Party Poker no longer offering high stakes tables

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 18, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Party Poker has made a stunning move this week, eliminating all high-stakes games from the site. Without warning the site simply eliminated all stakes above $5/$10 No Limit and $30/$60 Limit games. While the move is sure to draw the ire of the sites high-stakes/high-volume players, in the long-run Party Poker may be way ahead of the curve.

I wrote about the potential damage these high-stakes tables may be causing to the game (especially online) back in 2009, and also how they may be preventing online poker from being legalized. While Party Poker didn’t cite these reasons in a statement they gave to, but the potential opening of the US market could very well have been an impetus for the change. Here is what Party Poker did tell

“We have removed some of our super high stake games, this decision has been taken to make improvements to our poker ecology and in our players best interests. We believe this change will improve the action at our tables and is in the best interest of the poker room as a whole.”

Party Poker has been hit hard in the past year with year-over-year traffic numbers hovering around a 50% decline, one of the worst in the industry. The site is also not the first to realize the poker economy has gone through a tremendous upheaval, as the Microgaming Network and Bodog have started adding Anonymous tables (Bodog’s tables are exclusively anonymous, while Microgaming simply offers them as part of their regular lineup of tables) and other online providers have started partnering with Brick & Mortar casino groups.

Whether Party Poker is getting its house in order for a potential reentry into the US market, or if they are genuinely concerned about the long-term ramifications to their player base is unknown, but it seems –at least in my opinion—that the decision will be a positive one on the long-run.

In one of the articles I wrote back in 2009 I stated that capping the stakes available (as well as putting 24-hour freeze on all deposits and banning all third-party software) was going to help facilitate legalized online poker:

“… the current stakes being played –and promoted—online are ludicrous! How easy is it for a conservative to stand-up in Congress and cite the Full Tilt Poker games where players are buying in for $200k+? The average Joe has to believe this is insanity; these players are gambling with what amounts to houses.

“The only way to eliminate the argument that a player could easily lose everything is to cap the stakes offered. If players want to get involved in ultra-high-stakes action they will have to go to a casino. Capping the games shouldn’t affect the poker sites’ bottom line all that much since the rake is capped at $3 anyway.

“I would propose a maximum of $10/$20 No Limit, and $50/$100 Limit. I know this seems low, but these are the only stakes that won’t cause people’s heads to turn when you state the buy-in, which would be around $2,000.”

In another article I wrote around the same time I pondered whether these games are even good for poker:

“Nowadays, players can watch the top professionals gamble away more money than the average person makes in a lifetime, in just a single session! And while the action is exciting and creates some buzz, I wonder about the long-term implications of having these types of stakes available.

“The biggest problem I see with the nosebleed stakes is that there is no ladder one must climb before sitting in the game. All you need is the minimum buy-in, and you’re good to go. No one checks to see if you belong there or not, and I fear for some of these young superstars who are tilting, or even worse drunk, and there is nobody there to stop them. No floor person, no friend that accompanied them to the card-room: They are simply there, with perhaps their life savings on the table.

“Additionally, poker is meant to be fun, if you want the government to legalize and regulate the industry you can’t give people the means to utterly ruin their life. If people want to gamble millions, they shouldn’t be doing it on their computers –like I said, there needs to be a voice a reason in the vicinity when someone decides to put $200,000 onto a poker table. If a site wants to offer these stakes there should be conditions that need to be met in order to play in these games: In fact, a site like Full Tilt Poker should only allow its sponsored pros in these games in my opinion.”


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