When PokerStars, the biggest online poker room in the world, increased rake for its SnG’s, cash games, and tournaments and announced that it would reduce benefits, poker players staged three different protests.
On November 5, Two Plus Two users discussed the pros and cons of disrupting PokerStars’ cash games by first joining as many games as possible and then sitting out. Players also decided to interact with other players via the chat box to make them aware of the situation and to explain to them why they had decided not to play. Unfortunately, this move turned out to be a failure because of the 7% increase in traffic to PokerStars over the past month. Players feel that their protest failed chiefly because of lack of organization on their part.
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On the other hand, the users of GipsyTeam, another online poker forum, were more organized when they protested against doubled rake on heads-up games. Throughout the protest period, there were hardly any $10/$20 heads-up games being played at PokerStars. Pokerfuse.com later reported that PokerStars noticed this and began banning players who were sitting idle without playing any games.
The third player protest is being organized by regular heads-up hyper turbo SnG players, which are now too expensive for casual players. As part of the protest, regular players have refused to play, thus reducing traffic to these games.
Many players do not see the point of organizing such protests. Sofia Lovgren, member of 888 Poker’s Team Pro, said: “I don’t think it’s a very effective idea; it would be very hard to organize and manage something like that in a proper way. There are so many players playing at PokerStars, as at any of the other top rooms, and we should realize that the ones who discuss in the forums are actually a very small part of them.”
UK poker players who were recently moved to PokerStars.co.uk, which complies with UK’s recently amended gambling laws, are facing many other problems. While some of them complained of inability to download the software, others complained that they could download the software, but could not register for PokerStars’ popular Spin N Go games. Players also complained about the VIP Store lacking stellar awards, about the BOOM hand-replayer not working, and about difficulties in sending and receiving payments to and from players in some countries such as Sweden and Lithuania. PokerStars has succeeded in resolving only some of these issues so far.