Thursday, October 30, 2014

PokerStars Increases Rake in Attempt to Eliminate Concept of "Poker Pro"

Rakeback grinders violent protest
The Rakeback Grinders Union (RGU) are not ones to fuck with.

This is just...sickening. In the interest of fairness and being as impartial as possible, I don't do their accounting and haven't looked at their books, so I have to ASSUME they have a good reason. Perhaps their business is tanking and they are implementing a desperate measure to stay afloat. If so, then good for them.

I had originally assumed that PokerStars targeting Pokertableratings with accusations of stealing their intellectual property (a charge no one believes, but a billion dollar company can basically "extort" smaller companies with highly paid lawyers and the threat of a long and drawn out legal battle that the defendant can't possibly afford) as a means of shielding their sponsored pros from public humiliation. Pokertableratings also had (and still has) a horrific commenting feature which only serves as graffiti wall for shame and schadenfreude motivated trolls. A friend of mine pointed out a much more plausible scenario, in which Stars didn't want the public at large to see how much rake people were paying.

The rake idea makes sense (and even more sense as of today's breaking news), yet another idea just struck me at this very moment as I was heading into a related point. Why didn't other big players in the industry, such as iPoker not use the same reasoning to go after Pokertableratings? It's all clear to me now. The obvious answer is that there is a solid base of active players who are putting up fantastic winrates at 6-max tables, often in excess of 4bb/100 over large samples. PokerStars, out of shame, don't want people to know that even most pros are putting up negative to breakeven winrates and only squeezing out a modest living by virtue of collecting bonuses. Bonuses and rakeback, lest we forget, are simply a rebate on the rake that WE, as players, pay. This means the house is still getting their cut of the action, even from the so-called "winners" who are somehow destroying the games. PokerStars' choice to extort Pokertableratings into "voluntarily" eliminating their players from searches no longer seems to be in the public's best interest, it is now bordering on simply being unethical.

In light of the new crushing rake changes, Hyper SNG's are almost certainly going to be unbeatable, as the current pool of regs seem to collectively agree that a 0% ROI is "boss". For those of you on the outside, this means that people who are playing thousands of these ridiculously high variance games are only "crushing" by reaching the highest tier of bonuses in the form of Supernova Elite status, while not making a single fucking dime at the tables. The players who move beyond "boss" status into the realm of the truly elite are earning an ROI of just 1-2%, but surely these new rake changes should drive at least the 1%ers into the breakeven range or negative, especially because many of the weaker regs will no longer be able to beat the game and depart of their own accord, leaving only stronger competition with even fewer fish to feed them. Oh yeah, there will be plenty of clingers who spend a few more months battling it out before being bled dry and broke from the rake. But hey, those guys are just ruining the games, right? Good riddance!!

Well played, PokerStars. With Amaya's purchase of Rational Group, the company that owns Stars and FTP, I am thinking that a name change is now in order, since there won't be any stars anymore. How about something like "PokerMoon" or "PokerClouds"? The idea of reaching for the stars is now no more than just false advertising.

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