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PokerStars sent an ultimatum to affiliates

Author: Vargoso Published: 04.03.19

Over the past few years, PokerStars has taken the path against regular poker players. The poker community wasn't very happy with some of the changes, and even boycotts were organized; just to mention a few, the site slashed the rakeback, increased the rake, banned poker software, and added new high-variance poker formats. For affiliates, they changed the terms and conditions and changed a lifetime commission for a 2-year one. The last week the room decided again to modify the terms with its partners, and that's what we are going to discuss in this post.

PokerStars sent an ultimatum to affiliates

PokerStars sent an ultimatum — asking to put all the eggs in one basket

In February, many poker affiliates received communications from the PokerStars affiliate department. The one received by Worldpokerdeals stated that our site was actively promoting Americas Cardroom, which takes US citizens without a license from the USA authorities. And, apparently, according to PS terms and condition, section 2.3, PokerStars cannot be presented on websites along with these rooms working on "grey markets".

After the explanation, the PokerStars team asked us to remove all ACR information from our website.

It is clear that we could not take such a step. In fact, besides ACR, about 30% of the poker rooms promoted by Worldpokerdeals operate in the same way. And if we remove Americas Cardroom today, no one will guarantee us that the same won't be asked tomorrow for similar rooms such as Black Chip Poker (WPN), BetOnline (Chico network), PPPoker, Bodog, PokerMaster, etc. We clearly indicated this in our response.

Sadly, the PokerStars staff politely answered that their position sustains and asked to remove PokerStars from our poker rooms portfolio. This is, in fact, the ultimatum — either we or they, no middle ground. Someone needs to be removed anyway. We decided the Stars way and we are deleting them because we have more players at the "grey rooms", and the truth is that they win a lot of money there.

Most likely, other poker affiliates will be forced to make the same decision soon. As a result, PokerStars will disappear from almost all major poker sites advertising ACR or similar rooms. PokerStars doesn't fear to the "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"; as the largest online poker room, they can afford that. PokerStars kinda auto-promotes its brand, because it's usually the first time that comes to mind when someone thinks about online poker. And the truth is, that most affiliates won't lose much for breaking ties with PokerStars.

Why is PokerStars sending an ultimatum to affiliates?

Just like any other company, PokerStars will never opt for a major change in the relationship with its partners for no reason. Therefore, their refusal to be presented along with "grey" American poker rooms must have a strong compelling circumstance behind. And of course, the financial benefits from these circumstances must be greater than the loss for ending its relationship with affiliates.

Most likely, a bad actor clause is forcing the room to act like this, but we can only guess. Maybe PokerStars complained to the authorities telling them that they were advertised along with unlicensed poker rooms. 

Although cautiously, PokerStars is not far from the grey poker markets (for example, their relationship with the Chinese room Red Dragon poker is undeniable); but for some reason, PS is now very concerned about the Americas Cardroom situation — the largest and famous facing US poker room. Therefore, we can assume that PokerStars is trying to distance themselves from any "grey" poker rooms because they are preparing to move forward in the United States with more products. And for them, the US market is more important than affiliates.

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