PokerNews’ Chad Holloway put his iPhone contact list into good use this week to track down a hodgepodge of professional poker players to get their gut reaction to the vast array of changes, including the recent rake hike, over at PokerStars.
The result is what looks to be a candid view, from the player’s perspective, of a sea change in the perception of the PokerStars brand.
Holloway got comments from big-timers like Phil Galfond, Shannon Shorr, Jonathan Little, Ola Amundsgard, Andrew Seidman and more and, not surprisingly, many of these one-time grinders expressed some serious disappointment.
It’s a great job by Holloway and while we have some excepts from the article after the jump, should it interest you, you should check the whole thing out.
From Phil “Gandolf” Galfond
It’s important to understand that PokerStars is a business, and that they can charge whatever they please for their service. I don’t like the changes thus far and more than that, I fear for what’s yet to come if this is an indication of Amaya’s business strategy. They have a monopoly and if they want to press it, they don’t have any obvious incentive not to at the moment. The lack of a legitimate competitor is the major issue here.
From Ola aka “Odd_Oddsen”
I feel like there have been a lot of drastic changes at the cost of the players in a very short period of time, so I am a bit worried that Amaya is going to kill online poker. They for sure have the power to do it. I really hope PokerStars will get competition in the near future, and I for sure wouldn’t mind seeing a poker client/company for the players, by the players.
From Alex “Assassinato” Fitzgerald
I do think this diminishes the PokerStars brand. When I heard they weren’t willing to give Main Event winners something as simple as 100-percent rakeback, I knew we were going to see more of these shortsighted decisions.
From Andrew “BalugaWhale” Seidman
Essentially everything Amaya has done since purchasing PokerStars has diminished their brand — robbing their players via foreign exchange fees especially — but this is a pretty big statement that says, 'We’re no longer the world’s best player-first site. We’re now like many other sites — shortsighted, money hungry, and not overly concerned with customer service.
From Jonathan Little
This is terrible for the players, especially those who play on a regular basis. While this initial rake increase is fairly small, I can foresee other sites increasing their rake as well. Also, in the future, PokerStars may decide to further increase their rake, making the games unprofitable for even the best players.
“I do not think the rake increase diminishes the PokerStars brand. In most industries, you have to pay a premium for the best product, and PokerStars currently has the best product by far.