PokerStars Boycott Fails To ImpressDecember 10, 2015 12:01 pm
A legion of online grinders and high-stakes pros organized a three day boycott of PokerStars at the beginning of December to express their displeasure over a series of planned changes to the site’s VIP Rewards program starting January 1st 2016. While more than 2,500 players eventually took part in the strike, its impact appears to have been minimal at best, and at worst may have backfired on the players and revealed the limits of any leverage they believe they may have had over PokerStars.
Ahead of the boycott, some people were anticipating a drop in traffic by as much as 20%, which certainly would have been of major concern to PokerStars. In reality, however, traffic actually increased by 33% during the boycott’s first day, with further gains also noted on days two and three. Although the timing of the boycott was questionable, coming as it did during a Milestone Hand promotions, the fact that traffic still boomed during the strike does seem to diminish the level of power the pros may have believed they wielded over the site’s business. As one twitter poster called Kim Lund subsequently wrote:
“Now people just have to let go of the idea that liquidity requires regs to retain reasonable revenue efficiency (take). It doesn’t.”
In fact, it could be argued that the boycott’s failure only served to prove PokerStar’s point that the value of recreational players for online poker sites far outweighed that of their professional counterparts. After all, it was a promotion targeting recreational players that had the biggest effect on traffic, and not the strike organized by its high-volume players. Highlighting this fact, Kim Lund tweeted:
“@SteveRuddock @DivergentGames ´The ultimate irony. Protest against thing being taken away fails due to success of thing that will replace it.”
While PokerStars may have shown the validity of its assessment concerning recreational players, the site will still recognize that professional players form a valuable block of customers it would not want to lose. Therefore, do not be surprised if PokerStars makes a number of limited concessions to this group by way of a peace offering over the next few weeks, with possible moves including the Supernova Elite program being extended throughout the whole of 2016, as well as reviewing its decision to remove all FPP’s rewards from its high stakes games.