PokerStars has started to look like a completely different site over the past few months. They’ve dropped famous pros, increased rake for certain games, introduced Spin & Gos, added currency exchange rates and have reduced upper VIP rewards.
Obviously you don’t make all of these changes without ruffling a few feathers, which is exactly what’s happened in PokerStars’ case. Many regulars are outraged because some of the moves directly affect their bottom line. And they are pointing the finger directly at Amaya Gaming, which recently purchased Stars for $4.9 million.
But the company’s most-prominent sponsored player, Daniel Negreanu, thinks a little differently on the matter. Writing in his blog at FullContactPoker, Negreanu explained that many of PokerStars’ recent moves are meant to bring new players to the game, rather than gouge everybody for money. He also explains that most of these changes were coming before Amaya bought the site:
I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about some of the recent changes at PokerStars and throw in my two cents. First of all, I think it’s really important to note that most of the recent changes were going to happen well before the new ownership group took over. The online poker landscape has changed over the last few years and many of these changes were inevitable in a competitive market for the company to continue to be the world leader. While I get it, nobody gets excited over rake increases, I think it’s really important to note that PokerStars remains the cheapest place to play online poker. The rake increases are still smaller than what the competition offer, and that’s before you account for the generous VIP programs.
It’s not hard to tell who’s side Negreanu is on after reading this post. So his opinion definitely won’t win him any favor with some of the die-hard regulars at PokerStars. But he and Stars both maintain that the changes are necessary to stay competitive with other poker sites and draw new players.
There’s probably definitely some truth to this, however, most of the players’ complaints about increased rake and currency fees also hold validity – especially when Stars is far and away the market leader.