Partouche Poker Tour (PPT) is all set to make a comeback! The famous European poker festival is returning to France after a long hiatus, promising an action-filled week on August 31 to September 6, 2020, at the Palm Beach Casino in Cannes, France — the home of the first five PPTs which ran annually from 2008-2012.
Shaking Off Controversies
The PPT achieved huge success in the past, attracting thousands of players, and awarding some of the biggest poker guarantees in Europe. However, the festival was hit by numerous controversies since 2010 when a cheating scandal erupted during the Grand Final, the main highlight of the tour.
A total of nine final players were determined in September 2010 and they were set to compete for the top prize in a final battle scheduled in November 2010 — similar set-up adopted during the WSOP Main Event November Nine.
Germany’s Ali Tekintamgac was among the final nine players but he was evicted from the tournament amid cheating allegations involving him and a number fake bloggers and reporters. These reporters looked at the cards of Tekintamgac’s opponents and then relayed what they saw to the German pro. The suspicions were intense as Tekintamgac was also previously linked to cheating during the EPT Tallinn event earlier that year, resulting in him being kicked out of the event.
Only eight players proceeded to play, and ultimately it was Vanessa Selbst who emerged victorious, defeating the likes of Tobias Reinkemeier and Fabrice Soulier to claim a career-defining score of €1,300,000, also the largest first-place prize in the history of the festival.
The second major controversy to hit the PPT occurred in 2012, when the festival initially refused to hold on to their promise of a $5 million guarantee. The cheating scandal in 2010 partly contributed to a drop in attendance during the 2011 Grand Final, with only 579 entries recorded.
In an attempt to boost the numbers for the 2012 edition, organizers embarked on a marketing campaign, promising €5 million in guarantees to be awarded to winners. However, this target was not achieved and fell short to the tune of €736,880, after only 573 players registered, creating a prize pool of €4,264,580.
During that time, the head of the PPT Maxime Masquelier seemed to renege on their previously advertised €5 million guarantee, causing uproar among players; especially as online poker forum TwoPlusTwo was able to recover evidence that the PPT did advertise a €5 million guarantee, as shown by original marketing posters. Updated versions of the tour’s banners and ads later removed the €5 million figure. The controversy led to the resignation of Partouche Director of Marketing Jean-Jacques Ichai.
Groupe Partouche CEO Patrick Partouche later announced on Day 3 of the main event that there would be no more PPTs in the future, still refusing to acknowledge that the PPT indeed initially promised a €5 million guarantee.
Ultimately, after receiving backlash from the poker community, Partouche admitted their mistake and honored their promise. The €5 million guarantee was restored, with the tour adding €735,420 to the prize pool. The final prizes awarded to 57 players who finished in the money were adjusted, with the first-place prize set at €1,172,850. Among those who made the final table of the 2012 Grand Final were Dan Smith, Dan O’Brien, and Ole Schemion.
2019 Grand Final Qualifying Events
Live satellites will run on weekends starting November 1, 2019 at different casinos in France. Players can take part for as low as €125 for a shot to be part of the bigger €1000 Super Satellites and win extra cash worth €200. The €1000 Super Satellites will give away tickets to the €7000 PPT Grand Final. Players should take note of the satellite schedules and designated venues as follows:
Qualifying events will be held on January 24-26 at the Pasino Grand Aix En Provence, February 21-23 at the Casino Du Lyon Vert, March 13-15, at Casino De Forges-Les-Eaux, April 3-5 at Pasino De La Grande Motte, and May 15-17 at Casino De Divonne-Les-Bains. Satellites will also run on June 5-7 at Pasino De St-Amand-Les-Eaux and July 17-19 at Casino De Pornic.
The Grand Final will take place on September 6 on the Rooftop Casino 3.14 in Cannes. Some of the previous winners include Sam Trickett, Alain Roy, and Jean-Paul Pasqualini.