Monday, 14 December 2015

Change Em Up!

As of January 1st, there will be a bunch of changes happening, including that all FPPs that are in your account will be converted to Pokerstars new currency known as "StarsCoin".  StarsCoin will be converted from FPPs where the value is decreased by 25%.

Changing Currency... And Grammar!

Apparently I have been writing StarCoins wrong, they're called StarsCoin! Yes, you heard it right that is "Stars" coin, not "StarCoin" which I think sounds better, because that extra S is a little bit more of a mouthful imo.

But wait! That's not it! Pokerstars has also decided that grammer is not needed and that StarsCoins are super special and plurals don't need S's! More then 1 StarsCoin has no S! Coins contain S's when there is more then one of them, but not these special StarsCoin! They're like the word Sheep, singular is the same as plural!

Before the Amaya buyout I'm sure that I would have assumed that this was some kinda mistake but nowadays I think that they might have had a special meeting about this and decided that StarsCoins had too many S's or something and therefore decided that they could override grammar.

How to Convert Your FPPs

So if you guys have FPPs, you should convert them into money or spend them in the VIP Shop before this happens if you don't want to lose out.

As explained here, the best way to convert FPPs into real money is to play 235 FPP Satellites into the Sunday Storm. This is the best option to do if you are not Supernova+ spending 100k FPPs on the $1600 cash bonus.

The 235 FPP Satellites can be found on the main MTT lobby, they run later in the week closer to Sunday though. These are 6 man tournaments, and 2 players will get a ticket. Once you win more then one ticket, the ones after that will turn into Tournament Dollars (T$) and it is this that you can convert into real money. The entry is $11, so you will be getting 11 $T per win after the first.

I'm not 100% sure if you can convert the first satellite into T$ too, you used to be able to by unregistering to the Sunday Storm, but from what I heard last it is unlikely as PokerStars has changed this policy.

You can sell your T$ on this website, or get a better deal at the 2p2 Forum by posting and then getting a message and then following the instructions...

Anyways, this is still better value then just converting your FPPs by buying the cash rebates. Its annoying that you cant change them straight away, but its worth the time!

More Kicks in the Teeth...

Quite a lot of things has happened since my last post and I have a habit of writing the longest posts, so here is a TL DR summary;

9th Dec - Negreanu officially writes his blog about the changes, in summary he says that the changes should have happened earlier but were delayed by a year, communication should have been better, and that the strikes showed Amaya better number of cashouts to deposit ratios (no proof tho)

9th Dec - Pokerstars announce 4 one million dollar freerolls to replace the Supernova freerolls in 2016 and for some reason decides to use that to link the VIP changes controversy spinning it as a good thing for everyone.

10th Dec - A bunch of players wear T-shirts against the VIP changes at EPT Prague, Daniel Dvoress is interviewed about the situation.

13th Dec - Pokerstars Lee Jones responds to VIP changes via Pokernews. He repeats yet again that the changes are needed, that the strike was good for them, and that he is sorry about the bad communication and that they need to improve.

14th Dec - Pokerstars Matthew on 2p2 forum writes a damning post insisting that communication between Pokerstars and the players has been adaquete about the Supernova Elite program, using various quotes out of context relighting the issue once more when the dust was settling.

It is the most amazing post because it basically contradicted what Lee Jones had said! It was as if they had not seen the interview or communicated with each other at all. His was an apology that the communication wasn't good enough and trying to build back the bridges with the players, and this post was basically taking everything back and insisting that communication was good enough! Fuck that apology!

Amaya stocks has been on a bit of a downswing lately, and had a sharp fall that coincided with their Pokerstars VIP changes. It will be interesting if their stocks continue to decline in 2016 (which would probably mean more bad news for players). Seems like they're gambling on re-entry into the USA to send it back up! Only time will tell...

It does seem my posts are quite negative recently. Unfortunately this is the state of the poker world these days. The fact that Pokerstars is a monopoly means we have no alternative, since its rivals are just way too small. I will be doing some more positive posts later on, I'm challenging myself to post once a week.

Anyways, since I think Pokerstars is in need of some grammar lessons, here's Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington to help you out!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Negreanu Reponds to VIP Changes & Pokerstars Strike

Sooo this is slightly late since the strike is over, but here's the VOD if anyone wants to watch it.

First of all, I think its important to say that Daniel's position is nothing but super awkward and terrible. He is a representative of Pokerstars, and at the same time also (unofficially) represents the players. Keeping the balance between the two parties is an impossible job.

He has been getting a lot of stick on social media and its uncalled for really. The fact is that right now, Negreanu is the only Pro from Pokerstars that has officially gone on record to talk about these changes. Others have not, and understandably so as they fear for contract terminations if the wrong thing is said, which is sad to see because it highlights my idea that certain aspects of free market capitalism are closer to dictatorship then democracy (but that will be another blog post).

I don't want to go on about these topics as they are irrelevant or impractical, which I see in comments sections, twitter, or two plus two forum posts;
  • How Daniel is a traitor or moneygrabber etc, everything he says is pointless...
  • How the Interviewer sucks
  • How out of touch Negreanu is with online poker and therefore he has no right to be talking about this stuff.
However true the above points are, they are a pretty bad unconstructive attitude to have. Discussion is good, and new information where ever we can get it helps us understand things more clearly. From what I gather, Negreanu doesn't have to say anything, but he seems to be a guy who does what he wants and gives zero fucks. If you think that changes should happen overnight and this is all pointless, then way even bother watching?

6 Points To Take Away

In no particular order, here's some interesting things from the interview;
  1. Negreanu is strongly against no VPPs in High Stakes cash, and SNE being changed for 2016 as a broken promise - These are the two things out of all the changes that he is against. The other VIP changes he is not against. There are a lot of changes and he states that he has to pick his battles, and these are the two main points that he thinks are the most important.
  2. Pokerstars has less or no staff that currently play online poker anymore since the buy out - Has Amaya laid off or pressured some of the old staff to leave? It seems that this might be the case. This is nothing new when new management comes in, especially if their direction is in conflict with the old one, I've actually seen this happen to people I know, and I'm sure that you have. This brings into question how out of touch the new staff and management could be.
  3. Negreanu has some influence, which is more to be said then any other Pokerstars Pro. - It was stated that Negreanu has calls with the "higher ups" which sounds like the Amaya CEO or whoever is in charge of the Pokerstars side of it. He said that he was hopeful from his first call in having some movement on these changes, but then said was less so in his latest call. Why would Amaya be even calling Negreanu if he wasn't some sort of influence? So if anything we can get out of these interviews is knowing that if Negreanu knows these issues, and he is communicating with Amaya/Pokerstars, they are definitely getting feedback from at the very least from him.
  4. Communication with players has been non existent, and the Pokerstars reputation is damaged severely - It is clear that especially since the buy out, communication of changes have been nothing short of terrible. Pokerstars had a great reputation of talking with the players especially on the forums, and announce ideas and changes ahead of time to get feedback. Negreanu acknowledges this, and did not realise it was this bad, and sounds like he will try to be more pro active in making sure communication is better.
  5. With this bad, the good will come later - Negreanu had stated repeatedly that he knows of some promotions in 2016 that will bring in new players and be good for the poker scene. But these are not finalised, and frustratingly he is unable to talk about it. Maybe these bad changes should have coinsided with the good to help us understand the direction that Pokerstars wants to go.
  6. Negreanu is for the strike, but thinks its unlikely to do anything - This is the harsh truth about it, but as Dani says (and Negreanu agrees), it is still good to do as a support for solidarity. Also, the strike can help give an idea of numbers and other information that will be useful for other future strikes possibly. Getting change is what we want, but realistically one three day strike is unlikely to get that. What is more important is the showing of unity and looking at the influence that is possible, most likely through bad publicity of the Pokerstars brand.

Possible "Goods" in 2016?

So as Negreanu had said multiple times, there are some "Good" changes that will happen in 2016 to hopefully get new players in. But since they're not finalised, he's not allowed to talk about them. But what could they be? Here's some of my theories;

Jackpot Poker (Breaking in the Mobile Phone App Industry) - This isn't actually a theory but recently announced on 30th November when they posted this video up.

It all looks very weird and vague, but it looks like this is a free to play phone app game. I imagine it is using the free chips to get players interested, and then it will promote the real money client. Its hard to say how successful this will be, but with Zynga poker and other apps like that it does seem there is an interest. However, getting those players from free play to real money will be another matter.

Anonymous Table Selecting - I think some kind of implementation of this will happen. Whether this means that there wont be a registration lobby where you can see what players have registered, or just simply putting you straight in a game without the ability to table select at all, something will be done to even out the playing field for those recreationals who have no idea how advanced the regs can be with this kind of thing.

Jackpot SNGs - Apart from Spin and Go's, the Sit and Go games have been dying a slow and painful death. Newer players are not interested in "slow and steady" but more of the chase of fast and furious! Huge jackpots, 3 minute blinds, what's not to like? Well with the success of the spins, it could see this jackpot prizepool style move to other formats. The fact that recreationals understand that there is some luck in poker, a more randomised prizepool might be more attractive to them since they could win it in the short run. Granted, this is my friend's idea, check out his great blog!

Football (Soccer) Promotion - It seems that Pokerstars has spent a lot of money getting Neymar and Ronaldo as brand ambassadors for the site. This is undoubtedly expensive buys, and possibly targeted towards Brazilians too as they are an up and coming nation. It will be surprising to me if they don't do some kind of promotion related to these stars, possibly merging the Poker with their sports betting section to get in new players.

More Golden SNGs/Cash Game Milestones - These wont be new, but seems like Star's most successful campaigns. I think there will be more of this, possibly bigger in some ways.

Anyways, only time will tell what they come up with, but Negreanu agrees that some of the changes Pokerstars has made are drastic, and a huge gamble that they will be outweighed by the positive impacts of their promotions next year.

As always, I'll finish off with something random that I like, another youtube I like called Film Theory... Guess what? Neo isn't "The One"!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Strike Against the Pokerstars 2016 Changes 1st - 3rd December

There will be a strike on December 1st to 3rd abandoning all games at Pokerstars during this period. It would be much appreciated if you joined the strike by signing up here with your username and stake/games you play in. We will all be making cashouts simultaneously so do this with an amount that your comfortable with. So far over a thousand players has agreed to join the strike.

What Is The Strike About?

My last post here described the changes that were announced for Pokerstars in 2016. In summary these are;
  • Supernova Elite to be phased out and gone by 2017 
  • Concierge service, Super Quarterly Freeroll, Steller Awards and Milestone Credits all removed. 
  • StarCoins to be introduced in place of FPPs. All FPPs will be automatically converted into StarCoins with a 25% decrease in value. 
  • Supernova Elite rakeback capped at 45% from 60%, Supernova capped at 30% from 40%, PlatinumStar reduced by 10% 
  • ChromeStar laughably increased by 10%, which is 30 cents a month 
  • Earning VPPs abolished in cash games with blinds of 5/10 (1000NL) 
The main ones are that Supernova Elites have their rakeback capped at 45% when it is advertised otherwise. Supernova Elite is a 2 year reward status, and to announce changes for it to be changed next year instead of 2 years later is unacceptable. Verging on fraud, as they have advertised on their site what it is.

High stakes cash games without VPPs is essentially killing off those games, and making all those players move down in stakes of which VPPs would be rewarded. This in turn makes those lower staked games harder, more crowded and full of regulars, better players and then have others move to lower stakes as well.

Amaya wants CasinoStars, not Pokerstars

Pokerstars has always been known for its great support and communication with its players. But since Amaya's acquisition for an unprecedented overpriced $4.9 billion this reputation has disappeared quite quickly.

And as another side note of which I will be blogging about soon, this buying out of Pokerstars is an offer Mark Scheinberg cannot refuse, and typical of capitalist culture where big eats small, taking over with no idea how things work with no experience in the field, and throws money at it hoping that more will be made. If not, it fails, doesn't matter. Shareholders and profits over workers! Long term sustainability? What is that?

Anyways, as I said communication used to be amazing with Pokerstars. They even had two plus two meet ups with Poker players and would invite them to their headquarters in Isle of Man! Ah, how times have changed...

Since last year, changes has happened where there are no formal announcements (increase in currency exchange transactions which happened overnight as an example), no communication or feedback, and pretty much posts on two plus two forums filled with corperate jibberish language.

It really does seem to me that Amaya is thinking that Pokerstars should be a betting site instead of a poker site. If anything it incorporates the idea that real life Casinos do, get the recreational poker players in, and after a while they will go wander about and lose some money at blackjack or roulette.

This is interesting because it is backwards from other betting sites where they have started as that, and then added poker in on the side. Maybe this is the dream that Amaya is looking for?

Online Poker the Video Game

With the signings of JCarver and Jamie Staples, I was quite hopeful that this was the direction that they would go in.

Twitch has really shown the world that you shouldn't underestimate what people will want to watch.The idea of watching other people play video games live was laughable, and now this has exploded to becoming one of the top visited sites.

One of the biggest draws to watching someone else play games, is because you might also play that game too, and be interested in learning or seeing how that streamer fairs in the same situations that you might too.

Someone might also just enjoy watching a streamer because he's a good entertainer, there's something interesting about him/her. You might also want to watch a stream to check out the game itself, maybe it is a new release and watching would help you decide if you would like to buy it or not.

Whatever the reason, Twitch really helped developers into promoting games, which helped get more people interested in it. Esports became more popular, and competitions started getting streamed too, some getting over 100k viewers watching.

Now some new games have integrated the ability to watch your favourite player play live within the client. PS4 and XBox One has streaming options as a standard now, allowing any gamer to broadcast themselves playing.

All this increase in the cycle of promotion in the gaming scene makes me think that there is no reason why online poker cannot be the same too. It wouldn't be a 2nd boom which players are hoping for, but more of a slow steady increase in new players to the pool.

Some ideas that would support this direction;
  • Having a friends list.
  • Then an instant messaging service with those friends whilst your online.
  • Advertising when a Pokerstars Pro is streaming.
  • More customisation integration, "skins" as its called in the gaming world. Use StarCoins to buy cool new themes or card backs etc. Make it more fun. 
  • Could have daily tasks and milestone achievements for StarCoins. More trophy style stuff like the 1M VPP badge which is added to your avatar.
  • Widgets like in Full Tilt are pretty good.
  • Bring back leaderboards! 
  • Durr Challenge style stuff that the Pro's do. There's nothing like good self promotion when people talk about a competition.
  • High stakes tables highlighted and featured in the front page or something. Railbirds are wanted in my version!
  • It would be cool if WSOP was streamed live on twitch and advertised on Pokerstars.


Will this make any difference?
We are not sure. But we should try something and see what happens. These days capitalistic ideology is very much against strikes because they effect the profits which they call disruption. It is the true democratic way of trying to open up a conversation.

How much do I cash out?
Anything comfortable. Doesn't have to be your whole bankroll. The point is to give Pokerstars an unprecedented amount of transactions to deal with on Dec 1st - 3rd.

I am a recreational player. This wont effect me.
This will effect you. The lower staked games will be harder and more reg filled. The lower stakes will not have as many casual players like yourself there anymore. You will not get as many rewards like before. Most casuals will lose quicker and probably move down even more. The cycle continues...

If the worse regs lose and quit then there will be more space for recreationals.
The regs that have a lower winrate will move down stakes and then the lower stakes will be harder. It will increase regs at lower stakes and recreationals will lose faster at lower stakes.

This is Capitalism. Deal with it.
Whilst this is true that Amaya is a company where it will take steps to doing whatever they want if they think it will serve their shareholders and increase profits, there is no excuse for not listening to their customers and doing any market research whatsoever. This is a typical case where a company/new manager gets put in with no experience in the field, dictates changes and expects everything to be ok.

Also, no company in their right mind would see number of current subscriptions (the regs), new sign ups (the new players) go down (traffic) over the years... and then think, man we really need to take away the perks of the current subscribers, and also make subscriptions even more expensive! The most logical thing would be to make subscriptions cheaper, ie Lower The Rake for the love of God!

Critics of the strike keep saying that Amaya has probably done statistical analysis of the numbers etc etc. Really it looks like they are literally trying to everything they can to not decrease the rake.

Anyways, I'll leave you with this inspirational video by filmmaker Casey Neistat. I've been really addicted to his youtube channel recently!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Longest Spin and Go Ever?

The Death of Poker Blogs

Since my one year hiatus from blogging, I had decided to make a conscious effort to start again. It has been quite sad to see my bloglist look like this;

Note: Not my bloglist lol. I cleared mine out a while ago...
It seems that a lot of poker blogs have died out, my theories being that;

  1. They cant be arsed.
  2. They don't play poker anymore or are losing and don't want to blog.
  3. They, like me thought about doing it and literally procrastinated forever?
  4. There's no topics to blog about that are positive. Poker has been taking a battering over the last few years since Black Friday (The overnight no-warning banning of Online Poker in USA), so that makes people not want to blog if its always going to be negative posts.

My goal was to do one post a week, not too difficult right? Well, the problem with me is once I do one I feel I have to do it right. Being too much of a perfectionist means that I have to write stuff I'm interested in, in a way which is understandable to all. I end up making sure I have everything in there, then it ends up being stupidly long, then that makes my newer posts have to be comparatively as good, creating a weird unnecessary cycle of competition in my mind.

There are a lot of positives to doing a blog. You have a pretty cool diary of stuff to look back on, I read back on my past blogs and its interesting to see what I was thinking at the time etc. It can also be quite therapeutic in that you can get your ideas out there instead of bottling it up.


Some P-YAN Bloggin' Tips;

DON'T Post Mass Hand Histories - Too many times I've seen poker players post up mass text of hand histories and talk in great depth in poker jargon, but hey, if that's your thing and your only targeting that type of audience then fine, but most casuals have no idea what your talking about.

DON'T Complain Continuously at Bad Beats - No one likes a Negative Nancy. Well, at the very least have a balance for your complaining with some celebrating! Most people remember the bad beats but never really the times when they get lucky to win.

DO Use Paragraphing - For the love of God please don't put all your stuff in one massive block of text. Space that stuff out. You don't talk in one massive sentence do you?

DO Add Pictures/Media - Make it look pretty! Add some YouTube vids too if you want. Poker graphs are probably the most common.

DO Talk About Other Stuff - You have other things on your mind apart from Poker surely?

Most of these things seem to be pretty common sense but I cant tell you the number of times I've seen some pretty bad blogging. Anyways, I hope some of you guys do some good postin's, I kinda wanna revive my bloglist so if you have one I'll be happy to add it, just gimmie a message or leave a comment below.

The Longest Spin and Go Ever?

A very strange thing happened to me the other day. 2 of my Spin and Go's was stuck at the first blind level. Since I 4 table, I didn't really notice til like 15 mins in! Normally each blind level lasts 3 minutes.

The fact that it was a 6x drove me nuts. I'm pretty sure I lost concentration in my other games at the time. One of the things I hate about live poker was the fact that it was so sloooooooow. That's why I like online, its faster and you can play multiple games. But there's nothing in comparison to that then a game where the blind levels never rise, and your playing heads up for 6 times the normal prize. Oh, 187 hands of pure bliss...

What is even worse is that I was two cards away from winning. My opponent started tilting which is what I was waiting for and started overjamming. Just needed that A9 to hold vs QJ but it didn't and then we were back to slowville :(

The chat was quite funny. Quite nice to talk to someone actually these days as the games are so quick its not that common;

puyan said, "is it me or are the blinds not moving up O_o"
puyan said, "been on this blind level for 27 min!"
puyan said, "blinds are not moving up!"
puyan said, "LOL"
Sjostyy said, "help?"
puyan said, "how long can u stay :D"
Sjostyy said, "long hahahah"
puyan said, "dammit"
puyan said, "me too"
puyan said, "haha"
puyan said, "we r going to be here for hours"
Sjostyy said, "we can get help?"
*puyan said, "i tried :(" 
Sjostyy said, "we can do split pot"
puyan said, "i would"
Sjostyy said, "i don t now how"
puyan said, ":("
Sjostyy said, "than we need help"
puyan said, "LOL"
puyan said, "i let u win the other one, u let me win this one ok? :D"
Sjostyy said, "hahahahahah"
puyan said, ";)"

*At the time I had pressed the button for the Chat Moderator, fully knowing that they only dealt with Chat related problems and was hoping that he would pass on the problem to someone else. He turned up, I explained what was happening, he said he only dealt with chat problems and promptly disappeared. #NotMyProblem

Anyways, GG. Well played, Ms (or Mr in disguise?) "Sjostyy"!

However, after emailing Stars I did get a refund for those two games. I argued that they were advertised at 3 minute blinds, and due to their software bugging this didn't happen, so essentially it was fraud. #Freeroll

I don't know if this is the longest game ever but it must be right? I've had a few games reach the t150 level as my highest, which is 12th blind level which is 36 mins? There would be arguments that this wouldn't count as it was bugged, but seems like a fun thought anyways?

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pokerstars Changes 2016 Announced... (Hold onto Your Hats!)

Back From Hibernation

Wow. Its almost been a year since my last post. Admittedly this has been due to laziness and motivation, but I'm back! I tend to write stupidly long posts which take ages which also had added to the excuses to not post. However I do miss it, because it is in some ways quite therapeutic to get things off my chest.

Its kinda sad to see this being a trend amongst my fellow poker players that also did some blogging. Circumstances in the poker world has really hit everyone hard and its easy to understand the lack of motivation for continuing blogs when so much negativity and struggle is apparent within the community. And as much as I hate that I start again with something like that, I feel its important so here we go...

The Fumblings of Announced Changes

It has been a long time coming that Pokerstars was going to announce some changes for 2016. An announcement of an announcement was posted in August, saying it would happen mid October.

October came and went, and only rolling tumbleweeds from Pokerstars. Every Supernova Elite or player who was thinking about potentially going for it waited nervously.

Then October 31st, someone noticed that a post was announced on the Russian site;

No response from Pokerstars. So whilst the community was wondering whether this was a fake or not, the announcements did not look pretty. In fact they seemed so drastic that it didn't seem out of the question that it was a fake. But shortly after I linked it to someone I know in Pokerstars, the official announcement came Nov 1st.

Now who knows what on earth happened there. The announcement was 1/2 a month late, and whatever the hell that was, it was messy, and seemed like some kind of mistake. Who even knows if Pokerstars was going to even do these announcements at all at this time, they could have been wanting to stall til Dec 31st? Who knows. Either way it was a complete disaster, lacked professionalism and just wasn't what a pre-Amaya bought Pokerstars was known for.

The Changes

This is a lot of information overload, the official posts are linked below, but here's a summary;

Sources - 2p2 Post, Statement of Intent Stars Post, Stars Official VIP Changes

• All rewards will be given in a new currency, StarsCoin, each of which will have a fixed value of $0.01
• All current rewards – FPPs, Stellar Rebates, and Milestone Rebates – will be consolidated into a single form of reward called StarsCoin earned via VIP Steps

2016 Average Rewards by Status
BronzeStar - No change
ChromeStar - Up to 10% increase
SilverStar - No change
GoldStar - No change
PlatinumStar - Up to 10% decrease
Supernova - 0%-27% decrease
200k+ - 44%-60% decrease (30% rakeback cap)

• VPPs will not be earned in high-stakes cash games. High-stakes cash games include pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5-$10 or higher, 8-game $10-$20 or higher, and other limit games with blinds of $10-$15 or higher (limit hold’em of stakes $15-$30 and higher).

• VIP Store
Cash Rewards will be offered as follows, and there will be no restrictions by VIP status:
- $25 – 2,500 StarsCoin
- $100 – 10,000 StarsCoin
- $1,000 – 100,000 StarsCoin

• VIP Freerolls
The Supernova Quarterly Million freeroll will be discontinued

• Supernova Elite VIP Status will be discontinued on January 1, 2017
The benefits cap for players who earn Supernova Elite in 2015 will be 45% in 2016.

• There will no longer be monthly maintenance requirements for Supernova and Supernova Elite statuses

• Concierge service for Supernova and Supernova Elite status to be discontinued

Mass Cutbacks, Maximize those Margins

This damning announcement of changes is the harshest that Pokerstars has done so far. It can be split into two categories, cutting back and getting rid of High Stakes Players.

The List of Cutbacks - Pokerstars seem to be furiously cutting back on the rewards system in order to maximise their profits.
  • SNE discontinued in 2017.
  • Concierge service, Supernova Quarterly Freeroll, Stellar Awards, Milestone Credits all abolished.
  • Starcoins to replace FPPs. All FPPs will be converted automatically in 2017 with a decreased value of 25%.
  • Supernova capped at 30% rakeback.
  • Supernova Elites capped at 45% rakeback.
  • PlatinumStar reduced by 10%
Other removals in the past year;
  • If a Step is not reached by the end of the month, half of that step's FPPs is lost.
  • Monthly TLB promotion for MTT players removed.
  • Battle of the Planets promotion for SNG players removed.

Blame The Regs, Blame HUDs, But Whatever You Do Don't Touch Dat Rake!

An awesome podcast with Ansky talking about these changes pretty much summarises why these changes are terrible and how Amaya has destroyed the reputation and direction of Pokerstars.

The way that things are presented through their statements are unfounded and just complete typical annoying corporate talk. What is shocking is how stupid they think the poker community is. Don't they know that this community has probably one of the highest concentration of smart people within one space?

Quotes taken are from the sources above, and the 2p2 thread.

Against Volume - The stance that Stars has taken is that there are too many players playing for the rewards system that they created. This rewards system was created in order to balance out the high rake that they have in the games. The higher the rake, the harder the games are to beat. Without one, there cannot be the other.

If that was true the most logical step would be to reduce the rake, make the games more profitable to play, and less of a reward system would be needed.

The "We have always believed..." stuff is so funny, making out that they never wanted high volume players to give them a lot of rake. Oh! What an accident you created!

What an unskillful easy thing it is playing a huge volume! Those regs didn't study hard, put dedication in to their games at all! Thank god!

The Two Percent - This absolutely must have been something that was included in some meeting telling everyone to promote the randomly arbitrary two percent "statistic" that they've been throwing around. Poker players wont tell the difference will they?

Don't worry guys its only two percent of players! Does that include all the dormant accounts? Are you only counting Supernova Elites and Supernovas that have 200 vpps+? Are you saying 2% of all existing accounts since the beginning?

The fact is that this is so far from the truth that it makes them look silly. Please stop saying 2%. Seriously. What will happen is that high stakes players wont play high stakes, so they will move down to the lower stakes and play there, therefore making the lower stakes harder and more reg filled. Cash games will be much harder at 3/6 since any higher then that will receive no VPPs or StarCoins at all.

Simplifying the FPPs into StarCoins is fine. But saying that its pretty much the same, making statements that "its very much in the same ballpark" is another outrageous claim. Lets be clear; PlatinumStar is reduced by 10%, Supernova is reduced up to 27%, Supernova Elite is reduced by 44%-60%  and the "receiving more" that they are referring to is ChromeStar getting 10% more, which is 30 cents a month.

Could it be two percent? Honestly this will effect everyone.

Lets Merge Two Announcements For Confusion! - It was also announced in their blog that third party softwares such a HUDs (Heads Up Displays) would be removed from next year. This being a different topic entirely, seemed to be thrown into the mix. In fact poor Mr Negreanu who is for this got a ton of stick for referring to this as a good change, without realising that everyone else is talking about the VIP changes. He has said that he will make a statement in the next few days after assessing the whole situation, if anything he is in a very tough position, as the "People's Champ" and Poker Ambassador.

RIP High Stakes Cash - The death of railbirding those nosebleed stakes is upon is for the new year. Dispite the huge rake that it gives to Stars, they don't want it. So what amazing excuse did they make up for it? Well apparently its too expensive to run?

Riiiight. Wow those transaction costs must be awful... wonder what % they have to pay... possibly 2%? xD. Come the new year, 3/6 cash games will undoubtedly be the toughest level and any higher then that will be abandoned.

Another Dark Day for Poker

Pokerstars had spent years gaining the reputation of being the best online poker site out there. It was great at communicating and listening to the community, open minded, and had impeccable support. But since it has sold its soul to get back into the US market to Amaya for 3x worth its value, this has all gone. And what is worse is that it own Full Tilt, and all other rivals are inadequate and just not stepping up to the plate. It has the feel of an unfair monopoly, that can do what it wants because it is the only competitor out there.

Every announcement they make takes away, and treats us like idiots. Two great posts by "MeleaB" here explains what is really going on.

The PokerStars Model
Rewards Models

Amaya's direction towards making Poker feel more like casino games, getting that short term profit to show to their shareholders, and new "policies" is looking like it will be end of Pokerstars demise. However, they have a few years yet to see if things will change, but most likely it wont. It could be that the banning of Stars getting them to desperately want back in by selling their soul could be the most slow round about way of killing off this company lol.

Anyways welcome back Puyan, shame it has to start on such a downer. I will try and write more renditions of War and Peace in the future. I need an iced latte... for $2 cheaper! (Oh wait, its Nov in UK)