In response to recent changes made by PokerStars, last Sunday hundreds of poker player participated in a boycott that was organized by a group of the site’s high stakes poker players led by Belgian player “girafganger7”. Joining him were 250 more high stakes MTT players who opted not to participate in the $5,200 buy-in Turbo Series tournament that featured a $750,000 guaranteed prize pool.
In a recent medium.com post, giraf ganger announced the boycott which was meant to compel PokerStars to consider reversing some of its new rules. The biggest complaint the poker players had was the ever-increasing rakes and unbeatable formats. There were several other changes that the poker players were not very happy about and it seemed like this boycott would be the best way of showing the company just how unhappy they were. In fact, the protests received massive support from the high stakes MTT community – within just a few hours the movement had garnered hundreds of supporters including notable high stakes players like Niklas “lena900” Åstedt, Simon “C Darwin2”, Bryan “bparis” Paris, Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden, Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit, Mikita “fish2013” Badziakouski, Parker “tonkaaaaP” Talbot, Laszlo ‘omaha4rollz’ Bujtas, and Calvin Anderson.
To put everything into perspective, this all begun when PokerStars announced that it would be cutting significant portions (a whopping 55 percent) of rewards to MTT players, something that sparked outrage mostly from the high-stakes players. The players also had complaints pertaining to the lack of communication, the not so transparent nature of the rakes as well as the lengthy registration period.
Did It Work?
Well, for a moment, everything was playing out in favor of the poker players – at the very beginning, only a few players had registered on for the tournament which gave the illusion that the boycott was actually going to be successful. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Once the late registration period came to an end, the tournament attracted about 160 more players as well as 27-entries and this created a prize pool of $935,000 which easily surpassed the $750,000 original guarantee. The boycott did succeed in getting the players’ concerns had but a little more needed to be done if PokerStars was going to feel the pinch.
“giraf ganger” reached out to PartyPoker, PokerStars’s biggest competitor at about the same time the boycott began and the company responded by creating a tournament with nearly identical features and scheduled for the same exact time as the PokerStars’ tournament. Fortunately, this was not a flop either as it also managed to reach and surpass its original guarantee. All in all, Sunday was indeed a great day for poker player from all over the world.