Since Amaya took over PokerStars, there have been a seemingly endless stream of decisions taken by management that have angered their customers. The latest changes aren't all bad, the restrictions regarding third party software are probably beneficial to the long term health of online poker, and will level the playing field. The other recent change though, seriously restricts the amount of rewards given to the high volume, mid to high stakes players. This change has been undertaken with the view that online poker needs to start looking after the recreational players more, to make online poker more attractive to them, and to bring in new players. So if that were the case, all the money saved on reducing high VIP player rewards will be spent on increasing low VIP player rewards, right? Well, not exactly. The lower VIP players are seeing very little increase.
In the face of this disappointing news, a large group of top poker pros have arranged a PokerStars boycott between December 1st and 3rd. They urge all players, no matter what their level, to give their support to this cause, by not playing on PokerStars through this 72 hour period. Dani "Ansky" Stern has been accompanied by Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonmo, Mike "Timex" McDonald, Doug "WCGRider" Polk, Phil "Mr Sweets28" Galfond, Dan "Danny98765" Smith, and Ben "Ben86" Tollerene, and many others.
Dani Stern has been acting as spokesman for the group
Despite online poker players never being able to form a functioning union in the past, it seems that this planned act of unity is bringing more players together than usual. There will always be an underlying issue of a few players taking advantage of softer tables and playing while lots of pros are away, but those who truly want a profitable long term future in the game, are seemingly getting on board. The group of players are not protesting against the software ban at all, it is simply the rewards changes that have caused them to take action.
Reports suggest that 2,000 players have pledged to help the cause, by joining a strike which begins at 12.01 EST and lasts 72 hours. Dani Stern has been acting as spokesman for the group on 2+2 Forum, and hopes that players will also withdraw as much money as they can on December 1st too. This will perhaps have a limited effect on PokerStars, as they are required to keep player funds completely separate from company money, but it still makes a statement. The real victory for these players, would be in cutting into the December profit margins of PokerStars by staging their mass 72 hour log out.
This is not the first time that players have united to take strike action against PokerStars, with players on the French server having seen a great deal of success with a strike in 2012. Negotiations between players and PokerStars were held in the aftermath of this strike, and a similar situation may well develop after the planned strike on December 1st. No matter what the end result of the mass log out, it will no doubt continue to fuel the idea that PokerStars are no longer taking care of their players as they used to. It should also help rival sites to further bridge the gap between themselves, and the industry leading brand.
Article Craig B