Players nominated by the 2+2 poker forum community to represent player interests during intensive meetings on the Isle of Man have reported today that an agreement has been reached that satisfied the members of the panel.
Near the end of 2011, PokerStars announced changes to their rake allocation method and rake structures which proved unpopular with players. Player reps were invited to meet at PokerStars head offices to discuss the changes and find a compromise.
After meetings were extended from three to five days, panel members have reported today that an accord was reached. Along with rake reductions that result in a net gain for players, the requirements for maintaining VIP club status will be relaxed, concessions were agreed upon for high-VIP players in 2012, and new microstakes levels will be introduced.
Due to the switch from the “dealt” method of calculating rake to “weighted contributed,” (WC) which affects who receives rewards and for how much, the player panel confirmed that it results in an increase in PokerStars cash game revenue by 1.5%. New rake structures, to be implemented on February 1, will result in an estimated overall rake reduction of 2%. The result is a net revenue loss for PokerStars and a gain for players.
In particular, there are significant rake reductions at microstakes. All NL and PL games at 10c/25c and below will see rake reductions, with 40% of all rake cuts focused on these games. New 3c/6c and 8c/16c levels will also be rolled out.
However, not all games saw rake reductions. High stakes games – NL and PL 25/50+ and 15/30+ in fixed limit – have seen increases. In the official report, the player panel stated that this rake increase “goes directly back into lower stakes games” and that rake is still low in BB/100 terms and remains competitive in the industry. Also cited were “associated costs” in policing these games – collusion, fraud and game monitoring – to explain the rake increase.
Permanent changes were made to the VIP club. It will now be easier for high volume players – those who suffered the most with the switch to WC – to maintain SuperNova and SNE+ levels. Two month “vacations” can now be taken during the year without the loss of SN/SNE status, and players will keep their status levels all year if monthly targets are reached, rather than losing them at nine months. Furthermore, the monthly target for Supernova has been reduced from 7500 to 6500.
In addition, a one-year concession for 2012/2013 is offered to all Supernova players to ease the transition. For 2012, players only need to reach ten months of targets to have their VIP status extended into 2013.
Time will tell how the community will react to the announcement. Representatives on the panel noted that the net rake decrease, along with SN concessions, was more than they thought was on the table; but more hopeful players may be disappointed if their expectations of significant rake cuts or large VPP increases were not tempered.