as live, with players thus having a chance to be much closer to the money if making the trip to the live venue.

Duthie gets to head all this up, as he takes over the reins of the startup tour.  Several additional events are likely to be added in late summer and early fall, as major international tours have generally shied away from scheduling events in June and early July, when the world’s best poker players congregate in Las Vegas for the WSOP>

As for joining PartyPoker LIVE as its president, Duthie had this to say:

“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.”

Tom Waters, PartyPoker’s Managing Director, also offered a lengthy quote that started by welcoming Duthie but then steered straight sideways into promotional matters.  From Waters, more or less… :

“We are thrilled that John has joined us at the beginning of this journey. 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. 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. All events will feature at least one Online Day 1 for players who have limited time to spend away from home or simply wish to reduce their expenses. We love our holiday themed events such as the Caribbean Poker Party and are planning more of these.”

What all that stuff has to do with Duthie’s signing is anyone’s guess, but hey, that’s what was offered.  Anyhow, PartyPoker LIVE looks to an aggressive launch this spring, one that’s sure to be helped by having the experienced Duthie at the helm.

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