High Stakes Regulars Boycott PokerStars’ Turbo Series $5,200 PKO Event
Frank Op de Woerd
Following the announcement of a rewards reduction at PokerStars, a group of high stakes poker players has organized a boycott of today’s PokerStars Turbo Series High Roller event.
"We, the MTT community, believe to have a bit more leverage because we can make or break the guarantees and divert action from one site to a competitor"
In a statement sent to poker media outlets, Belgian player "giraf ganger" announced the boycott.
He stated: "The time to make a stand was probably a long time ago and while similar actions have been previously taken by cashgame and sit n go players. We, the MTT community, believe to have a bit more leverage because we can make or break the guarantees and divert action from one site to a competitor, if need be, more effectively."
In the Medium.com post, the Belgian player – speaking for a larger group of players from the high stakes MTT community – summarized the issues they have with the world’s largest online poker room. All the mentioned issues revolve around rake and rakeback, the portion of buy-ins players pay the host in return for organizing the event. According to the post, the group of players take issue with the "constantly increasing" rake and decreasing rakeback. On top of that, they speak out against the rake not being clearly stated, rakeback being untransparent, the overall structure of multi-table tournaments "designed to lower ROI’s," and a lack of communication.
Following the list of gripes, the group put together a number of things they like to see improve:
- A direct and open line of communication with the company.
- Clearly visible rake
- A maximum percentage of 10% rake (applying to low stakes and the .eu pool)
- Reassessment of the rake across all stakes and in formats where the edges are naturally lower (such as PKO, Rebuys, Turbo, Hypers)
- Reduction on the length of Late Registration and number of reentries
- Debate on future rake increases
The ‘Turbo Series 108: $5,200 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO, High Roller], $750K Gtd’ event that the players intend on boycotting is scheduled for today. At the time of writing, two players were registered; both from Greece and likely to unregister before the tournament is set to get underway at 19:00 CEST.
The tournament, with a buy-in of $5,200, has a $750,000 guarantee. According to the fine print, a minimum of five players are needed to get the tournament underway. For the guarantee to be met, the tournament needs to attract a minimum of 150 players. Last week’s $5,200 buy-in PKO event, won by Justin Bonomo for $192,428, saw 152 players enter with 42 reentries to create a total prize pool of $970,000, easily surpassing the guarantee.
PokerStars competitor partypoker upped the buy-in of their planned $3,000 buy-in KO Series to $5,000, and increased the guaranteed prize pool to $1,000,000.
Among the players that have vowed to boycott tonight’s $5,200 PKO on PokerStars, are many high-profile names. Niklas "lena900" Åstedt and Simon "C Darwin2" Mattsson, the world’s number one and two online MTT players according to online poker ranking site PocketFives, are on the list. Besides "giraf ganger" himself, the current number four in the ranking, are players like Christian "eisenhower1" Jeppsson, Conor "1_conor_1_b" Beresford, Chris "Big_huni" Hunichen, Bryan "bparis" Paris, Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden, Roman "RomeOpro" Romanovsky, Jans "graftekkel" Arends, Dietrich "2pacnrw16" Fast, Andras "probirs" Nemeth, Sam "Samsquid" Grafton, Connor "blanconegro" Drinan, Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit, Mikita "fish2013" Badziakouski, Steven "SvZff" van Zadelhoff, Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira, Chance "chancescards" Kornuth, Manig "swordfish007" Loeser, Parker "tonkaaaaP" Talbot, and Martin "0piggybank" Finger.
At the time of writing, the list contained 194 screen names who, according to the opening post, "would have played the 5k or at least try to satellite but decided to skip it."
Following the negative response to the rewards reduction on twitter from many high stakes players, PokerStars competitor partypoker upped the buy-in of their planned $3,000 buy-in KO Series to $5,000, and increased the guaranteed prize pool to $1,000,000. The $5,000 + $100 partypoker event is planned for the same time as the event on PokerStars and has a similar structure. At the time of writing, nine players were registered for the partypoker event.
While they don’t host a similarly structured event, 888poker did announce another rakefree Sunday, with several tournaments on 888poker this Sunday not charging a registration fee.
PokerNews has reached out to PokerStars with a request for comment.
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