A day after controversy broke out at the Partouche Poker Tour (PPT) Main Event regarding the prize pool and a purported €5,000,000 guarantee, Patrick Partouche, CEO of Groupe Partouche, announced that this year’s tournament would be the PPT’s last.
On Wednesday, PPT announced that 573 players had entered the €8,500 Main Event and created a prize pool of €4,264,580, which was €735,420 short of the previously advertised €5 million guarantee. This caused an uproar among the players, prompting Maxime Masquelier, head of Partouche Poker Tour, to state: “For a buy-in of €8,500, I think we can be proud of the final figure. At no time did we say that €5 million was secured when it is guaranteed in writing.”
The assertion that the PPT had never advertised a €5 million guarantee was quickly debunked on TwoPlusTwo as posters offered various pieces of evidence that showed otherwise. One such piece of evidence was a cache on Google, which clearly stated: "The Partouche Poker Tour and €5 million guaranteed!" Likewise, numerous banners and advertisements were shown alongside updated versions that showed the PPT had removed any mention of a €5 million guarantee, as well as a video reiterating the guarantee by Partouche Director of Marketing Jean-Jacques Ichai, who later tendered his resignation on Facebook:
Hello, I am writing following the controversy around the Partouche Poker Tour. I didn't have the memory of my TV ITW or I announced the guarantee of this tournament. My President, Mr. Patrick Partouche took the floor that day without the knowledge of this video. I would like to apologize especially towards him, which has been consistent in his speech, and the team of the Partouche Poker Tour as well as to all the players. On this issue, I will present my resignation to Mr Patrick Partouche tomorrow morning.
Good end of tournament,
Furthermore, the beginning of Day 3, Patrick Partouche, who had just arrived in Cannes from a trip abroad, took the microphone to speak directly to the players and inform them that there would be no more PPTs moving forward:
"I have heard, I have seen and I have been told that what Groupe Partouche was doing was not sufficient, almost dishonest.
The Partouche Poker Tour bears my name and my family's name. After 40 years in this business, reading 'Partouche is a liar, Partouche is a cheater,' this I cannot accept, neither can my teams.
That is why I am announcing to you that you are playing the last edition of Partouche Poker Tour. The Partouche will stop Sunday night. We are sailing toward new horizons, we hope that other operators will put as much energy, as much willpower, and as much love to ensure that this game goes on and remains as much loved and adored from all fanatics which I'm a part of, as I believe a lot of people here know fully well.
I've created this tournament by passion, I don't have to be ashamed of it. Now if some young ego-driven players, craving for recognition, who aren't even in final tables, allow themselves to say that we have cheated, that we have lied, I cannot accept it.
The €5 million prize pool has never been guaranteed in all publications that you may have seen. There may have been some communication which I would not call clumsy but rather ecstatic last year just as the tournament was ended.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, I am going to announce the 'shuffle up and deal' of what will be the last edition of Partouche Poker Tour and I will tell you in terms of conclusion something I was told not very long ago. I was told, "When being spat on, you don't have to say that it's raining."
There are things that I accept and things that I don't. The poker community will find its own. I kiss you all, I wish you a good tournament and I wish you to win the €1 million that has always been guaranteed and is guaranteed."
Patrick Partouche then repeated the same words in English for the international audience. When he left the stage, poker pro Tristan Wade asked, "What about the €5 million?" Patrick Partouche replied "It was not guaranteed." Wade then said, "There's proof everywhere that it was." "I know how to write, if you don't know how to read it's your problem, not mine," retorted Partouche.
Before leaving the tournament area, he added to players nearby, "By the way, the Partouche Poker Tour is over." "No one's coming back next year anyway," said a player.
"So you'll be welcome next year anyway," Partouche said, then turned and exited the room.
*Partouche begins speech in English at 4:31
*Photo and translation courtesy of FR.PokerNews.com