Low Stakes Players to Face Rake Increase at PokerStars

March 21st, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

PokerStars is increasing its rake for all MTTs with a buy-in below $20 as part of its ongoing effort to maintain “maximum flexibility” in a rapidly changing iGaming world.

PokerStars rake increase.

PokerStars announces a new pricing structure for low stakes and timed tournaments. (Image: YouTube/Damian Gto)

Announced on March 20, the changes will formally come into effect on March 26 and see rake payments change in two main areas.

As noted, multi-table tournaments (MTTs) that cost less than $20 will have higher fees in before the close of March, while Time Tourneys will become more affordable.

Pricing an Ongoing Issue at PokerStars

Although PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset was able to announce the forthcoming changes, he didn’t specify how much things would change.

What he did note, however, is that changes like this are not only necessary but part of the company’s long-term plans moving forward.

“Pricing is a key commercial consideration for every business and we will increasingly use a dynamic pricing model that gives the greatest flexibility to respond to market dynamics. Therefore, we will be reviewing and adjusting our pricing, bonusing and promotions, and our Stars Rewards program on an ongoing basis,” Rasset wrote on PokerStars’ blog page.

In coming to the conclusion that fees needed to change for small stakes MTTs, Rasset pointed to changes in consumer behavior and the long-term sustainability of PokerStars’ ecosystem.

New Demographic Leads to New Dynamics

Since Amaya took control of PokerStars in 2014, the site has evolved to offer more than poker. With casino and sports betting bringing in a new type of player, low buy-ins games have become more popular.

By increasing fees for small stakes MTTs, PokerStars can continue to offer large guarantees that many players find attractive. Similarly, a reduction in rake for Time Tournaments will help bolster the number of players taking part in what have been described as casual-focused games.

In line with the change in player demographics, PokerStars has been rolling out new tournament variants that place a greater emphasis on fast-paced action. Time Tournaments fall into this bracket, which would suggest PokerStars is hoping to increase participation in these games and, in turn, offer more of them in the coming months.

In response to the rake increases, a number of players were quick to signal their discontent via social media. As well as Joe Ingram sarcastically thanking PokerStars for allowing players to click on the “structure” tab to see exactly how much more they need to pay, Doug Polk offered an equally facetious reaction.

“Many companies struggle to put together a cohesive message, but PokerStars has succeeded on that front in spades. Micro stakes recreational players are being protected with yet another rake increase, which will further increase everyone’s profitability,” Polk tweeted on March 20.


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