Will You Rally With ‘Ansky’ For a 3-day PokerStars Strike?

6 years ago
PokerStars strike
29 Nov

P oker pro Dani ‘Ansky’ Stern has taken to the 2+2 forum to round up support for a 3-day strike against PokerStars starting on December 1st.

The call to action, directed against PokerStars recent wholesale changes aimed at regular players (regs) states:

We are organizing a strike/boycott of PokerStars from December 1st-3rd, starting at 12:01 AM EST. We ask everyone who values the game of poker at all, recreational or pro, to show their support… Please do not play a hand of poker on PokerStars for those 72 hours.”

The strike-plea has encountered a mixed reaction, with support from many quarters on the forum, a handful of somewhat abusive messages and some would-be supporters suggesting alternatives to the proposed 3-day walk-out.

Ansky’s original posting also highlights another thread where PokerStars regulars are committing to sitting out the first 3 days of the month, in the hope that Stars will engage in a proper debate about the changes they have introduced – with a view to hopefully having the most extreme of them lessened.

The changes, according to PokerStars owners Amaya Inc, are designed to ‘level the playing field’ and provide relief to recreational players, but Stern claims there is no such change happening.

They are telling their players outright lies, and we will not stand for it,” he claims, adding, “They have deceived SNE players about benefits they would receive, are discontinuing the SNE program, and they have completely removed all rewards for high stakes (5/10+) cash games. Beyond that, it follows an ongoing trend that PokerStars/Amaya has been taking in recent years. A site that was once clearly for the players, has completely lost sight of that.”

Asking for players to join the walkout, there is the opportunity to ‘sign up’ with others, under the banner:

‘I (PokerStars nickname) shall not play at my stakes (type of game and stakes) from the 1st to the 3rd of December.’

So far almost 1700 players have pledged their support, covering many different stakes and games.

Ansky points out in his new thread that:

A site that was once clearly for the players, has completely lost sight of that,” going on to explain that, “I truly believe that these changes will bring about devastating effects to the online poker community.”

Support (and condemnation) was not long in arriving, even from those not directly affected by the changes. Scottish player GazzyB123 said:

I don't play on Stars but would definitely support this/take part in any strikes if I did, and would encourage anyone swithering about this to get involved,” adding that “It's a chance for poker players to unite and at least try to make themselves heard. Good luck!”

Among those who think the strike is misguided is ‘bigsalmon’, wrote:

I think it is futile to strike because the landscape has changed. Stars is more interested in their shareholders than in making sure grinders can make a living. If you can't beat poker without a rakeback, then you should consider getting a real job because I think the online poker grinder will become extinct soon enough.”

This was one of the more intelligible posts from the anti-strike posters, and Deuce2High was moved to reply to the worst of them:

So frustrating to read all of the stupid and short-sighted posts in this thread already. Poker players literally battling against their own interests by shooting down the efforts to band together and affect some change. You might as well be Amaya shills.”

The subject of the 3-day strike - as opposed to a permanent walk-out for example - also elicited a response:

A three day strike is a perfect first step. This can be repeated or expanded upon with ease. It is possible and perhaps most effective to enact a strategy like this instead of a permanent sit-out. It's easy to critique from the sidelines if you aren't supporting yourself or a family … Don't attack the people that have their/your interests in mind.”

The strike will be unlikely to have any effect on PokerStars finances, as Stern points out:

No one has any illusions of sinking PokerStars stock with a 3 day strike, or bringing down the company. That’s not what this is about."

Dani ‘Ansky’ Stern’s 2+2 call-to-arms is not the only action proposed.

As reported here on PokerTube by Charles Rettmuller, a new website has been launched at www.TheyKillPoker.com that calls for players opposed to the changes to wage a strike against PokerStars beginning on January 1, 2016.

At the top of the home page of the new website is the phrase "PokerStars is killing online poker!" The site reaches out to players with the following statement:

We call on everyone who loves and values poker, to stop playing at this site starting from January 1, 2016 and till full cancellation of the forthcoming changes, as a mark of protest against PokerStars policy that ignores players' interests.

Dear Amaya

Another recent initiate is on Tiltbook.com where an open letter to PokerStars has been posted with over 1000 signatures from PS players that are upset with the new changes. To show this initiative some support you can check out their page here and go 'All-in' with them against Stars.

Among the main movers in such calls for action against PokerStars have been Russian-based players who make up a decent section of the sites regular players. The initial strike ideas were first posted on the Gipsyteam.ru site, and player ‘I From Russian’ was the original poster on 2+2, stating the goals as:

  • To gather support from active players
  • To conduct a test strike and estimate its success
  • To show PokerStars that we care and we're ready to start pressing before they implement any changes in the VIP-system in 2016.

Stern’s recent plea echoes these sentiments with the prevailing view among regular players being that

PokerStars has made it clear they do not respect us, so we need to demonstrate that we are able to fight back with volume and force,” finishing with, "The fight is on, this is the first battle and we will continue fighting as long as we need to.”

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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