More than 2000 angry poker players are currently participating in a second boycott of PokerStars and they will not rest until their voices are heard.
I will have to give it to the players participating in the PokerStars boycott: that’s some serious standing up for something you believe in. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the world’s largest online poker room is being shaken.
Over 2,500 online poker players joined the first boycott against PokerStars from Dec. 1 to 3. The boycott was in response to major changes PokerStars made to its VIP program, which took effect on January 1st.
Some of the changes include PlatinumStar status players receiving up to a 10% reduction in overall rewards, Supernova status players rewarded up to 27% less, while a cap on rewards was set at 45% for Supernova Elite.
Was it effective? Probably not, as VP Corporate Communications for Amaya Eric Hollreiser released a blog post saying that PokerStars was not negatively affected by the three-day boycott. He also mentioned the boycott’s lack of effectiveness in terms of curbing upcoming changes. In short, PokerStars didn’t bat an eye and has moved forward with the adjustments it made to its loyalty program.
The first strike coincided with the first three days of PokerStars’ Christmas Festival. Overall traffic on the site was up, but traffic in high-stakes games fell. It did not matter. In fact, Hollreiser said the first boycott proved that cutting high-stakes benefits was the correct move as PokerStars recorded the healthiest consecutive three-day ecosystem results of the year with steady net gaming revenue, even though the net depositing players lost at a much lower rate than they have all year.
If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again
Organizers WeArePokerPlayers.com, Tiltbook, Gypsy Team, and several high-stakes players arranged a second boycott. This time, it’s more ambitious, running for the entire first week of January, from the first through the seventh. Tannhauser (real name Ivan) announced the strike in Two Plus Two forum, which includes refusing to play on PokerStars and cashing out at least 10% of their bankrolls on the first day of the boycott.
Some of high-stakes players participating in the boycott include Javier ‘MuckeDBoY’ Tazon, Xela better known as Rednaxela747, Masuronike’, the founder of Tiltbook, and one of the main voices of the strike Dani ansky451 Stern, who posted: “Taking away rewards specifically for [high-stakes] cash is an unfair attack on a specific subset of the poker community. It seems especially unbalanced and goes way beyond what would be a fair redistribution of rewards.”
Organizers are bullish about the latest strike and believe that it will result in a significant drop in the total number of games running, reducing PokerStars rake by up to 30%.
Another boycott is expected in February, tentatively from the 2nd through the 11th.