Partypoker LIVE has pulled on the talents of former EPT creator John Duthie, hoping that lightning can strike twice for the British pro poker player and television producer. Duthie will be the new director of the multimillion dollar tournament series.
At the start of 2017, partypoker announced that it would be launching a new poker tour. The new LIVE series of events will take place in various locations around the world. In addition to offering seven-figure prizepools and top prizes worth as much as £1 million ($1.25 million), partypoker is hoping to make the events all-round entertainment experiences.
Commenting on the concept, partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters explained that he wants to offer “value” as well as “holiday themed events.” As is always the case when internet operators offer brick-and-mortar events, partypoker LIVE will be made more accessible and affordable through its own online satellites.
Day Ones in Multiple
As well as satellites, partypoker will host as least one Day 1 online for players that don’t want to pay travel costs and risk not making it past the opening session. Although not a new concept, the decision to offer a more affordable way to play is in line with the current push by operators to appeal more to casual players.
In addition to making LIVE events a better value for players, Waters is hoping Duthie will bring some added sparkle to the events. When Duthie founded the EPT in 2004, he did so with one eye on how it could be most engaging for the masses.
After seeing the World Poker Tour (WPT) launch in 2002 and become a TV hit in the US, Duthie wanted to do something similar in Europe. From that idea, the EPT was born, and it soon became a legitimate alternative for professional players wanting high level tournament action outside of the WPT and WSOP.
The current event schedule is as follows:
- Mar 23-27 – $1,100 partypoker Million Sochi (Sochi Casino & Resort) $1M GTE
- Apr 6-10 – €225/$243 partypoker Grand Prix Austria (CCC Montesino) €500,000/$540,000 GTE
- Apr 18-23 -£5,300/$6,600 partypoker MILLIONS (Dusk Till Dawn) £6 million/$7.5 million GTE
- Apr 25-May 1 – CAD$220/$169 partypoker Grand Prix Canada (Playground Poker Club) CAD$500,000/$385,000 GTE
- Apr 27-May 1 – €225/$243 partypoker Grand Prix Germany (King’s Casino) €500,000/$540,000 GTE
- May 5-10 – CAD$5,300/$4,000 partypoker Million North America (Playground Poker Club) CAD$5 million/$3.8 million GTE
- Jun 1-5 – €1,100/$1,180 partypoker Million Germany (King’s Casino) €1 million/$1 million GTE
Part of the EPT’s appeal, aside from its prizepools, was the production value that went into each event. Glamorous locations and dramatic lighting, a focus on players as characters, and broadcast deals with major TV stations, including Channel 4 in the UK, made the EPT as much of an entertainment product as a poker series.
This dual appeal led to PokerStars purchasing the tour in 2011, before Duthie left his position in 2012. Now, five years later, Duthie is set to use his experience to turn partypoker LIVE into a series that’s as potentially lucrative as it is enjoyable for players of all skill levels.