Each week we delve into the world of partypoker and chat to one of our valued players to hear about their poker story. This week we’ve put a little twist on things and headed into the staff room and grabbed a partypoker employee. Step forward Mr Chris Donnachie.
Chris is the Poker Room Operations Manager for bwin.party and is based in Gibraltar, quite a distance from his native Fort William in bonny Scotland. Having worked in gambling for the best part of 15-years, 33-year old Chris has vast experience in this industry and is a highly-valued member of the partypoker team.
“I started off working in betting shops in England and managed a shop for Ladbrokes when I was 19. I moved to Gibraltar in 2005 to work in Poker for a Stan James and joined partypoker in February 2008 to initially manage the Empire Poker brand. A couple of years later I started managing the partypoker.com poker room (this was before we had all of the regulated markets we do now). My team and I now manage 5 separate poker rooms servicing the regulated markets of France, Italy, Spain and New Jersey and of course the global .com market.”
A constantly changing role
The very nature of a poker room manager’s job means every day is different. Chris’ team is responsible for the management and development of the tournament, cash game and sit & go offering in all of bwin.party’s poker room, a task that is currently undertaken by six team members, although Chris is on the lookout for more people to join them.
Describing what his team does, Chris says: “There’s no such thing a typical day really. We could be designing a new tournament schedule, creating satellites for WPT and Dusk Till Dawn live events, reviewing our cash and SNG offering, assisting the Product Management team with software developments or a range of other things. The tasks we work on are largely based on what the online poker market demands at the time and, as most of us know, that can change daily.”
As you can imagine, there are many challenges that Chris and his team face on a daily basis. One of the biggest and most challenging is the ever-changing landscape around the world brought on by different governments’ laws and regulations.
“There have been many challenges in the past and we’re continually presented with new challenges. Regulation has meant the segregation of player pools and therefore has demanded much more resource and effort to be applied to Poker Room Management whilst the constantly changing market and the need to stay ahead of competitors means we always have to be on top of our game… all of the time.”
Levelling the playing field
Recently, Chris and his team were heavily involved in the “levelling the playing field” program that has seen a number of changes to the partypoker software as the company attempts to bring poker back to the people. According to Chris, these changes are going to shape the future of online poker.
“We’ve taken a hugely positive step in announcing our ecology friendly changes and I am in agreement that the playing field should be levelled and that edge should be based on the skill of the player rather than the tools they use. We’ve already seen some significant changes from other sites and some sites have even built their software specifically around being ecologically friendly so I believe this stance is going to be key in the future of online poker.”
Chris mentioned earlier that part of his role is working with Dusk Till Dawn, a partnership that has been seen as a major positive by everyone involved. Like anyone who has had the pleasure of playing at DTD, Chris has nothing but praise for Rob Yong and his fantastic team.
“When I first met Rob and Nick from Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) I thought they were a couple of really good guys. When they started mentioning million dollar tournaments for low buy-ins and UK stadium tours with millions in total guarantees… I then thought “these guys are crazy!” But, when you read into how DTD was built up over the years from a “shed in Nottingham” (to quote Rob himself) to the biggest live poker club in Europe and one of the most esteemed places to play poker in the world, you start to realise that these guys didn’t get to where they are now by dreaming small.
“The partnership with DTD has been pivotal in the way we are currently operating as a poker room today. Their wealth of knowledge and experience of both the live and online world coupled with our knowledge and experience in global and regulated markets has combined to help us produce some of the most attractive live and online propositions in the market today.”
So there you have it, an insight into the working life and thoughts of our poker room manager, Chris Donnachie. You’ll no doubt see him around at some of the big events at DTD and if you do, we’re sure he’ll gratefully accept a beer and chat with you about all things partypoker.