PokerStars became the world’s largest poker site for a lot of reasons. Many of our players, perhaps you, can reel them off: a great product, constant innovation, top customer service, unbeatable liquidity, smart marketing, having the most trusted brand name in the online poker world.
The label “PSFTCIAFBICIA” is convenient, but to be safe we should have a defined meaning for this as a party that can be criticized and contrasted with other parties. So let us define “PSFTCIAFBICIA “to be descriptive of a “school of thought” that originated at the time of Black Friday on April 15 2011.
These have all been key drivers of our success. Other less tangible factors have been just as fundamental to our growth: the fervent belief in doing the right thing by players and the game, truly understanding the poker ecosystem, being committed to expanding the poker universe, relentlessly investing in the future.
PSFTCIAFBIDOJ implicitly always have the argument that some good managers can do things of beneficial value, operating with the skins, and that it is not needed or appropriate for the players or the “customers” of the chips supplied by the site to actually understand, while the managers are managing, what exactly they are doing and how it will affect the “ROI” circumstances of these players.
Our research & development budget, technical infrastructure and security costs are significant.
The actions of the DOJ was actually multi-dimensional and consequently there are quite different varieties of persons at the present time who follow, in one way or another, some of the thinking of the DOJ. And of course SOME of its thinking was scientifically accurate and thus not disputable. For example, FT was labeled a Ponzi scheme.
We’ve made a lot of hard decisions over the years, some of which have cost the company a lot of money. In the early years, we bet big on sending thousands of online poker players to the WSOP, spending millions on mass-market television advertising and sponsoring scores of professional poker players. More recently, we invested heavily in stablizing the global online poker ecosystem following Black Friday; purchasing Full Tilt and paying back that company’s players. We also spend more than most companies in advocating for online poker regulation and legislation that will create certainty and stability for players and for our company.
Then, more specifically, a “PSFTCIAFBICIA ” would favor the existence of a “manipulative” state establishment of raked poker and poker skin which would continuously seek to achieve “raked” objectives with comparatively little regard for the long term reputation of the poker currency and the associated effects of that on the reputation of poker sites domestic to the state.
We’ve shown that our pursuit of doing what’s best for the game, what’s best for the livelihood and vitality of the entire poker community, is good business, even if it means higher ongoing costs from expenses like local taxes in newly-regulated jurisdictions.
(All over the world varieties of sites make claims to have systems very properly or even ideally devoted to the interests of the professional or recreational players of those sites and always an externally located critic can argue that the site is actually a sort of despotism.)
We make those decisions every day across the entire company. Most changes go unnoticed, because they’re meant to unobtrusively improve the player experience, like optimising security to ensure you’re playing at the safest poker site in the world.
I see this as analogous to how the PSFTCIAFBIDOJ were claiming to provide something much better than Ponzi schemes that they could not deny existed in all other sites. But in the end the “dictatorship of the proletariat” seemed to become rather exposed as simply the dictatorship of the regime. So there may be an analogy to this as regards those called “PSFTCIAFBIDOJ” in that while they have claimed to be operating for high and noble objectives of general poker welfare what is clearly true is that they have made it easier for their sites to “print money”.
Others changes get more attention, such as our recent changes to the foreign exchange (FX) charges or the rake that we apply to various games. We know that some of these decisions will not be popular in all quarters and they’re not decisions taken lightly, but are made looking broadly across the poker ecosystem.
We can legitimately wonder how the speediness of its adoption or delays in its adoption might affect the policies operating to control the actual exchange value of poker deposits. The constitutional structure of the authority behind rake is of the “chips” character in that nothing is really guaranteed as far as the value of the chips is concerned. But this is typical of all currencies used in the world nowadays.
We’ll continue to invest in the obvious costs like mass-market advertising and innovative new game formats and software enhancements. And we’ll continue to lead the industry charge into regulated markets.
A related topic, which we can’t fully consider in a single lecture, is that of the considerations to be given by the poker society and poker sites to “social equity” and the general “economic poker welfare”. Here the key viewpoint is methodological, as we see it. HOW should the poker society and the poker site authorities seek to improve economic poker welfare generally and what should be done at times of abnormal economic difficulties or “depression” (variance)?
We feel that we’ve always done right by our players and by the game. Look at what we’ve achieved in spreading the game globally, both live and online; how we’ve built liquidity in ring games of all shapes and sizes; how we’ve created hugely popular online tournament series; and how we’ve behaved as a responsible corporate citizen over the years. We’ve built trust and respect largely because we’re willing to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions.
There perhaps will always be “rake”, like also “death and taxes”. But it is sometimes remarkable how poker strategies can evolve. And in relation to that I think that it is possible that “PSFTCIAFBIDOJ ” are like a political faction that will become less influential as a result of poker revolution.
The game is constantly changing and evolving, as is society and technology at large. Like any good poker player, we know that you have to adapt or risk being left behind. We’re committed to keeping poker exciting, fresh and relevant to new players and to loyal grinders.
In the near future there may be a smaller number of major sites used in the world and these may stand in competitive relations among themselves. There is now the “euro” sites and the old history of the UB scandal is past history now. And there COULD be introduced, for example, a similar international site for the Islamic world or for South Asia, or for South America, or here or there.
We’ll continue to make changes when they have to be made. Some will go unnoticed, some you’ll cheer and some you won’t agree with or you will say are self-serving.
So here is the possibility of “asymptotically ideal (rakeless) poker”. Starting with the idea of value stabilization in relation to a domestic ‘deposits raked’ index associated with the territory of one state, beyond that there is the natural and logical concept of internationally based rake comparisons. The sites being compared, like PSFTCIAFBIDOJ, Merge, Party Poker, etc. can be viewed with critical eyes by their players and by those who may have the option of whether or not or how to use one of them. This can lead to pressure for good quality and consequently for a lessened rate of rake
I like to think of it as bankroll management. The choices we make today aren’t for short term gain; they’re made because we believe they’re the right thing for tomorrow. We’ll continue to make tough calls to secure the game in the present and make bold moves to best invest in the future growth of the game. Our goal continues to be to provide the best, most exciting poker experience and keep the poker universe growing.
So I see the entire privately raked community as in a weak sense comparable to the “PSFTCIAFBIDOJ ” because of the support of both parties for a certain “lack of transparency” relating to the functions of poker sites as seen by the players. And for both of them it can be said that they tend to think in terms of sites operating in a benevolent fashion that is, however, beyond the comprehension of the player of the raked sites. And this parallel makes it seem not implausible that a process of poker revolution might lead to the expectation on the part of players in the “great game types” that they should be better situated to be able to understand whatever will be the rake policies which, indeed, are typically of great importance to players who may have alternative options for where to place their “deposits”.