Posts Tagged ‘PokerStars changes’

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.

Daniel Negreanu fully agrees with PokerStars’ Changes

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

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.