Negreanu Caught in the Crossfire as PokerStars Announces Rake Hike

March 22nd, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Daniel Negreanu talks PokerStars rake increase.

Daniel Negreanu feels the force of the community’s discontent after PokerStars announce rake hike. (Image: archive.bluff.com)

PokerStars recently announced that it’s changing its rake pricing structure from March 28 and Daniel Negreanu appears to have taken the brunt of the criticism on Twitter this week.

While New Jersey natives were celebrating PokerStars’ return to the US on March 21 and the rest of the world was recapping the 10th Anniversary Sunday Million, PokerStars announced that it would be increasing the rake for many of its tournaments.

Overall the operator has stated that the net result of the changes is an increase of four percent, but some tournaments will see their rake increase beyond this figure.

Spin & Go rake will be increased by one percentage point for buy-ins from $1 to $30

Rebuys and add-ons will incur fees similar to the original entry fee in MTTs (this represents approximately 12% of the current MTT schedule)

MTT hyper-turbo rake will be increased to 5 percent

Cap and percentage of rake will be increased in some no limit and pot limit ring games, mainly heads-up. Some rake caps will be lowered. Limit games will not be affected

PokerStars Still Cheaper

To help deflect any potential criticism of the decision, PokerStars compared its prices to the industry’s top three operators.

Analyzing 1 million hands played on PokerStars between January 8, 2016, and March 7, 2016, PokerStars offered a graphical breakdown which showed that players will still be able to enjoy the cheapest games among the top operators:

7 percent cheaper than partypoker

16 percent cheaper than 888poker

19 cheaper than iPoker

Despite showing that its rake will still be cheaper than the competition after March 28, a number of players weren’t happy with the decision.

Feeling as though PokerStars tried to slip in the news while everyone was focusing on the New Jersey launch, many took to Twitter to ask Daniel Negreanu for his comments on the situation.

Although he’s not responsible for making decisions at PokerStars HQ (i.e. Amaya), he is a long-serving member of the pro team and has a close relationship with many of the executives. Moreover, Negreanu has become the voice of the community in recent years.

However, despite the fact he is always on the side of the community, he felt the force of its discontent last night as he tried to explain the situation via his Twitter feed.

Negreanu in the Firing line 

Aside from stating that he’s never spoken out against a rake hike in 20+ years as a pro, Negreanu defended Amaya’s right to make changes in order to ensure the survival of its business.

While the pros such as David Vamplew and Ryan Laplante didn’t argue with Negreanu on this point, they were unhappy that he had suggested there were some positive changes for players on the horizon.

After Amaya decided to change its VIP reward policy in 2015 a number of players sat out in protest. This eventually led to a meeting between some high-level players and Amaya’s executives.

Following this meeting, Negreanu said that he was confident some positives would arrive in 2016.

Naturally, new of a rake hike isn’t what he was referring to, but it seems as though many players are now losing faith after yet another dose of bad news.

“He promised amazing things for 2016. He was right. Amazing rake increases!!!! #amaze,” tweeted Laplante.

Price increases are never popular, but it seems that the accumulation of unexpected changes is beginning to take their toll on many of PokerStars’ players and that recent backlash against Negreanu is a result of this.

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