Daniel - Poker Journal
PokerStars Rake Increases22 Mar 2016
So PokerStars has decided to raise the rake in certain game formats while other formats are being left untouched. I think it's important to discuss who takes the biggest hits so you can make informed decisions about what games you choose to play in the future.
This chart shows what may be the biggest hit of them all. As you can see, with PokerStars now charging juice on rebuys and addons the rake you pay if you rebuy will be much higher than the competitors. In the example shared, if you rebought 4 times in a tourney, the amount of rake you are paying would be 5 times higher than you would have previously paid on PokerStars.
The next format we will cover is:
Heads Up Games
What this shows you is that the rake is generally higher than our competitors at the higher stakes, while lower than many of our competitors at the lower stakes.
The rake in multi-table tournaments for hyper turbos is also being increased by 5%. Since hyper-turbos give winning players a much smaller edge than standard tournaments, this is also a significant blow to anyone who had aspirations of making a living playing hyper-turbos.
The expected overall impact is a 4% increase. With that in mind, here is a graph that shows overall pricing, not including rakeback promotion comparisons. This is important, because $5-$10 is included in this graph and players in those games receive no rakeback bonuses whatsoever.
If you play any of the formats that saw a rake increase, this will have a negative impact on your win rate. A rake increase, or a price increase in any industry from movie tickets to gas prices are not good for the consumer.
PokerStars offers a service, and of course, they have the right to set the prices for that service however they choose to. If you set the prices too high, customers may not use your service. If prices are set too low, then the company is likely missing out on revenue.
These specific changes are not designed to "improve the ecosystem" or anything along those lines, these changes are designed to increase revenue. There is a delicate balance when pricing a service, of course, because as I mentioned previously, if you set the prices too high for a service or a product, you risk the possibility that the consumer stops using your service or product.
I do believe that PokerStars offers the best product from customer service, to software, to game selection and innovation. I also believe that the prices for these services are competitive with other companies in the industry, but ultimately the consumer will decide that.
I've been playing poker for 20+ years and I have personally never complained about a rake increase in my life, although, I do fully understand why people would. I used to play in a $10-$20 game back in Toronto where the rake was $10 a hand, plus you were expected to tip at least an additional $2.50 per hand. Despite that high rake, the game was still really good so I played it in often. When the time came where the game just wasn't good enough to beat the rake anymore, I moved on and found a different game to play in. The game wasn't nearly as good, but the rake was just $5 a half hour per player which amounted to about 25% of what I was previously paying.
If you spend a lot of time on the site playing heads up, hyper-turbo tourneys, or rebuy tourneys, I totally get that these changes suck for you and that you may not continue playing these formats anymore. Hopefully, you will be able to find other formats on the client where the pricing allows you to have a win rate you find worthwhile.