On the same day as the long-awaited stateside return of PokerStars, the world's largest online poker provider hit players with some far less welcome news. Players in open-liquidity markets will be hit with rake increases in a variety of games, amounting to an increase of roughly four percent, the company announced on its corporate blog.
The changes, which will take effect March 28, come after "a review of the current business environment and the pricing policies employed across the competitive landscape for online gaming."
Here's a list of the changes as stated by the company:
- Spin & Go rake will be increased by one percentage point for buy-ins from $1 to $30 (two percentage points in $3 buy-in). $0.25, $60 and $100 buy-ins will not change.
- In multi-table tournaments, PokerStars will match the practices deployed in our closed-liquidity markets where rebuys and add-ons incur fees similar to the original entry. These tournaments represent approximately 12 percent of the current schedule.
- Multi-table tournament hyper-turbo rake will be increased to five percent.
- Cap and percentage of rake will be increased in some no-limit and pot-limit ring games, mainly heads-up. Some rake caps will be lowered. Limit games will not be affected.
Many of the changes are self-explanatory and involve increases across a number of subsets of games.
For the second change, PokerStars is moving rake in its open liquidity markets in line with "fenced-in" markets like PokerStars France as far as rebuy tournaments are concerned. Players could previously rebuy and add on without paying additional rake.
Players, already feeling the pinch after the company drastically reduced high-end rewards in late 2015, have voiced predictable discontent with the move. Posts are piling up in a TwoPlusTwo thread, and notable regulars like Doug Polk, David Yan, and Steven van Zadelhoff were some of those to have expressed their thoughts via Twitter.
the hypocrisy+gall of @pokerstars to claim to act in best interest of game +of recreational plyrs is just incredible https://t.co/0yopjr7wl0— David Vamplew (@davidv1213)
Following the changes, PokerStars maintains that it still has the lowest overall rake in the online poker market. In a chart that follows the announcement on the blog, PokerStars compares their rake across no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha cash games with competitors for stakes from $.02/.05 to $5/10. They claim PartyPoker, 888poker, and iPoker to have higher rake by seven, 16, and 19 percent, respectively.