Daniel Negreanu has been between a rock and a hard place for several months as sentiment among online poker players and their beloved PokerStars platform has reached nearly a tipping point of confrontation.
Following changes to the network’s VIP player rewards program in late 2015 that led to two boycotts of the network, PokerStars is now facing backlash for amending its rake structure.
A friend to the online poker community but also a Team PokerStars Pro, Negreanu is once again in the middle of the conflict.
In response to a poll on a Two Plus Two thread asking members how Negreanu will respond to the changes, with “It’s good for the Eco-system” being the top vote getter, Kid Poker wrote about the rake modification on his Full Contact Poker blog.
“These specific changes are not designed to ‘improve the ecosystem’ or anything along those lines, these changes are designed to increase revenue,” the game’s all-time money leader stated.
“I do believe that PokerStars offers the best product from customer service, to software, to game selection and innovation. I also believe that the prices for these services are competitive with other companies in the industry, but ultimately the consumer will decide that,” Negreanu declared.
As of today, Spin & Go rakes have increased one percentage point for $1 to $30 buy-ins, MTT hyper-turbo rake is now at 5 percent with MTT rebuys and add-ons incurring similar fees to their entries, and cap and percentage of rake has increased in certain no limit and pot limit ring games.
Negreanu has been one of the more polarizing poker pros on the worldwide scene for almost two decades, but in recent years he’s also taken the unofficial position of emissary to online players.
In fact, during the Global Poker Index’s first annual American Poker Awards presented in March of 2015, Negreanu was named “Poker’s Best Ambassador.” It’s a role he’s seemingly relished, though it certainly comes with its challenges.
Commenters on Negreanu’s PokerStars rake response said it read like a politician trying to appease both sides at the same time. “Trying to stick in the middle of a divided electorate?” asked Two Plus Two moniker “TrustySam.”
43 members currently compose the network’s PokerStars Team Pro roster, but time and time again it’s Negreanu handling the company’s dirty work as it relates to its sometimes lackluster communications.
Many believe PokerStars took a dishonest approach in announcing the rake hike, which will amount to an overall net increase of four percent, by revealing the changes as PokerStars New Jersey began its first full week of operation.
Amaya and PokerStars VP of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser published the revised pricing notice on March 21, the same day pokerstarsnj went live.
It’s not the first time Hollreiser seemingly blundered conveying a change to the world’s largest iPoker destination.
Last fall, little warning was given to players regarding sweeping alterations to the network’s VIP program and the omitting of the Supernova Elite tier. The three-day boycott in December garnered much press but generated little impact on PokerStars’ overall revenues.
Hollreiser claimed the platform’s ecosystem saw it’s “healthiest consecutive three-day” period during the boycott.