As you may or may not have heard, after fifteen seasons, I am leaving the World Poker Tour. The WPT will always have a special place in my heart as I was there from the beginning.
Much of who I am and my widespread notoriety in the poker world is because I’ve been seen on television around the globe on the WPT for the past fifteen years. It was a great ride that I will always treasure.
In life and business, things change over time and things have changed for me. partypoker and the WPT have taken a fork in the road so to speak, in terms of business, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to continue to work for both companies. I was offered the position of becoming Chairman of partypoker and simply put, it’s an opportunity and challenge that I didn’t want to pass up.
You may not know, but I’ve worked for partypoker longer than I’ve worked for the WPT. I played a significant role in starting partypoker, beginning with the development of the software to the launch of the site on August 1, 2001. In a way, I feel like partypoker is one of my children. I watched it being born, and it was so much fun to see it grow to the #1 online poker site in the world within a few years. Because of its growth, the company went public in June 2005, the largest float on the London Stock Exchange in years. Then, on September 29, 2006, disaster struck in the form of Congress passing UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act which made it illegal to fund online gaming sites). As a public traded company, the partypoker owners felt they had no choice but to suspend all real money gaming in the U.S. market (which was 78% of our business at the time). It was heartbreak time for everyone in the company.
A little more history: In November 2009, PartyGaming bought the WPT. In March 2011, BWIN bought PartyGaming to form Bwin.Party, the largest publicly traded online firm. In Nov 2013, a few states approved online gaming and the company was awarded an online gaming license in the U.S. (New Jersey). In June 2015, the WPT was acquired by Ourgame International Holdings and in Sept 2015, GVC Holdings bought Bwin.Party. What’s that mean to you? Good news, that’s what! partypoker is going all-in with a new Mission Statement that will outline benefits to the players, plans to improve the site, and host the partypoker LIVE tour. As Chairman, it will be my job to see the Mission Statement (which I believe players will love) is completed and maintained.
I haven’t been this excited about partypoker since we put on the original partypoker MILLION in March 2002. Management has proven to me how dedicated they are to provide opportunities for players that are unequaled anywhere. I believe the potential growth of partypoker in the future is astronomical, and our goal is to become the #1 online poker site again. Yes, it’s a lofty goal, but it’s ‘doable’. If we can achieve our Mission Statement, I believe players will appreciate, respect, support, and be loyal to us. And please don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone at partypoker with suggestions that you believe will improve the site or the partypoker LIVE experience. We would love your input/feedback.
The partypoker LIVE events the past couple of months have ‘wowed’ the poker world. They guaranteed a six million pound prize pool event at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, England and five million at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal with a million guaranteed to the winners – and both events far surpassed the guarantees! There was a buzz at those events that I haven’t seen at a poker tournament in a long time. I talked to a lot of players and they really appreciate partypoker going out on a limb to guarantee that kind of money. And we certainly appreciated the support of the players to make these guarantees!
I’m excited – and you should be too – as there are plenty more of these partypoker LIVE $5 million guaranteed prize pool events with $1 million guaranteed to the winner coming up. The next one is in Sochi, Russia in September followed by one in Punta Cana in November with even more guarantees in side events and high roller events. Yes! partypoker LIVE is going to resort destinations with poker tournaments featuring life-changing money for most. As a poker player, what more could you want? And the beauty is that there are opportunities for players of all levels to win packages for these and other amazing events on partypoker.com. Go to the partypoker LIVE webpage for more details.
As Chairman, I look forward to achieving our Mission Statement, working with the partypoker staff, working with partypoker LIVE President John Duthie, and most importantly, working with and meeting you, the player. I’ve got confidence that you’ll be extremely pleased with the opportunities that will be forthcoming at partypoker. I hope to see you soon on the partypoker LIVE tour.
There are definitely exciting times ahead. Thank you for your support of partypoker.
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