PokerStars has announced that rake is going up on a select number of games. There’s no easy way to spin this story, PokerStars has looked at its competitors and simply decided that its pricing is too cheap.
When PokerStars made radical changes to its VIP program for 2016, it had the excuse that the changes were essential in order to protect vulnerable new players from the much more highly skilled regulars. The “player ecology” was in trouble, and new players were losing their bankrolls too fast for them to enjoy the game and become long term customers.
The new rake changes can’t be explained away by arguing that they will benefit players. The best that PokerStars can do is say that even after the changes it will still be cheaper to play there than at any of its major competitors.
PokerStars says: “When the rake is weighted according to the different volumes of games played at different stakes, the current rake at PartyPoker is 7% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake. The current rake at 888 Poker is 16% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake. The current rake at iPoker is 19% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake.”
What they say is true, but players will find little comfort in the explanation. The bottom line is that Amaya, PokerStars’ owner, has had a couple of quarters of bad results which have hammered its share price.
New taxes in the UK, Romania, Portugal and the EU generally, have hit profits hard, and it has to pass on some of this pain to its customers. The EU VAT directive and online gaming taxes over 15% are as much to blame as Amaya management for the decision.
The main rake increases as described by PokerStars are:
All together, the changes add up to an extra 4% in rake across the board, though obviously the extra revenues will come more from some games than others.
All changes will come into effect on March 28, this year. If you decide that the changes make you want to check out other poker rooms, see our top offers here, and in particular check out our recommendations for alternative places to play if PokerStars is not for you.
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By Joss Wood Rakeback.com Content Manager
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