The men and women who play poker, professionally, on PokerStars are up in arms after the site announced rake increases across a plethora of games, and also axed the popular Battle of the Planets promotion.
Professional poker players are up in arms after PokerStars announced sweeping rake increases, and the cancellation of the Battle of the Planets promotion.
Yesterday, a PokerStars representative posted an announcement on 2+2 that carried the heading: PokerStars Changes to Rake, Spin & Go Prizes, and Battle of the Planets, and 24-hours later, garden centers across the world have sold out of pitchforks.
It’s another blow for a team of people who were getting so many pats on the back they had started to walk like Quasimodo. PokerStars could do no wrong. They were positively Mother Theresa. Not anymore.
The $4.9bn acquisition by the Amaya Gaming Group – that now enshrines PokerStars assets into the limited company framework – coupled with costly regulatory changes across the world, has resulted in threats of walkouts, angry e-mailed exchanges, and widespread condemnation.
You can read the announcement here. But the nutshell version is as follows.
Battle of Planets Promotion
This ends on November 1st.
Rake Changes Effective Nov 3, 2014
Increases in rake/fees affecting:
All stakes of heads-up hyper turbo Sit & Go tournaments.
All forms of knockout tournaments
Hyper turbo tournaments
Ring game rake for hands dealt at PL/NL games to exactly two players
Ring game rake for hands dealt at PL/NL games with 5+ players dealt
Spin & Go games at $3 and above.
Rake Changes Effective Jan 1, 2015
Increases in rake/fees affecting:
Hyper turbo satellite Sit & Go’s
Rebuy tournaments for players whose play is subject to significant local taxes in the form of gaming duty and/or VAT (e.g. the forthcoming 15% point of consumption tax brought in by the UK government).
At the same time the professional quarter of the ecosystem were looking for someone to hang, UK players were receiving corporate e-mails advising them of the migration to the new client: PokerStars UK.
The interesting dates?
The UK’s Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act will kick in on Nov 1, the same date that The Battle of the Planets promotion is being culled, and the new PokerStars UK client will be available from 14:00 (GMT) on Nov 3rd – the same date as the proposed rake changes.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there is some serious financial balance sheet tampering going on within the finance department at Amaya Gaming Group.
Interestingly, as a recreational player – who would never be on 2+2 if it weren’t for my job – I would still be completely in the dark that my rake charges were about to increase, because the company hasn’t told me. They also failed to tell me that I am going to be charged for currency conversions.
David Baazov’s announcement that PokerStars players would notice no change, once Amaya had found the debt needed to make the acquisition, is turning out to be a verbal slip that makes Bill Clinton’s ‘sexual relations’ spiel seem positively innocent.
The professional’s have tried to take action by proposing a mass sit out planned for 5 November. Let’s hope, for their sake, that their plan of action is a little bit more structured than the proposed walk out on the Venetian Poker Room, after Sheldon Adelson also threatened their livelihoods.
What happened then?