Beginning March 28, 2016, PokerStars will be implementing a host of new pricing policies that are aimed at the online poker world’s prodigious shark population. The new policies include a hefty rake increase and are not particularly popular with the professional poker playing community.

Some highlights from the new plan, which was announced on PokerStars’ official corporate blog include:

  • A one percent rake increase on Sit and Go games that range between $1 and $30.
  • New rebuy and add-on fees for multi-player tournaments (MTT).
  • An MTT hyper-turbo rake of five percent.

The company says that the cumulative impact of the new plan will raise the overall rake to around four percent total.

Not surprisingly, professional poker players are not happy about the new plan. Not only does it cut into their overall potential earnings, it also reduces the amount of potential VIP points they collect (and that program’s been overhauled, as well).

Equally unsurprising is PokerStars’ announcement that the increases are perfectly normal and put them in line with the rest of the online poker industry.

While naysayers could argue the details of that statement, the underlying truth is undeniable. PokerStars is, indeed, following industry trends when it comes to how it treats professional poker players or sharks.

Online poker sites are in a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to these players. On the one hand, sharks generate a tremendous volume of business that’s tough to ignore. On the other hand, those same sharks have tendency to drive off the casual players who actually make up the bulk of the online poker ecosystem.

There’s no way of knowing how the new changes will impact PokerStars’ bottom line, but if the results are positive, expect to see more changes industry-wide.


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