Since the Amaya Gaming Group acquired PokerStars, players from all over have given their opinions of the changes that they've been making. Overall, tons of short-sighted comments made by outspoken players in the community are completely and totally misguided.
In fact, it's looking like these changes will be the beginning of the process of PokerStars saving online poker. We want to show you why that's the case.
The main complaint that we have seen from players is about the addition of casino-style games. There have also been announcements of potential sports betting options being added before the end of 2015. In the short run, it could seem like recreational players will pull more of their money out of the poker economy to put it in these other forms of gambling.
However, if you stop at that point in your thought process, then you've made a big mistake.
Think about the problems that serious poker players face today on PokerStars. The ratio of serious players to recreational players is so one-sided that the games have become particularly difficult even though they have one of the best rewards systems in the world combined with one of the lowest rake structures in the world. So what does PokerStars need to make the games better for serious players? The answer is more recreational players. And why don't they have as many recreational players? Because all they've offered in the past is poker.
If you're a recreational player, then gambling should be fun. You aren't out there looking to grind out an edge.
Instead, you're looking for some entertainment, and you accept that you will be at a disadvantage against the house (or against the other players in poker). You accept this because it's the cost of playing and having a chance to come out on top. For a good example of this, imagine the classic scenario of the wealthy businessman or actor wanting to play high stakes against some of the best players in the world. You know the motivations of this player, so apply that to the pool of players in general adjusted for the appropriate stakes.
So what happens when an online poker player gets hammered over and over again without really having a chances to run up any winnings? They lose their motivation to play poker, and they gravitate towards other types of gambling where they have better chances to get that dopamine hit from winning sessions.
In the longer view, the changes that the Amaya Gaming Group have made since purchasing PokerStars will lead to a much better poker economy in the future. As they bring in more recreational players by adding more forms of gambling, many of them will try their hand at the poker tables, and that's exactly what you need to happen if you're going to rebuild an industry that centers around new depositors.
Update - recent changes at PokerStars capping rakeback, have caused more consternation amongst players heading into 2016. Check out a list of our top three PokerStars alternatives.
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