Is PokerStars Delusional?

I just got this email the other day from PokerStars

Really? Your competitors have all got you in the crosshairs and are pulling out every stop to steal your customers away and the best you can offer if 50% up to $200?

I’ve said in previous posts that I think that what happened could be a good thing because it’s better to have the market spread evenly out over 4 or 5 rooms than so heavily weighted to only 1 or 2 rooms and this is what I’m talking about. Stars is already one of the stingiest rooms when it comes to reloads and other types of bonuses. And in the face of one of the biggest defining moments in their history this is the best offer they can make to players.

10 thoughts on “Is PokerStars Delusional?”

  1. I don’t think that Stars dominance has waned one bit since April 15th: despite the loss of the US market, Stars is still far and away the biggest site. It’s main rival – Full Tilt – has suffered a major body blow, while its main euro rivals – Party and iPoker – have hardly gained at all in the past 9 days.

    Stars has long given up trying to compete on reload bonuses – nearly ever other site offers either better bonuses and/or rakeback and HAS FOR YEARS. It was also during this time that Stars pulled away from its rivals…

    1) Stars has a pretty good and flexible VIP programme
    2) it has spent years developing the best Sat system into the best live tournaments world wide
    3) its software is the industry standard;
    4) its customer support, by most accounts, is also the industry leader.

    Unless these things go by the wayside, why should Stars’ worldwide dominance not continue?

  2. “Doesn’t sound like a bad perk to throw your loyal players who stick with you while you’ve been accused of breaking money laundering and bank fraud laws.”

    I would agree that if I am Pokerstars and use reload bonuses as a reward tool on existing players (which they do although not as frequently as others) then whatever the size and the terms of my average reload bonus, this is probably a good time to offer an above average one.

    Some of the monetary incentives (like guarantees) have dropped, so then, perhaps, it makes sense to compensate that with an above-average reload bonus.

    So I think we can meet half way with me agreeing that the offer is a bit below par – if it represents a fairly standard Pokerstars bonus offer . I’d just not bring any bonuses offered by anyone else into the equation since they are going places I don’t want to go and probably don’t have to go.

    I also agree, we’ve discussed this before so it is merely a note to your readers, that the commodity dicussion is a bit warped. Because if I say it is not a commodity industry I am ignoring large parts of the industry whos market players have themselves decided that it is commodity industry and play the game that way. It’s a mistake to do so, but they do it nonetheless.

    Pokerstars is one of the exceptions.

  3. So, at worst it’s break-even? Doesn’t sound like a bad perk to throw your loyal players who stick with you while you’ve been accused of breaking money laundering and bank fraud laws.

    Yes, we do disagree on the commodity thing but I think you’re just making your point to make your point here. It COULD be different but currently nobody really has set out to differentiate themselves enough where I’m willing to say that the entire industry still isn’t a commodity industry.

  4. “You know as well as I do that most poker rooms make money on reload bonuses.”

    I’m not willing to back that statement up actually. My experience is based if one is basing calculations on standard rake is split. I’ve seen cases where the increase in revenues exactly matches the decrease in margin.

    Based on how many reload bonuses are constructed, and if one calculates real value instead of rake I’d say such a statement is even more questionable.

    There is many to be made of course, but it not at all a given.

    “Hey, I know we’re a commodity industry…”

    This is probably where we disagree the most. Always have. I definitely don’t think it is foremost a commodity industry.

  5. Mosche,

    I’m not saying Stars should give out 100000000% up to $10000000000000 or anything. But 50% up to 100% is weak by any stretch. It’s pathetic. You’re basically saying, “Hey, I know we’re a commodity industry and you can play anywhere you want and many of our competitors are trying to sway you with lucrative offers right now but we’re going to toss you out this scrap because we know you’re too stupid to go anywhere else.”

  6. Can’t agree with you. At all.
    Three reasons:
    1- insatiny is not sustainable for the long run – all Titan poker
    Or others are doing now is renting out some hinders for the
    Short term. Once the drug wears off not much left.
    Stars put focus on the activity (scoop) and the drug is just an added
    Value to the real reasons people play at stars.
    2 – how important it is to get players? Is it more important
    Than getting the right type of players? Wont crazy rb offers
    Just infest the poker room with net redeemers that will drain
    The room faster?
    3- the underline message of stars is “don’t panic” and
    Business as usual. Much stronger message IMHO than
    “omg we are screwed hers a bribe to help us keep you”.
    I believe players will feel more relaxed with this approach
    And might regain some lost trust.

    Interesting and correct approach, even if risking some
    Shark exodus temporary.

  7. For as much as I agree with you Kim I also disagree with you often. This is one of those times. 50% to $100 is weak. It’s weak by all industry standards. You know as well as I do that most poker rooms make money on reload bonuses. To throw out a weak bonus offer when you know that your competitors are going to be luring people away with better bonuses just seems insane to me. They don’t have to do crazy and offer 300% up to $10,000,000 or anything but I think 100% up to $100, $200 or $600 seems like a fairly standard offer.

  8. For once I disagree, Bill.

    I just think they’re staying true to what they believe is the reason behind their success.
    If you got the quality, you don’t ever sell on price.

    They simply trust that the players still feel that playing on Pokerstars is more fun, more engaging, more rewarding that elsewhere.

    I don’t think Pokerstars are the idiots here. I think all the others who suddenly think that price outweighs quality and thus waste fortunes on recruiting players with zero margin offers that these players will exploit like migrating locust.

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