A group of high-stakes poker players boycotted PokerStars’ Turbo Series High Roller event which took place on Saturday, February 16, after the online poker giant announced a rewards reduction for MTT players.
Over 190 high stakes regulars were up in arms against the new rules and sent a collective statement to poker media outlets. Speaking on behalf of the high stakes MTT community, Belgian player “girafganger” said they should have made a stand a long time ago, when some cashgame and SNG players took similar actions, but it’s never too late to have their voices heard.
The players raised a number of issues in relation to rake and rakeback. The group said PokerStars is consistently increasing rake while decreasing rakeback in recent events and tournaments. The world’s largest online poker room has been criticized for not properly communicating with players, setting out unclear rakes, with rakeback and the whole structure of MTTs lacking transparency and seemingly designed to lower ROIs.
The group came up with a list of things they would like to see significant improvements on, including having a clearly visible rake, reducing late registrations and reentries, establishing an open and direct communication line with PokerStars, setting a maximum percentage of 10% rake which will apply to the.eu pool as well as the low-stakes games.
Some of the other issues they wanted to be addressed include a reevaluation of rake in every stake, coming up with lower-edge formats like PKO, Turbo, Hypers and Rebuys and a discussion on future rake increases.
The $5,200 buy-in Turbo Series event carried $750,000 in total guarantees and required a minimum of five players to run. However, the event needed to attract at least 150 players for it to hit its targeted prize pool.
PokerStars rival partypoker took advantage of the rewards reduction announcement and decided to increase the buy-in of their KO Series from $3000 to $5000, with the guaranteed prize pool now standing at $1,000,000.
High-Profile Names Among Boycotters
The February 16 $5,200 PKO event was boycotted by high-profile names in the MTT space, including Niklas “lena900” Atedt and Simon “C Darwin2” Mattson. Both are respectively ranked by poker ranking site PocketFives as the world’s top two online MTT players.
Among other players who decided to skip the event were Christian “eisenhower1” Jeppsson, Chris “Big_huni” Hunichen, Roman “RomeOpro” Romanovsky, Dietrich “2pacnrw16” Fast, Mikita “fish2013” Badziakouski, Manig “swordfish007 ” Loeser and Conor “1_conor_1_b” Beresford.