PokerStars Named Poker Operator of the Year – Poker Community Asks WTF?
This week saw the latest instalment of the annual EGR Operator Awards, and of all the poker sites out there, PokerStars came out on top as the Poker Operator of the Year. The response from the online and mobile poker community has been mixed, but most agree that PokerStars probably wasn’t the right choice – at least not this year. But why did PokerStars claim the top spot, and why has it caused such an uproar?
For those of you unacquainted with the way the upper echelons of mobile and online gaming pat each other on the back each year, let me give you the low down on the EGR Operator Awards. Held every year at the end of November, the EGR Awards are held by the eGaming Review magazine, and over the past 10 years, has carved out its place as the most important awards ceremony in the UK for online and mobile gaming. It’s a huge deal to win an award at these things, and to come out as top operator in any category is a huge piece of recognition for a site.
So, theoretically, the poker site which wins best operator should have had an as close to possible flawless year running up to the awards. And this is where the questions over PokerStars’ eligibility has been raised.
The weird thing is, PokerStars has been doing surprisingly badly, at least for the last quarter or so. Despite a revamped look to the site and introduction of new games to the site after it was acquired by a new owner, PokerStars has been seeing reduced traffic, and reduced revenue. How can EGR defend rewarding a site which currently seems to be on a slow down?
The big concern most players have is that PokerStars’ new owner – Amaya – is going to try and squeeze every drop of profitability out of the site, and it in turn will lose all its character and attraction. This theory does fit with what we’ve seen at PokerStars over the last few months, what with the site’s introduction of profitable, but soulless Spin & Go games, or yesterday’s announcement that it would introducing sports betting and casino games.
PokerStars has always been a great place for serious players to have a serious game, but with the changes Amaya has been making, it seems to be alienating its core clientele. I’m not saying that PokerStars has done nothing to deserve recognition, and many still view it as the best poker site out there, but maybe, as many have been suggesting, EGR should think a tad more critically before passing out awards next time?