Every player who signs on to a new brand is talked about as having made a big move, but in truth, lots of sponsorships that happen in poker are a risk, sometimes on both sides of the negotiating table.
However, when the former creator of the European Poker Tour John Duthie announced earlier this year that he was taking the reins at partypoker as their newly-appointed president of live poker, heads turned.
An innovator as much as he was always a player, partypoker may have made their most important signing yet as they continue to grow and work toward the first date on their partypoker LIVE Tour. PokerNews sat down with Duthie to find out why the film director and poker legend is back in the chair for what may be the most important job of his career.
“It’s simple,” he said. “When PokerStars decided to shelve the EPT brand, I was approached by partypoker. They had the idea [of me joining], asked me to think about it for a while, saying that they thought there was an opportunity for a player-focused, player-friendly tour. I said ‘Look, if it’s definitely going to be friendly and focused on players. When you’re a poker player and you’re going to tournament and putting your money into the prize pool, really you’re giving the privilege of running that tournament over to the venue. Without the players, nobody has a job.’”
“WITHOUT THE PLAYERS, NOBODY HAS A JOB.”
Players used to have control over poker rather than the other way round. Duthie is passionate about reversing the current trend; it’s integral to everything he believes.
“These poker groups seem to have forgotten that about the players,” Duthie said. “The World Series of Poker was originally eight players throwing their money into a hat and having a poker tournament. They tipped the dealer, but there was never any doubt in Binion’s that they were running that poker tournament on behalf of the players. I really want to try to get that back again, because it’s a question of respect.”
Duthie said that even the European Poker Tour was having trouble with this mentality.
“The EPT particularly over the last few years lost touch with that ethos,” he said. “It started to become a case of them saying ‘We’re running tournaments on our behalf; if you don’t turn up, we don’t care.’ I think that’s a really bad way to run a tournament.”
Duthie has plenty of experience calling the shots. Far from cutting his teeth in poker, Duthie was a film director for the long-running television drama, Hollyoaks. He fondly remembers his days living on the set of sister-soap Brookside. Read More