Partouche Poker Tour Folds Following Prizepool Controversy *Updated*

After controversially failing to honor the €5 Million guaranteed prizepool in their Main Event Wednesday, Partouche Poker Tour officials announced Thursday that the  tour would cease operations after this event, with a top Partouche executive tendering his resignation shortly thereafter.

One day later however it appears as if the Partouche Group will in fact honor the €5 million guarantee. Before the start of play on Day 4, Patrick Partouche issued a statement that they [the Partouche Group] will bear the brunt of the shortfall and make up the difference in the prizepool.

This follows  several days worth of speculation as to whether or not they would make up the €735,000 difference between the announced prizepool and what was allegedly guaranteed. On Thursday afternoon, in fact, before the start of play on Day 3, Partouche Group CEO Patrick Partouche stood in front of all those gathered for Day 3 of the Main Event to make the announcement that the tour was coming to an end.

According to a report on the Winamax blog, Partouche stated that the €5 million was not a guarantee of any kind in advertisements or communications made by the Partouche Group. He also pointed towards the tournament’s success over the last five years and their ability to attract foreign players to this event. Partouche did not accept any blame in the matter and bristled at any accusations of being a thief or a cheater.

Issues began to surface on Day 2 of the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event as play got underway Wednesday and the official prizepool was announced at €4,264,580. Many players were taken aback as they had assumed that the event carried a minimum guarantee of €5 Million and there was an almost instant uproar as they realized something was amiss. As is often the case in today’s social media-friendly world they took to Twitter, first to reveal the issue at hand to the public and later to provide evidence that the €5 million was indeed guaranteed.

“Everyone at Partouche expected a 5 [million] guaranteed prize pool,” Tweeted Justin Bonomo. “Staff is saying it was never guaranteed. I found proof:”

Bonomo was soon joined in his Twitter outburst by the likes of Todd Terry, Nicolas Levi, Peter Jetten and Tristan Wade, among many others. As word spread of what was developing, more and more evidence of advertising that included mention of a €5 Million guarantee was posted. Things continued to get heated as Bonomo claimed that Partouche was scrubbing evidence of the word guarantee from their website, noting that while the guarantee was visible on an archived version of the site it no longer appeared.

Amidst the mounting evidence was an interview with Partouche Group Marketing Director Jean-Jacques Ichai in which he makes mention of the guarantee. Following Patrick Partouche’s speech Thursday afternoon, Ichai posted a message on the Partouche Poker Tour’s Facebook page taking full responsibility for the remark and tendering his resignation.

While the tour is still coming to an end after this tournament, players who were still in the field and outspoken about the shortfall celebrated the decision as action reached a pivotal point early on Day 4.

Last update: September 7th, 7:37 am ET.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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