Friday October 31,2014 : POKERSTARS FURORE OVER RAKE AND TOURNAMENT FEE INCREASES
Many players dismayed and annoyed by new charges announced by online poker giant.
Further revving up players already concerned about the imposition of margins on foreign exchange financial transactions , online poker giant Pokerstars announced hikes in rake and tournament fees Thursday.
Communications chief Eric Hollreiser revealed that a new rake structure will be introduced in two phases commencing November 4, 2014 and January 1, 2015, and that the popular Battle of the Planets promotion will be discontinued from Saturday November 1.
Hollreiser made a valiant effort to put a positive spin on the news, saying that it was part of a commitment to keep poker fresh and exciting, but his comments did not appear to resonate with many disgruntled players.
The rake changes will impact all stakes of heads-up hyper-turbo sit-and-go tournaments in a complicated range of changes that are best understood when viewed in tabulated and reviewed in detail
"We make these decisions every day across the entire company," Hollreiser said Thursday. "Most changes go unnoticed, because they're meant to unobtrusively improve the player experience."
"The issue is that most of the attention often goes to some other changes such as our recent changes to the foreign exchange (FX) charges or the rake that we apply to various games. We know that some of these decisions will not be popular in all quarters and they're not decisions taken lightly, but are made looking broadly across the poker ecosystem."
He added: Like any good poker player, we know that you have to adapt or risk being left behind. The choices we make today aren't for short term gain; they're made because we believe they're the right thing for tomorrow.
"We'll continue to make tough calls to secure the game in the present and make bold moves to best invest in the future growth of the game. Our goal continues to be to provide the best, most exciting poker experience and keep the poker universe growing."
However, players bridled at some of the increases, highlighting in particular:
* Some hyper speed tournaments, such as the $215 buy-in suffering an increase of 85 percent, and the . $50 buy-in suffering a rake increase of two hundred and fifty percent. Rake increases range from two hundred and sixty six percent on the low end to a mild five percent in the thousand dollar buy-in games.
* Cash game rake rates are also set to go up, with the heads up rake cap, on both heads up tables, 6max tables, and ring game poker tables with exactly two seated players effectively doubling for all stakes below $25/50 and quadrupling for the $25/50 games. Additionally, $25/50+ players will notice that when five or more players are dealt in, the rake will increase an additional 66 percentage points.
* There will be additional tournament fees for all re-buy and add-on tournaments for players in regulated markets due to excess taxation, gaming duties and value added taxes imposed by the governments concerned.
* Players, some of them urging a boycott of the company, have listed other beefs against the new Amaya Gaming management policies, which have seen reduced loyalty program benefits announced; discarding players from more than 24 grey markets; reduced value in promos; the move to casino gaming instead of remaining focused on poker; and pushing games with increased variance.