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Found 4 results

  1. A second boycott of PokerStars is underway. It began on January 1 and runs through Thursday, organized by WeArePokerPlayers.com, Tiltbook, Gypsy Team, and several high-stakes players. As the group put it in a thread on 2+2, "We refuse to play on PokerStars for those seven days and are cashing out at least 10% of our bankrolls on the first day of the boycott." The strike is in response to a reduction in benefits to high-volume players. In terms of overall cash game traffic on PokerStars, the boycott is not having a noticeable effect. According to data from the traffic watchdog site PokerScout, a peak of 23,081 players was recorded on January 1, the first day of the strike, compared with 24,745 on December 25, one week prior. Both days are holidays, but nonetheless cash game traffic site-wide on PokerStars dipped by 7% week-over-week. On January 2, the reverse occurred. Peak ring game traffic on PokerStars reached 25,235 players, up from 24,971 one week before, or 1%. On January 3, the third day of the boycott, peak cash game traffic was 27,222 players, about even with the 27,195 recorded one week prior. Monday marked the fourth day of the WeArePokerPlayers.com boycott of PokerStars. Peak cash game traffic reached 29,096 players, the second highest total recorded in the last two weeks. That number beat out the 28,170 players who logged in one week before and represented a 3% increase. [caption width="332" align="alignright"] PokerStars' peak cash game traffic over the last two weeks, according to PokerScout[/caption] At the high-stakes tables, traffic was down on January 1 compared to the four previous Fridays. On January 2, traffic was higher than three of the four previous Saturdays, but lower than on December 26. On January 3, traffic nose-dived to 250 high-stakes cash game players, down from 408 the week before, or almost 40%. On January 4, high-stakes traffic was down from the previous two Mondays, but up from the first two Mondays of December. [caption width="387" align="alignleft"] High-stakes cash game traffic on PokerStars, according to PokerScout[/caption] High-stakes players who joined the strike this time around included Javier 'MuckeDBoY' Tazon, who plays Six-Max Hyper-Turbo Sit and Gos and is a Supernova Elite. Tazon won the Estrellas Poker Tour High Roller in Barcelona and can be found in the top 20 in terms of the number of VPPs earned in 2015. Also joining the strike was 'Rednaxela747', who plays 1,000NL and up cash games and, according to WeArePokerPlayers, has a win rate of over 3bb/100. Also not playing on PokerStars this week is 'Masuronike', the founder of Tiltbook. One week before the boycott began on January 1, there were 1,348 players registered. The current count on Tiltbook shows 1,566, while a thread on 2+2 shows 1,641 players signed up. Organizers of the latest strike said its effect could be "absolutely massive, resulting in significant drops in the total [number] of games running," if enough players stopped playing. They claim that 10,000 players participating could reduce PokerStars' rake by up to 30%. One of the main voices of the PokerStars boycotts thus far is Dani ansky451 Stern, who posted in the strike's thread, "Taking away rewards specifically for [high-stakes] cash is an unfair attack on a specific subset of the poker community. It seems especially unbalanced and goes way beyond what would be a fair redistribution of rewards." [caption width="450"] Dani Stern helped organize the first boycott of PokerStars[/caption] Stern also added, however, that he might be part of a meeting with the PokerStars brass: "I am apparently going to get a meeting soon with some executives and I want to prove to them that the players can help move the game forward and adapt over time. I fully respect PokerStars' right to run their own business, just as I expect them to respect our decisions as a community." The boycott comes in the wake of poker pro Isaac Haxton resigning as a sponsored pro of Stars due to the changes at the site. Haxton wrote on 2+2 on Monday, "I have a hard time believing that the people making these decisions sincerely believe that killing SNE does anything good for net depositors. I think the purpose of cutting spending on the VIP program is to cut spending on the VIP program and all the poker ecology mumbo jumbo is made up after the fact to rationalize it." Despite leaving the site, Haxton is heading to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Jan Heitman and Leo Margets are also no longer part of the PokerStars pro roster. [caption width="640"] Isaac Haxton resigned from PokerStars over the high-stakes changes[/caption] The previous strike on PokerStars took place from December 1 to 3 and 2,600 players signed up for it. The strike went head-to-head with the first three days of PokerStars' Christmas Festival, so overall traffic on the site was up considerably, but traffic in high-stakes games fell. Despite the initial boycott, PokerStars announced that it would not alter its plan. The site explained, "An increase in the number of Supernova Elite, who are on average net withdrawing players, does not provide a financial benefit to us." Perhaps more damning was that the first boycott had the unintended effect of proving to PokerStars that making drastic cuts in high-stakes benefits was the correct move. PokerStars announced after the strike, "During the three-day boycott, we recorded the healthiest consecutive three-day ecosystem results of the year with steady net gaming revenue, even though our net depositing players lost at a much lower rate than they have all year." Amaya purchased PokerStars in mid-2014 for $4.9 billion - $1 billion more than Disney bought Lucasfilm for two years prior - and, since then, has made a variety of changes. High-stakes players say these changes, which directly affected them, were poorly communicated and seemingly came out of the blue. PlatinumStar, Supernova, and Supernova Elite players are the most affected.
  2. Earlier this week, PokerStars announced changes to the way in which MTT grinders will be awarded Stars Rewards and now some of the high stakes regulars are taking a stand. Lead by the #4-ranked player in the world, 'girafganger', over 250 players have agreed to boycott Sunday's $5,200 Turbo Series event, including a number of highly ranked players. "The nonstop rake increases and unbeatable formats they have been pushing on all of us, with the latest one pushing me over the edge, made me reach out to some of the high stakes regs to try and convince them to skip the $5K PokerStars Turbo Series event as a protest," 'girafganger' said in a statement. "The positive feedback was overwhelming and it didn't take long for a group to naturally form." The Stars Rewards changes announced this week mean that players who previously earned 100 reward points for $1/€1 in rake paid, will now earn 45 reward points for every $1/€1 in fees. The group is hoping the boycott will improve communication with PokerStars management and lead to some changes in the current MTT offering on the site. "Pokerstars has a had a huge positive impact on so many of our lives, some professionals would likely have very different lives had it not been for them - myself included," 'girafganger' said. "The opportunity they provide to be able to make a living from a computer, playing a game, from almost anywhere in the world is amazing. However, with recent changes, this poker dream is turning more and more into an impossible dream." In a statement provided to PocketFives, the group has a list of six items that they are hoping to accomplish as a result of this boycott: Direct and open communication with the company. Rake clearly visible, not hidden. Rake max 10%, this applies to low stakes and the .eu pool so no more $9.8+$1.2; $11 MTTs. Reassessment of the rake, across all stakes and in formats where the edges are naturally lower, such as PSKO, Rebuys, Turbo, Hypers and combinations of these. Reduction on the length of Late Registration and number of re-entries. Debate on future rake increases. The group of players sitting out Sunday's event includes the current #1 and #2-ranked players in the world, 'lena900' and 'C Darwin2'. Other high profile players who have vouched their support include Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky, Chris Hunichen, '€urop€an', 'bencb789', Steve O'Dwyer, Calvin Anderson, Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas, and Steven 'SvZff' van Zadelhoff. "The time to make a stand was probably a long time ago and while similar actions have been previously taken by cash game 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," the statement said. "We will stand together and make a change for the better." Last Sunday's $5,200 Turbo Series event drew 194 players. PokerStars competitors have also taken notice of the planned protest and have announced changes to their Sunday schedule in response. partypoker added a $5,200 event with a $1 million guarantee that will run at the same time as the PokerStars event. 888poker announced late this week the return of "RakeLESS" events on Sunday.
  3. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week on The Fives Poker Podcast, Lance and Donnie discuss whether or not the PokerStars "boycott" was a success or failure and what steps the players should take next if they really want to get the attention of PokerStars management. They also look again at the shrinking Sunday Million field and whether or not the buy-in should be moved back to $215. Other topics include the busy week that was on Twitch Poker with Kevin Martin, Matthew Staples, and Bill Perkins all finding themselves in the news. Lastly, the pair discuss the 2019 WSOP structures and how there actually is far more play this year than in years past. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  4. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. When the calendar turned to February, a number of the top online poker players attempted to take a stand against PokerStars and a much-heralded new online poker site launched. The Boycott: PokerStars vs MTT Heavy Hitters Just before Valentine's Day, PokerStars broke the hearts of some of their most frequent high stakes tournament grinders. A little over 18 months after first introducing Stars Rewards, the company announced major changes to the program that meant MTT players would be earning 55% fewer reward points for any tournament fees paid. Players originally earned 100 reward points for every $1/€1 in rake paid. The changes meant players would now earn just 45 reward points for every $1/€1 in fees. The online MTT community didn't respond well to this change. One of the top-ranked players in the world, 'girafganger', organized a boycott which started out as 250 other players agreeing to sit out a $5,200 buy-in Turbo Series event on PokerStars that same week. "The nonstop rake increases and unbeatable formats they have been pushing on all of us, with the latest one pushing me over the edge, made me reach out to some of the high stakes regs to try and convince them to skip the $5K PokerStars Turbo Series event as a protest," 'girafganger' said in a statement. "The positive feedback was overwhelming and it didn’t take long for a group to naturally form." Some of the players boycotting included 'lena900', 'C Darwin2', Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas, Calvin Anderson, and Samuel '€urop€an' Vousden. PokerStars' chief competition, partypoker, even went as far as to create a special $5,000 buy-in tournament with a $1,000,000 guarantee to run against the PokerStars tournament that was subject to the boycott. The boycott didn't seem to have the impact the players were hoping for. The PokerStars event drew 187 total entries, down just seven players from the same tournament a week earlier while the partypoker event met the guarantee. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Bryn Kenney Chops Up the Aussie Millions Main Event Bryn Kenney had himself one helluva 2019 and it all started in earnest in February when he won the Aussie Millions Main Event after a three-way chop. The tournament ended as soon as the deal was agreed upon. Michael Del Vecchio actually had a slight chip lead when negotiations began, but Kenney was able to talk his way into a deal that gave him the title and a $1,272,598 AUD ($914,617 US) payday. Kenney won the title despite not being responsible for eliminating a single player from the final table. Del Vecchio took home $1,272,162 AUD while third-place finisher Andrew Hinrichsen banked $1,097,739 AUD. The event drew 822 runners to break the previous record of 800 from 2018. Kenney wasn't the biggest winner from the Aussie Millions though. Toby Lewis, who won the $50,000 High Roller and finished runner-up in the $25,000 Challenge, earned $1,607,654 AUD ($1,149,064 US) to top the 2019 Aussie Millions earnings list. Team PokerStars Loses Two In January, PokerStars was more than happy to trot out their Team Pros and Ambassadors at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for every media opportunity possible. Less than a month later, two of the most visible pros on their roster began what would be a season-long exodus. In early February, Jamie Staples and Jeff Gross both announced that they were leaving Team PokerStars. Gross and Staples each made an announcement of their own confirming their departure. For Gross, it was a matter of not being able to come to terms on a new contract to continue representing the site. “Is this it for you in poker? The answer is ‘no’,” Gross said “If anything, we are just getting locked in, just getting strapped in and it’s seriously about to turn up.” Staples was looking further ahead and had plans to take his career, poker and streaming, to a new level. “I felt as if I might have an opportunity to do something bigger with my career in poker,” Staples said at the time. “It was a risk and I thought about it a lot and I decided to go on my own.” Over the course of the next few months, Gross and Staples both signed on with partypoker to represent their brand at live events on via player-created content on YouTube and Twitch. David Peters Takes Home US Poker Open In mid-month, the PokerGO airwaves were jam-packed with the 10 events from the US Poker Open. Most of the high roller regulars were out in full force for events with buy-ins from $10,000 up to the $100,000 Main Event. David Peters closed out the by winning the Main Event for $1.32 million. That victory also allowed him to beat out Sean Winter for the overall Series title. Peters had two cashes heading into the Main Event. He finished second to Winter in Event #4 ($10,000 Short Deck) for $100,800 and then fifth in Event #9 ($50,000 No-Limit Hold’em) for $164,000 before winning the 33-player Main Event. Stephen Chidwick won a pair of USPO titles. He beat Winter heads-up to win Event #1 ($10,000 No-Limit Hold’em) and then won Event #6 ($25,000 Pot Limit Omaha). Other US Poker Open event winners included Jordan Cristos (Event #2), Lauren Roberts (Event #3), Ali Imsirovic ( Event #5), Bryn Kenney (Event #7), Nick Schulman (Event #8), and Koray Aldemir (Event #9). Run It Once Goes Live When Phil Galfond announced in 2016 that he was launching an online poker site of his own, the poker world was excited that one of their own was stepping out to give them a new place to play. It became a patience tester for both Galfond and poker community. It took two years longer than Galfond expected, but in February, Run It Once launched the Public Beta version of their software to much fanfare. Galfond, who had been transparent about the delays and hiccups experienced along the way, was more than happy to put the product out to the world in an effort to get much-needed feedback. “The deck may be stacked against us, but I believe that with just a little bit of help from you, we can make our poker dream a reality – we can conquer threats to online poker’s future through the innovations we launch with and the countless more still to come, we can be a driving force for positive change in the industry, and we can make Run It Once exactly what a poker site should be.”  

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