PokerStars Bails Out PKR Players With No Strings Attached6 months ago
Almost exactly two months ago, players on the PKR site were hit with the devastating news that the company was going into administration, severe financial difficulties leaving all player accounts and funds suspended with little likelihood of ever seeing a red cent of it back.
Until this week, that is, when Amaya stepped in and decided it would make the 60,000 players whole again – transferring their funds to PokerStars with no strings attached. A remarkable display of generosity and “the right thing to do for the poker world” said Eric Hollreiser in the shock announcement.
But in the midst of the rejoicing – and we should all be happy for the players, none of whom deserved to see their PKR ship sink through horrendous management – there are obvious questions to be asked, the first being: why would PokerStars invest money when, in their own words, “we're not doing this to improve our bottom line and we are not acquiring or planning to revive the PKR software platform.”
What they are gaining is access to 60,000 ‘new’ players, and although they claim that many already have PokerStars accounts, and the transferred PKR funds can be withdrawn immediately, what do you think is likely to happen now that their favorite site has shut down? More than likely play on Pokerstars of course – people don’t like to bite the hand that feeds or saves them.
Although there has been no $ figure slapped on the deal, it’s safe to say that Amaya aren’t going to have to dig too deep to reimburse the PKR crew – and if even 30% of the accounts were to continue playing on Stars, it doesn’t take a maths genius to surmise that a few years down the line Stars will be in the black from this gesture, not to mention dormant accounts for which the fine print will be interesting to see.
The second major point is that the majority of PKR players were recreational types – it was an immensely fun place to play in its heyday and truly innovative and unlike any other site. We all know that Stars have targeted recs as their main or only real focus, so they’re ‘acquiring’ a chunk of exactly the right type of player for their future ventures.
I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here mainly because somebody ought to. The players are happy, the forums are full of praise for Amaya and even MPN boss Alex Scott is playing a hero role to the public, despite being one of the men who helped run PKR into the ground.
It’s a grand gesture, but in a game where there’s definitely no such thing as a free lunch, what it really amounts to is a nifty PR venture and a clever business deal. What’s wrong with that I hear you ask?
Well, you can buy 60,000 roses to cover up the smell of the massive pile of manure in your garden, and the roses will be happy for being allowed to grow, and passers-by will think it’s pretty too, but unless you tend to all the weeds and slugs and other problems in your garden it doesn’t make you a good gardener!
I’m actually very happy for the PKR players, genuinely so, but there’s an old saying that ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’ – let’s see what the future brings from our Canadian saviors, eh?
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