PokerStars has reportedly removed virtually all regular heads-up, multi-table tournaments from their regular schedule, and players are not happy.
A number of players are upset that PokerStars has removed almost all of the multi-table tournaments that use a heads-up format from their regular schedule.
Since the Amaya Gaming Group purchased PokerStars back in 2014, they have been making steady changes that many regular players have complained about. In the past several days, they’ve made another change that, once again, has regulars complaining. This time, PokerStars has removed a lot of the heads-up tournaments that fell under the multi-table tournament category, and it’s yet another point of contention for players who say that the company is going too far to push out the edge of the more skilled players.
Many Recent MTT Changes
This removal of HU MTTs is only the most recent in a string of changes that have happened to the tournament format. They’ve changed a lot of their regularly scheduled tournaments into the turbo or hyper-turbo format, and they’ve pushed a lot of their non-turbos into the KO format, which many players agree has a lower advantage for regular players. Along these lines, they have also increased starting stack sizes a bit, but blind levels and the speed of blind increases have been increased, on average, so it actually ends up being a faster structure for players.
Why Remove HU MTTs?
Heads-up games of any format create a situation where players can get a very large advantage against their opponents. The larger the edge, the more money a player is able to make and the more that player can cash out. This takes money out of the poker economy of PokerStars, which is money that can’t be passed back and forth until they earn it all in the form of rake.
And that’s what this is all ultimately about: increasing profits by tweaking the formatting and scheduling of different types of tournaments.
The first argument that many online poker players will have is that this will hurt PokerStars’ user base in the long run. While this viewpoint is understandable, it’s also a bit mistaken. If skilled players leave the player pool, that’s more or less a good thing for PokerStars’ profits in the long run. This will soften the strength of the player pool, which will make recreational players more likely to want to come and play.
Remember that the biggest thing that players have against PokerStars right now is that, even though they are the largest online poker room in the world, they are also the one with the toughest player pool.
Some players might say that these types of changes are going to hurt PokerStars by forcing certain types of players away. What they don’t understand is that this is a big part of the changes in terms of their long-term profitability. They have to soften the player pool to increase their long-term ability to bring in new depositors, which is what truly funds the poker economy, not players who are much more skilled than average.
What Happens Next?
What probably happens next is that players complain, PokerStars acts like they don’t really care (because they don’t), and people try to adjust the best they can. Some players will probably leave at some point due to these changes in an effort to find a better pond to fish in, and others might just quit the game entirely. Either of these results are good news for PokerStars because the players who don’t care about these changes at all are the players they want to keep, and everyone else is largely a liability for them with their current business strategy.