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Thoughts On Pokerstars - Critic And Feedback

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I don't know where to post it so I gonna do it here.


1. Acquiring Fulltilt.


To buy Fulltilt Poker was a huge mistake in my opinion because the brand was noway near worth the money stars had to pay.


When it comes to software and knowledge, Pokerstar was superior to FTP.


When it comes to the brand name it was completely worthless after the scandal and was more damaging than beneficial.


When it comes to the player pool most people would switch to Pokerstars anyway or leave FTP.


Also many viewed it as FTP is Pokerstars now and not like two separate poker rooms, it was not like they got new customers they wouldn't get anyway.


On the other side you can argue this way Pokerstars helped the image of online poker by not allowing the players to make a bad experience with it in the way that their money is lost.

But also the provider and executives responsible for it got away unpunished.

What also sends the wrong message, now people don't trust online poker either because they see that a provider can act shady and will get away with it.

How can you trust a online provider to do the right thing if there are no consequences for them if they behave wrong, exploit their customers and also get rewarded on top of that ?


2. Coping the partygaming business model


PartyPoker was the first site that added gambling into their business model with providing Sportsbet and Casino Games, what totally threw them out of their initial business and damaged them economically and their brand.

I don't know why pokerstars copied their mistake.

Why would the top player in the game of online poker copy the business model of a provider that is less successful and shoot himself in the foot with it.


3. Protecting weak players


Simply said nobody is going to desire to play online poker if more and more people are losing money.


If you protect bad players the result is just going to be that less profit will be made by the better players.

Which will just result into more people are going to lose money and less people will make a good profit.

What will result in a bad PR and less people depositing.


The major key to get people to deposit money are regular winning players.

Because they gonna tell their friends or other people in general and they want to try it too, that's the way I got into poker and I think it is the way that the most people into poker.

But if almost everybody is going to tell you how they lost money or even worse how rigged the game is, pretty much nobody will make a deposit.


Also it makes no sense and it is practical impossible to try to make bad players go broke slower.


- If someone wants just to play without winning then they won't increase their stakes and maybe even go play for play money.

People play for cash because they want to win not just to play poker, if they just want to play poker why would they be willing to pay rake and not just play on facebook or other sides/apps just for play money ?

- Also it makes no real difference if you lose faster or slower, losing is losing.

And if the games get slowed down and to slow for them what will protect them from going up to higher stakes and go broke faster again ? The main issue when it comes to going broke to fast is bankroll management not to hard games.


But on the other side you will get more variance, more rake and less edge for everybody.

What just ruins the principle of making it a game of skill for the majority of players.

If someone is better than somebody else but they don't beat the rake or significantly beat the rake it turns into pure gambling.

Then it's not really poker anymore because it misses the skill factor and having an edge if you play a certain strategy.

People play poker because of the challenge and not just to gamble, that is the key element of it and what separates it from the rest of the casino games.

If you take that out of the equation you just got another casino game and why would you need that if you already got enough ways to just gamble.



My key advice for Pokerstars would be just go back to the roots.

Before the pokerboom Pokerstars was handling its business quite well and made a lot of money why not profit for those experience in a declining poker market.

And if they want to evolve into new markets then why not do it separate form the poker brand.

Create a new company, do it under a new name and separate those two so you won't damage what you already got.

Because that is how I feel right now.

Pokerstars is trying something new but is destroying its online poker branch with it.

And it's sad because they had a good thing going.

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Alright, I'll give it a try.


1. Aquiring Full Tilt


First of all, don't judge this move by just comparing how much PokerStars had to pay versus how much the company worthed. Although I'm not a marketing expert, I assume that this move was an a marketing one, an advertisement of PokerStars. As you said, the image of online poker had been seriously shaken, and many people had probably decided that online gambling was not worth the risk. PokerStars made sure that the feeling of security of those players was rebuilt. And guess on which platform they would choose to continue playing? That's right... Plus the players that had not yet entered online poker, plus the general image of an ethical, economically healthy and a players-oriented company, with of all of it's potential benefits.


2. Coping the partygaming business mode


Online gambling such as slots, blackjack, roulette etc. is a guaranteed profit for the provider. As long as poker players "give it a try", the company makes profit. Plus, not everybody knows or wants to play poker. Many would just hang around the casino games, which is, as said before, guaranteed profit. Plus these players who are probably bad poker players will definitely, at some point, give poker a try. Which is beneficial to the poker ecosystem. And that leads me to the last topic...


3. Protecting weak players


As you said, nobody wants to lose money. If they continuously and rapidly lose their deposits, they will at some point decide that enough is enough. So less pots will be played and less rake will be going into the company. "The major key to get people to deposit are regular winning players". I have to disagree with that and with your overall thought process. Not everybody plays to win. Many recreational players (that's why they're called this way), who make up the largest percentage of the player pool, play first and foremost to have fun. If they break even or at least manage to hang on their deposits for a while, they will definitely continue playing. And guess what? More cash game pots and more players in a tournament equals more rake. Good players will still win. Probably less, but they will still book a win at the end of the day. Bad players will still be bad and lose, but those players would lose no matter what. In my opinion, I applaud PokerStars for their later changes and I hope they will "bring the fun back to online poker".

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I agree a lot with Isidoros points- just add my 2 cents


1. Acquiring Full tilt-

This was done to convince US authorities that Pokerstars was a good actor whenever the market reopened in the US. You see the value know that Poker stars is back in new jesey.


2. Copying PartyGaming model

I don't see why this bothers you? You certainly don't have to play, and they will make money off of the gambling. The more diverse revenue streams they have the better that is for you, since they will not be reliant on rake as the only source of revenue.


3. Protecting weak players

This mindset is the foolish thought of many players. You really don't want to drive the weak players out. I would rather sit in a Vegas 2-4 game on New years eve with a bunch of drunk tourist then grind a 5-10 game with a bunch or pros. You want to play against weak players. Otherwise, sooner or later you are the weakest player in the game.

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1. Acquiring Full tilt

A lot of what was written initially is wrong (imho). FTP software was and probably still IS the best software. For example, deal function in mtts/spins on FTP was extremely good. and PS using not a piece of software to make a deal, but instead 2 (yeah, two) real person calculating the numbers MANUALLY, and after 2 of them will get the same result, one of them paste it into the chat... do you still believe that stars software is better?

FTP players played FTP until it merge. why? reason 1 is software. another reason (at least for MTT players) was the fact that in low or mid stakes there are not that many tournaments to play... yeah, there are a lot of them, but do you really want to play tournaments with like 20k player pool? variance is HUGE, and with very top-heavy structure on stars, you'd better play not-so sexy tournament on FTP with 700 players but your ROI will be way better and variance way lower.

acquiring FTP was not only marketing move for themselves but also they killed their most dangerous competitor...


2. Copying PartyGaming model

a lot of poker players bets on sports at least sometimes. so from the business view-point it is ok to add sport betting to pokerstars. but a lot of these who doesn't play poker but bets on sports likes to gamble and play casino-like games. so why not to add it too? imho it is very rational.


3. Protecting weak players

a lot of poker community told how bad was to cut off SuperNova Elite status... but the vast majority of them didn't even try to achieve one :D in fact, that step really helped to improve poker eco-system. was it protecting weak players? i think so. and i don't mind if they'll be protecting them more :D

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Software-wise, I really can't have that much of an opinion as I never really got to meet FTP in it's glory days. But at the time they aquired FullTilt, it's software and the company wasn't a competitor to PokerStars as FullTilt was already dead...


Concerning the removal of Supernova Elite... I don't think the removal itself was the issue. It was aboout the way PokerStars decided to proceed. Of course, I understand the position of the affected players and I think they didn't deserve this. But, at the end of the day, PokerStars is still a company and they can adjust their strategies accordingly.

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I don't know the details so its just a assumption on that part but I just don't think Fulltilt was worth 900 Mio at that time.

I just feel it is somehow like they bought a wrecked car, sure you can try to fix it but it will never be the same again.

Also you will have an item that is almost identical to that what you already posses, what makes it even less beneficial for you.


On the case of casino, I don't think that both work together as a single brand, Partypoker tried it and it didn't really went that well.

The concept is different, in poker you compete with other players and in regular casino games you are playing against the house.


On the subject of protecting weak players, they didn't do it in the past and it just worked fine.

Making changes like this is going to influence the game to much, it is going to change the balance and the ecosystem.

It just changes the entire game, if you mess with the edges people have.


A average or let's put it better, a decent player should be able to beat or make a profit against a bad players.


I mean it is just going to result in creating tougher games for everybody.

Even if you would find a way just to protect the fish and do not affect any other players, you will get a chain reaction, because everyone is linked with each other in some sort of a food chain.

And it will be most significantly be affected the people on the bottom of it, who have already just a thin edge.

That will just lead to the fact that you would need to have a big amount of luck or a ridiculous edge on you opponent to make a decent profit.

What won't be the case for a vast majority of players.


What I meant with people don't want to lose, if you already know that you got to play better than 99 % of the other players to make a profit, that 95 % of the players are losing and the rest is even,

Then it's going to be hard to convince you to make a deposit or a significant deposit, because you feel like there is almost no chance of making a profit but it's almost certain that you are going to lose your money.

I mean the vast majority of the people deposit because they think there is a chance to win, that if they play the right way, put effort into it and improve their skill they can make some profit.


Just for example let say someone you tries to getting started and puts some effort into improving his game, even gets in some theory behind it.

Then goes to play, hits the tables and then can not even beat horrible fishes, they won't stay long and won't talk positive about their experience or recommend it.

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What I want to point out with the last two sentences, the typical affiliate program is getting destroyed.

The concept of here read some content, get some coaching and you will be able to beat the fish.

you just gonna hurt the casual players because their main profit comes from fish.



Also most people are not going to be totally unaware and uninformed.

Many already saw poker on tv or read about it in the internet, even if they don't apply it they will know what odds are and how to judge hand strengths.

Plus they going to improve eventually and you got to give them a chance to build a roll to move up.


The goal can't just be everybody plays even or close to even, just produces rake.

Because then you just will get people playing lower and lower.

What leads to all stakes being tough and no one investing anymore then the minimum.

But I think they just realize there is no profitable future for online poker and it's going to go down anyway.

So they decide to milk it as much as they can and turn Pokerstars into a online casino where poker is just one game of many.

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