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.
“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.”