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)
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!