Saturday, December 5, 2015 : WAS THE POKERSTARS BOYCOTT EFFECTIVE?
High stakes players probably made their point and drew attention to their beefs.
The December 1 to 3 strike by high stakes Pokerstars players protesting changes to the VIP program is now history, and a slew of observers has been offering opinions on the efficacy of the boycott.
Whilst most agree that the striking players certainly drew attention to their complaints and achieved widespread publicity, independent statistics show that the impact was mainly in the rarefied atmosphere of the high stakes tables, where independent monitors like Pokerscout have reported that on one the most effective days of the boycott peak high-stakes ring-game traffic fell by 29 percent.
However, as Pokerscout points out, high stakes ring game traffic typically represents 1.7 percent of the action, and the impact was minimal with a reduction of less than a percentage point.
At least part of the problem was the timeframe chosen for the strike, which coincided with a major Pokerstars $1 million Milestone Hands promotion. That meant that on the first day Pokerscout reported peak ring game traffic of 37,758 players – a 65 percent week-on-week rise in traffic, even with the boycott publicity and an estimated 2000 to 3000 thousand high stakes players staying away.
Boycott supporters have speculated that, based on previous figures for this promo, the strike did have some impact in reducing this promo's popularity, but a 65 percent boost to traffic remains convincing, and ring game traffic continued to rise in the final stages of the boycott action, rising week-on-week by twelve percent and 9 percent respectively over the last two days.
On the tournament front there appeared to little change with the exception of a Super Tuesday competition which was relatively quiet at 451 entries – a 13 percent decline week-on-week.