It was just a few days ago that the PokerStars platform chose to cut rewards that are being offered on multi-table tournaments by a total of 55%. This sees a decrease from 100 points per $/€1 spent, to just 45 points. Following that announcement, various high-stakes poker players took it upon themselves to boycott the PokerStars Turbo Series High Roller tournament. Poker media sites were first given notice of this boycott in a statement sent out by the Belgian player who goes by the username of “giraf ganger”.
So, what exactly happened to bring such a response from high-stakes poker gamers?
As it stands, the rake system that PokerStars has been offering over the years has been quite the hot topic for the brand. Many players have already voiced their concerns and displeasure about the number of changes that it has gone through in more recent times. The changes noted above went into effect on Friday last week, with the money saved from such a reduction being put towards PokerStars being able to provide the world’s largest guarantees for tournaments.
In a statement made by Severin Rasset – the Director of Poker Operation for The Stars Group – he said that it would also allow PokerStars to offer up better live experiences to players, making mention of internal reviews and feedback from players as the driving force behind such changes.
He then went on to inform the poker community of various other changes coming into effect, including an “exchange” feature, allowing players to trade in their partial progress for immediate rewards.
The Boycott Begins
The boycott of the PokerStars Turbo Series High Roller event was backed up with a detailed explanation by the aforementioned Belgian player. In his post, he said that a stand against such changes should probably have been made “a long time ago”. However, speaking for a larger community of MTT players, “giraf ganger” said that many members of the community take issue with what he called a “constantly increasing rake” and the decrease in rakeback.
After the post mentioned a number of issues that the community has with the PokerStars rewards and site, a secondary list was made of the things that they would like to see improved. Of these improvements, the ability to communicate with the company directly and openly was one of the main requests. To add to that, a clearly visible rake should also be provided, while a debate on future rake increases should also be brought into effect.
These issues and more were reasons behind players boycotting the Turbo Series event, with various high-profile players backing off. These include people like Simon Mattsson, a.k.a “C Darwin2”, and Niklas Åstedt, who goes by the username of “lena900”. In fact, the list of players who chose to stay away from the event reached a total of 194 altogether. All of these stated that they would have gone on to play the 5k – or, potentially try to satellite – but, who instead, chose to skip the event totally.
This didn’t go unnoticed by rival poker site PartyPoker, which upped the buy-in of its $3,000 buy-in KO Series to a new amount of $5,000, whilst simultaneously increasing the guaranteed prize pool to a total of $1,000,000.