DNegs rebuttal via Me

DN (all bold): I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about some of the recent changes at PokerStars and throw in my two cents. First of all, I think it’s really important to note that most of the recent changes were going to happen well before the new ownership group took over. The online poker landscape has changed over the last few years and many of these changes were inevitable in a competitive market for the company to continue to be the world leader. While I get it, nobody gets excited over rake increases, I think it’s really important to note that PokerStars remains the cheapest place to play online poker. The rake increases are still smaller than what the competition offer, and that’s before you account for the generous VIP programs.

I want to clear up a misconception the players have, seemingly DN has, and possibly all sites have. A very simple extrapolation of Nashian economics:

Definition “Effective Rake”:

A winning player might exchange 5USD on site A with an a roi of 5%.
The same player deposits 5USD on site B with an roi of 4%
We say that the “effective rake” on site B is higher than site A.

The profitability in terms of “effective rake” is hidden on every site by many contributing factors. The most significant are the make-up of the player field (winning players vs depositing players), and the winning distributions. These factors are not definable for the players community.

This means of course that PokerStars is not at all likely to be the cheapest place to play. In fact it is likely it is the most expensive site to play on. The reason I say “likely” is because sites simultaneously control the statistics needed to prove effective rake.


Several years ago the WSOP announced some increases to their rake in tournaments. I heard from a lot of poker players who complained that they would be unbeatable and no one would want to pay that kind of a rake. Since that time, the WSOP continues to break attendance records each year. Back then, despite having no affiliation with the WSOP other than being a fan, I understood the reasoning for the increases and accepted that the company needed to do what they felt was necessary, while at the same time understanding that players wouldn’t love the changes.

You are making an analysis in a vacuum when it is not correct to do so. This is a common player error, to not consider the overall economy of the game, nor the overall economy of the world when making such an analysis. It does NOT stand to reason that what worked in the past will continue to work in this current environment.

When the new popular Spin N’ Go format was introduced on PokerStars, many thought this was based on a directive from the new AMAYA group. That’s just not true. Broadening the game offerings was always something PokerStars looked to do each year and the plan to launch Spin N’ Gos was put in place long before AMAYA came around. While the ownership group at PokerStars may have changed, most all of the key employees and decision makers at PokerStars are still in place and from what I’ve seen, it’s business as usual for the most part.

This statement suggests that you have insider information that the players are not privy to. Which IS morally fine as a person of course, and from a business perspective. However, as a player, this puts you on the opposite side of a certain line. In the near future this side might not seem so favorable to you, and might not be seen as acceptable to the players.

PokerStars has, and always will look to be regulated in more and more markets, and depending on different government regulations that can be both costly and create some barriers. PokerStars is regulated in more countries than any other online poker site, and I don’t believe it’s even close. It’s always been the company’s policy that regulation is a good thing, despite the cost.

You of course are correct much like Netwon was correct about physics, however his works do not carry the same “correctness” nor relevance today. There are many many sites which every player in the world has access to today (crypto), and many more opening up each day. What you point out about PokerStars being a regulation plow horse that paves the way for poker and the players, is simply one of the most out of date and inefficient machines on the market today. It’s function is increasingly becoming one of taking the players money and pouring it into the bureaucracies and hierarchies who sole existence is to burn value. What you point at is true, however you fail to realize it is this exact inefficiency that will cause Poker Stars to cease to exist. This paragraph outlines a formula that truly does exist in Nash’s works, and we are nearly at the tipping point for this economic shift (ie Stars is going to run out of raked money to feed the plow horse, then it can’t rake more money to feed more plowing). How fast will that happen? The author suggests we don’t blink!

The other area that has helped PokerStars remain #1 for as long as it has, has been the company’s ability to attract NEW players. As I wrote in a previous blog, http://www.fullconta…=&ucat= bringing new recreational players to the game, poker games simply die. It’s imperative that we attract new players and I do believe the company’s strategy will do that. If that strategy works, that could mean more profit for online grinders in the long run. Of course, that remains to be seen over the next couple years, but I’m confident in the company’s vision and I am fully aligned with the direction they are going. I have met with the new owners and I think they have some really exciting and innovative ideas to attract more casual players to the game.

What helped Stars remain number 1 is pure regulatory control and pressure set up by the doj fbi and other US agencies. This same staging is going to be the fuel and the footing for its own implosion. I want to point something out that isn’t getting heard, and probably won’t be for some short time yet. The current math is wrong, recreational players follow the pros FULL STOP. It is not the other way around, and I urge you to consider this. Amaya/Stars has made gross miscalculation on this misunderstanding and now they have stoked a hornets nest of the world’s best and most creative game theorists. It’s simple a misconception to think that such in the box style of thinking can hold up to the collective players consciousness.

For a more detailed look at each of the changes I recommend reading this:

For an understanding of the history, present, and future of all this, I suggest we read this: https://www.scribd.com/doc/224948379/Ideal-Poker

For a detailed explanation I suggest we read this:

https://thewealthofchips.wordpress.com/

To really understand we need to read this: http://sites.stat.psu.edu/~babu/nash/money.pdf

For a really detailed understanding we need to read this: http://unenumerated.blogspot.ca/

I leave us with a quote from Ideal Money/Poker, and urge us to think about the inevitable creation of the players universal “poker coin“:

When one studies what are called ”cooperative games”, which in economic terms include mergers and acquisitions or cartel formation, it is found to be appropriate and is standard to form two basic classifications:

(1): Games with transferable utility.
(and)

(2): Games without transferable utility
(or “NTU” games).

In the world of practical realities it is money which typically causes the existence of a game of type (1) rather than of type (2); money is the “lubrication” which enables the efficient “transfer of utility”. And generally if games can be transformed from type (2) to type (1) there is a gain, on average, to all the players in terms of whatever might be expected to be the outcome.

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