Is Daniel Negreanu leaving PokerStars, that is the question everybody wants to know the answer to. Recent events at PokerStars have left Daniel embarrassed and frustrated with managment. Some have said PokerStars is not “communicating” well with the players, and Daniel has also talked about “communcation” being poor on numerous occasions. I find it difficult to believe this is purely a “communication” issue though. At the core of the problem is a different culture that comes along with major corporations versus privately held companies. To some degree Daniel has even acknowledged this to be the case. He says things like players need to understand that management of publicly held corporations have obligations to shareholders. In corporate land we have a term for this and it is called fiduciary duty. It is a legal duty to act solely in the interests of another party, which, in the case of corporations is the shareholders. What does all this mean? Well, not only does management not give a damn about what a bunch of SuperNova Elite players think, but they also feel morally righteous to completely screw them over because they actually have a legal duty to do so. When I say this, I am assuming that by taking away benefits from top players they are doing a good thing for shareholders (which is certainly debatable). For those of you who are not already up to speed on the huge PokerStars cuts, I talked extensively about the changes in my article PokerStars VIP Changes.
Daniel Negreanu Is Upset About PokerStars Broken Promises:
This shouldn’t be terribly surprising to anyone. Daniel is a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, and to be the players representative for PokerStars while they are knifing players in the back isn’t very cool. Listening to him talk about the situation it is easy to sense his frustration may be starting to boil over. Now that Amaya has taken over, I can only imagine how many meetings he sits around in with PokerStars corporate types who don’t know the first thing about poker. Of course, he is being handsomely compensated to be the voice of PokerStars, which I am sure helps. However, Daniel is a talented guy, not likely to be a yes man forever, and may prefer to exit the stage before he gets the boot!
Will PokerStars Fire Daniel Negreanu?
We shall see…. If he doesn’t leave before his contract runs out with Stars it stands to reason that PokerStars will be relooking at Daniel’s compensation. I doubt they would just fire him outright, but after hacking all the elite players rakeback, VIP service, etc, etc it is easy to imagine them cutting back on money spent on pros like Daniel. Would Daniel stick around PokerStars when they want to cut his pay massively? Yeah, I doubt it….
I’m sure the decision about whether to maintain Daniel’s existing contract will be a cool and calculated business decision. These guys from Amaya are hard nosed businessmen, and are not messing around. There is no room for things like friendship and loyalty, Amaya acts in a very utilitarian manner and will not be swayed by emotion.
When Is Daniel Negreanu Leaving PokerStars?
It is always tough to say with these kinds of things. I talked at length about PokerStars Rake Increase in 2014 and the potential resulting death spiral. We have seen the rake increases, but have yet to see the death spiral. These things take time and it is difficult to set a timeline for them. However, I think it is fair to say Daniel is much closer to leaving PokerStars today than at any time since he joined the company. It may surprise some of you how quickly this happens….
PokerStars New Marketing Campaign
In recent chats Daniel has been hanging his hat on PokerStars apparent backroom promises to invest a significant amount of money back into the ecosystem. I for one, will believe it when I see it… Apparently, this is going to be done through some extensive marketing campaigns, which are not yet public information.
I am curious what exactly these new, brilliant, and classified marketing strategies are. I suspect PokerStars may squander a good deal of money that they used to give to Supernova Elites on ill advised marketing strategies that fail to address the core problem in poker today. New players lose money TOO quickly. That’s it! Of course, the solutions to this problem are not as easy to determine as the problem itself.
The ironic thing is I don’t disagree with PokerStars that giving less rakeback to high volume rakeback players is a bad idea. However, what I don’t see from them is a wholesale revamp toward what is truly required to kickstart the game again. For example, cutting the rake at microstakes games is apparently a non starter according to Daniel. Why? Because management doesn’t like the idea of making any moves that reduce revenue. This despite the fact that having an incredibly high rake at the lowest games is a terrible idea for the game. So, perhaps the death spiral may be in their future after all….
Where Can Daniel Make The Biggest Difference?
Daniel, if you are out there somewhere reading the little ol PokerCapitalist don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need to be on the inside at PokerStars to be helping out fellow players. In fact, you could be the face of a significant movement away from PokerStars. The poker industry has been in a giant depression now for nearly a decade. As a result of this there has been very little innovation in the industry and hardly any disruption. No entrepreneurs are interested in getting involved in this space anymore. The time may well be ripe for a new disruptive model, and somebody like Daniel would be a great leader for that.
That is all for now. As I always mention at the bottom of my posts don’t forget to pickup a copy of my book Exploitive No Limit Holdem please today! Best book ever, of course ;).
–ThePokerCapitailst (No nonsense, no ads, straight talk on poker)