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We sat down with our new partypoker LIVE President, John Duthie, to talk about his preparations for the global tour, how he’ll be using feedback from the poker community and why the partypoker players are his top priority.

  • How has your past experience prepared you for the challenges of running partypoker LIVE?

I think an understanding of players is the main thing. Being a player and knowing the players I’ve sensed a level of dissatisfaction recently, meaning that all of us can try to make the playing experience more enjoyable. By listening, more than anything else.

  • And when you listen, how will you be using poker community feedback in your new role?

Anything that any player has to say, I’ll happily listen to. To be honest, I’ve always listened to players. You can mould an event into something very successful with just good feedback. Listening, making changes and combining them with our own ideas can only be for the good.

  • What excites you most about your new role and why did you decide to make your return to gaming with partypoker?

The challenge of the new role itself is exciting. What drew me to partypoker? Well, there’s a gap in the market, no doubt about it. Worldwide poker events have been lacklustre and something needs to change or they’ll fade into oblivion. We all have a duty to the game to make it more enjoyable. I think that the team at partypoker have shown that they’re making inroads into making the game more enjoyable again; more so than anyone else.

It’s like throwing a party, really: You just need all the right ingredients.

  • There are some pretty incredible stops planned for partypoker LIVE, are there any in particular that you’re looking forward to?

Sochi I think is going to be very interesting. Just from looking at it and hearing about it I think it’s going to be a very good event. Generally speaking, I think that in Russia they know how to enjoy themselves. As do poker players – they always bring a bottle to a party! Put those two together and it could get messy, but there’s no doubt it will be great fun.

From a venue point of view it’s going to be very exciting, as are the events at The Playground Poker Club in Montreal, King’s Casino in Rozvadov and Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, which are specifically designed around the poker player.

  • Will you be playing yourself during the tour?

Oh I suspect I’ll play a bit, when I can.

  • How is partypoker LIVE going to be a truly unique playing experience and what will you be doing differently?

This is where it really starts to get interesting; when you have three venues like Playground, Kings and DTD which are totally dedicated to poker and all run by people who love the game.

I think loving poker players is really fundamental. Some casinos don’t really like poker players, they don’t see them as being that much value to them. Whereas poker rooms and venues make a completely different atmosphere.

That’s going to really show in the next year or two because it’s going to be all about the game; all about the fun. That’s a massive edge we have there.

You see, when you buy into a poker tournament, you’re paying good money to play in the event. The organisers are running those tournaments on your behalf. Tournaments don’t exist without players. So whoever is running a tournament needs to remember that they’ve been given the privilege of running that tournament for the players. It’s not about “us and them”; it’s about the players allowing us to run it on their behalf.

We’ve tried to think “If players were to get together and choose where they wanted to play, where would it be?” And it would be in venues like Playground or DTD or King’s.

  • Where do you see your plan to take the partypoker LIVE tour over the next few years?

Well, obviously it’s already global! But 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. The number of times I used to go to events and, if I lost, I’d still go away thinking I had a really good time. If you win it’s a double-whammy.

Going forward, it’s going to be all about the experience and, most importantly, about respect for the players again.

Thanks, John! We can’t wait to join you on the road with partypoker LIVE.

If you’re ready to hit the tables then click here to download partypoker.


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