PokerStars Team Pro and legendary poker player Daniel Negreanu recently voiced his opinion on PokerStar’s decision to hike rake rates. Negreanu stated that the site is currently the best in the market across all aspects and had to make a decision to increase its rake rates in order to bring in more revenue.
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site controls about 70 percent of all online poker traffic. The company announced its decision to increase its rake across different game formats last week, which resulted in an overall increase of four percent.
It hiked Spin & Go rakes by one percentage point, raised fees on rebuys and add-ons in multi-table tournaments, and increased the cap and percentage of rakes in some of the pot-limit and no-limit heads-up ring games. It has also increased the rate for hyper-turbo rakes to 5 percent.
The company had made changes to its VIP bonus system earlier this year and upset thousands of poker players. The new hike in rakes has once again not gone down well with the players even though PokerStars has stated that even with this new hike, it is still the lowest priced online poker website in the industry. The company made similar attempt to raise rake rates in 2014 but had to drop the idea after player protests escalated.
Negreanu has come out in support of the latest announcement saying that the pricing is still competitive. According to him, PokerStars is free as a company to set its price but it is a delicate balancing act because if raised too much customers are likely to stop coming to the site. In his view, the price rise is clearly aimed at increasing its revenues and is not for improving the overall game’s ecosystem, which the company has previously claimed as one of the main reasons.
In a statement, Daniel Negreanu said
PokerStars offers a service, and of course, they have the right to set the prices for that service however they choose to. I do believe that PokerStars offers the best product from customer service, to software, to game selection and innovation. I also believe that the prices for these services are competitive with other companies in the industry, but ultimately the consumer will decide that
Negreanu added that he personally never complained of rake increases in his more than 20 years of playing poker. Giving the example of his early poker-playing days in Toronto, he said that his approach was to play a game as long as it gave him good enough returns. The moment the wins did not justify the rake rate, he would move on to another game.
He has however acknowledged that the rake increase in PokerStars would reduce the win rate for players, influencing a player’s decision to play a game. Negreanu has therefore emphasized on players understanding the changes thoroughly so that they choose games on PokerStars that will provide them with best win rate.