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Nov 08, 2014

Daniel Negreanu says PokerStars changes aren't all about Amaya

By RTR Dennis

Daniel Negreanu Poker Stars Amaya

Daniel Negreanu PokerStars Amaya

Seeing as how PokerStars dominates so much of the international iPoker landscape, it seems that new owner Amaya Gaming has flipped the online world upside down. Many regulars weren't happy about Spin & Gos being introduced, but now they're livid after rake increased in certain games and currency exchange fees were enacted.

Obviously the blame has been put on Amaya, a company that many players believe is only concerned about their profit margins. Moreover, some forum posters speculate that Amaya could destroy online poker as we know it. But is this totally about profits, or is there more to the story? If we're to believe Daniel Negreanu, the face of PokerStars, these changes have been coming long before Amaya bought the site for $4.9 billion. That said, let's take a quick look at the thoughts Negreanu expressed on his blog at FullContactPoker.

PokerStars still the cheapest place to play poker

"First of all, I think it’s really important to note that some 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."

Same leadership in place

"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."

Keeping up with the competition

No matter what Daniel Negreanu or PokerStars has to say on the changes, many players are going to be unhappy about the way things are going. After all, their ability to win money has been reduced with the introduction of Spin & Gos, slightly higher rake and currency fees. And it would be naive to think that Amaya is making all of these moves with the poker economy in mind.

But on the other side, one must consider how recruiting recreational players isn't as easy as it was 5 years ago. Furthermore, increasing online poker regulation around the world is adding more costs to doing business. So while Stars might still lead the market, they could easily lose profits by not trying certain measures to keep money and new players rolling in.