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Partouche Pulls Plug, Doubts Grow for ISPT
The fifth annual Partouche Poker Tour is playing out in Cannes but, according to the event’s founder Patrick Partouche, this year will be its last.
Partouche made the announcement to a full tournament room of PPT players just days after the event failed to reach its advertised €5 million guarantee.
“I can’t accept that after 40 years dedicating my life and my family’s life to the the game, I can’t stand to hear that Partouche is a liar or that Partouche is a cheater,” said Partouche.
“So I am respectful to all the gamblers and all the customers and that’s why I announce officially that this edition of the Partouche Poker Tour will be the last.”
The announcement was met with questions about the event’s failed guarantee, to which Partouche replied, “The €5 million was never guaranteed.”
Banners on the PPT website clearly advertising the guarantee have been altered but what couldn’t be erased was a television interview on “Le JT Poker” in which Jean-Jacques Ichai, Head of the PPT, stated in no uncertain terms that the season 5 main event carried a €5 million guaranteed prize pool and a €1 million guaranteed first-place prize.
“We started the first year with €2 million guaranteed, the second with €3 million, then €4 million and now we are in the 5th year with €5 million guaranteed,” said Ichai.
“We guarantee the €5 million and more importantly, €1 million guaranteed for first each year.”
The PPT Season 5 main event boasted a buy-in of €8,500 but when registration closed only 580 players had entered, leaving the prize pool €700,000 short of the advertised guarantee.
Rather than make up the difference Partouche looks to be covering up, closing down and packing up shop.
PPT Problems Cast Doubt on ISPT Guarantee
The Partouche Poker Tour’s failure to reach its guarantee and the apparent cover-up that followed have done nothing to salve ongoing concerns surrounding the International Stadiums Poker Tour, a venture in which Patrick Partouche is also reportedly involved.
But the connections between the PPT and ISPT don't stop there.
ISPT co-founder Prosper Masquelier is a member of the Partouche family, the son of Marlène Partouche-Masquelier. His father Jean heads the French casinos Palavas-les-Flots and La Grande-Motte for the Partouche Group and Prosper himself was with the company from 2006 to 2010.
Prosper’s partner in the ISPT deal is Laurent Tapie of Groupe Bernard Tapie, the French company that was attempting to acquire Full Tilt Poker before PokerStars stepped in.
The ISPT’s inaugural event, set to go in May of 2013, originally boasted a €30 million prize pool but that number has since been changed to €20 million. Casting more uncertainty on the event is the apparent removal of the word “guarantee” in all mentions of the prize pool on the ISPT website.
In a press conference in June of this year, however, Laurent Tapie clearly refers to the €20 million guarantee.
“We hope to gather 30,000 players in the first year,” said Tapie. “The guaranteed prize pool is €20 million, the biggest prize pool ever guaranteed in poker history.”
Rumors are now circulating that the €20 million figure applies to the entire first season of the ISPT, as opposed to the first event scheduled for Wembley Stadium.
An official statement has not been issued by the International Stadiums Poker Tour.
Here is the video of Patrick Partouche's announcement. Skip to 4:30 for the English section.