Daniel Negreanu took to the forums at his poker site to defend the recent changes at PokerStars that have riled up many in the online poker community.
Negreanu’s post on Full Contact Poker discussed many of the changes that some players are attributing to the recent takeover of PokerStars by Amaya Gaming, saying that he’s completely on board with the direction the site is going in.
For starters, Negreanu made it clear that he believes many of the key changes that have been received poorly by regulars on PokerStars were in the works before Amaya ever came into the picture.
“First of all, I think it’s really important to note that most of the recent changes were going to happen well before the new ownership group took over,” Negreanu wrote. “The online poker landscape has changed over the last few years and many of these changes were inevitable in a competitive market for the company to continue to be the world leader.”
In particular, Negreanu noted that the plan to introduce Spin & Go tournaments was in the works “long before AMAYA came around.”
“While the ownership group at PokerStars may have changed, most all of the key employees and decision makers at PokerStars are still in place and from what I’ve seen, it’s business as usual for the most part,” he wrote.
Negreanu also said that while “nobody gets excited over rake increases,” players should still feel as though they’re getting a good deal at PokerStars.
“I think it’s really important to note that PokerStars remains the cheapest place to play online poker,” Negreanu wrote. “The rake increases are still smaller than what the competition offer, and that’s before you account for the generous VIP programs.”
Negreanu finished up by reiterating what he has said before: that PokerStars remains focused on continuing to attract new players, and that many of the changes taking place will help them do that.
While Negreanu may have been earnest in his comments, the reaction from the poker community was overwhelmingly negative.
The backlash to his statement was felt most strongly at TwoPlusTwo.com’s forums, where several threads almost immediately popped up to discuss what “Kid Poker” had said. Many posters commented that his words were about what they’d expect to hear from someone who represents PokerStars.
“Shock…Negreanu backing the company that pays him a 7 figure salary per year,” wrote forums member partywme in the main thread on Negreanu’s post. “Ask anyone who isn’t benefiting directly from stars and they would disagree that stars needed to make these changes.”
Other threads were started suggesting that Negreanu should take drastic action, or that such actions should be taken against him. One thread attempted to start a petition for the Poker Hall of Fame to rescind its introduction of Negreanu that’s scheduled to take place later this month, though that appeared to be started as a joke, rather than as a serious effort.
More serious was a thread started by KB24, asking for Negreanu to leave PokerStars and take a stand against its recent policy changes.
“Even if quitting pokerstars is bad for Negreanu in the short term, his reputation will go up that much more as a result and get him a better sponsorship deal with another [site]. So, Daniel, please please take a stand here FOR THE PLAYERS,” wrote KB24.