Posts Tagged ‘Eric Hollreiser’

Players Hated PokerStars Panama – PokerStars Responds

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

pokerstars-panamaRecently, PokerStars ran a Championships Panama event. And the series didn’t go over too well with many of the participants, including Bryn Kenney and Jason Wheeler.

Kenney takes exception with the payout structures and high rake.

“So of course nobody is happy with anything PokerStars is doing,” Kenney wrote on his Facebook wall. “If you guys wanna fix everything and save your business then give me a call. But I understand you would rather watch it burn than listen.”

Kenney added, “Not only do they cut all costs now and give nothing to the players but they don’t even honor their agreements. They have said that in the 10k+ tournaments it will pay only 15% of the field and in a small 10k today [Panama] they show a payout sheet that pays on average 20% of the field. I think they think everyone is stupid but what they don’t understand with their high rake and terrible service – soon they won’t have an event at all outside of Barcelona. Sad days for poker tournaments.”

Wheeler’s complaint is that PokerStars isn’t using enough of their online and live resources to increase their festival field sizes.

Bryn_Kenney“It seems like Stars has been scrambling more lately and playing catch up, therefore, can’t develop a cohesive strategy where they use smaller festivals to drive bigger traffic to the bigger championships.”

Contrary to what Kenney thinks, PokerStars heard the complaints loud and clear. Eric Hollreiser, VP of Corporate Communications for parent company Amaya, responded to the criticisms.

Here’s a look at part of Hollreiser’s response:

“We understand the criticism: it’s not totally wrong, and it’s not totally fair. The poker economy was damaged and had created a negative financial environment for the company, particularly in 2015 and 2016. We had to put our financial house in order and restructure the company to meet the growth expectations of the business and our shareholders.

“We committed to poker. Clearly, there were a number of unique issues that Amaya management faced in 2015 and 2016, but we have always been committed to poker. Today, Amaya management is very different than it was in 2015. Every year we invest more in poker than any other company on the planet. Even in the U.S. – where we have obviously had our issues – we are at the forefront of investing to open that market.”

PokerStars drops Heads-Up Cash Games

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

pokerstars-heads-upPokerStars has continued its quest to appease recreational players by dropping heads-up cash games. Starting Feb. 12th, all HU tables in Limit Hold’m, NL Hold’em and PLO will be shuttered. This of course will also kill the marquee high-stakes matchups that have happened at PokerStars over the years, such as Tom Dwan vs. Dan ‘Jungleman12’ Cates.

From now on, the only heads-up option that Stars players will have are Zoom HU games ranging from $0.25/$0.50 to $50/$100 stakes.

This is just the latest in a number of controversial moves that PokerStars has made in an effort to recruit/retain more amateur players. Not long ago, Stars also made the decision to eliminate rewards for mid and high-stakes tables as well as disband the Supernova Elite level.

Online poker sites more or less tolerated HU cash games during the glory years, despite numerous complaints about bumhunting. However, with global online poker traffic slowly diminishing, Stars is taking every necessary step possible to put recreational players above bumhunters and high-volume grinders.

dwan-vs-catesThe obvious reason why Zoom Poker will still feature heads-up cash games is because you’re taken to a new table after every hand. So it’s impossible to sit at a half-empty HU table forever, awaiting your next victim.

Not surprisingly, Amaya Gaming bigwig Eric Hollreiser was supportive of the changes, citing PokerStars’ desire to create a more-fun playing environment for everybody.

“These changes are part of PokerStars’ ongoing strategic plan to improve the poker ecosystem and enhance the player experience,” said Hollreiser. “In this case, we aim to reduce the widespread predatory behavior at heads-up games. We expect these changes to incentivize more players to be focused on playing poker and less focused on selecting opponents. Ultimately we believe this will raise the competitive bar and help increase a fun and fair playing experience for everyone.”

Most poker pros will hate the decision to get rid of most HU tables. However, it’s very possible that it will be a positive decision for the poker community as a whole.

PokerStars causes Controversy by using Same EPT Barcelona Hotel

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Several members of the high stakes poker community were spooked at EPT Barcelona last year when criminals busted into their hotel rooms and installed malware on their computers. Jens Kyllonen was especially shook by the matter after his hotel room was broken into multiple times. The perpetrator(s) installed a virus on his laptop in an effort to track any sensitive information that he entered on the computer.

Given all of this, it’s a little surprising that PokerStars has chosen the same hotel to direct players to during the 2014 EPT Barcelona. One of the biggest problems regarding last year’s “sharking” attacks was that the Hotel Arts Barcelona security was horrid. The hallway security cameras weren’t working properly, and those at the front desk weren’t very helpful either.

Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, said that PokerStars has used Arts Hotel for several years. He added that, despite the sharking attacks in 2013, most players seemed more than happy with the services provided by the hotel.

Of course, players are by no means bound to stay at the Hotel Arts. And you can guarantee that Kyllonen is one player who’ll be looking for somewhere else to stay. While gone from his room, he came back and discovered that his computer had been stolen. Upon returning with security, he discovered the laptop back in its original spot.

After having an independent company look at his laptop, Kyllonen found out that somebody had installed malware so they could have remote access to his screen. Luckily, the Finnish online poker pro was smart enough not to use his computer after the bizarre and puzzling incident. We can only hope that nothing similar happens during the 2014 EPT Barcelona event.

PokerStars’ purchase of Full Tilt saves 200 Jobs

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

When PokerStars purchased Full Tilt Poker, many players lauded the deal because it meant their money would be returned. After all, when FTP lost their gaming license a couple months after Black Friday, it meant players had lost over $334 million in deposits. Taking this into account, many people hail Stars as something of a savior in this matter.

As stories continue to surface about the monumental deal, it appears as if another positive byproduct of the PokerStars/Full Tilt deal is that over 200 jobs have been saved. When Full Tilt Poker first lost their gaming license in June of 2011, they had 450 staff members on hand. However, this number was continually dwindling leading up to the sale. Luckily, the 200+ people still on FTP’s payroll were able to keep their jobs thanks to PokerStars.

What’s more is that Stars plans to run FTP as a separate poker site, which means they’ll be adding more personnel in the future. Eric Hollreiser, who is the Head of Corporate Communications at Stars, discussed this matter by saying, “When we do take over Full Tilt we will continue to operate it out of Dublin. In the near to medium term we expect there to be growth in the Dublin office.”

Hollreiser continued to talk about the deal by stating, “It’s too early to begin disclosing many details about our strategic plans for Full Tilt, but our first order of business is to re-open the site, pay back all of the players and begin rebuilding Full Tilt’s reputation.” He added, “Going forward, we will operate Full Tilt as a separate brand, giving players another leading and trusted platform to enjoy the game.”

The Full Tilt Poker re-launch is expected to happen some time in November of 2012. At this point, international customers will have access to their formerly locked-up funds while American players need to contact the US Department of Justice.