The recent changes at the world’s largest poker site has led to a heated debate in the poker community. First PokerStars parted ways with several pros, including Joe Cada, Marcel Luske and Alex Kravchenko, then they announced a new currency exchange rate, which was followed up by a general rake increase. And last but not least PokerStars last week announced a new strategy that includes online casino games.
The last step was too much for two-time EPT champion Victoria Coren, who announced yesterday that she had terminated her endorsement deal with PokerStars. On her blog Coren said:
On Friday night, PokerStars.com announced that it will be rolling out online casino gaming alongside its internet poker. As a result, on Saturday morning, I terminated my endorsement contract with them.(…) I cannot professionally and publicly endorse it, even passively by silence with my name still over the shop. Poker is the game I love, poker is what I signed up to promote. The question I’m probably asked most often in interviews is about the danger of addiction, going skint and so on. I’m always careful to explain the difference between the essentially fair nature of poker, where we all take each other on with the same basic chance, and those casino games at unfavourable odds which can be (especially online) so dangerous for the vulnerable or desperate.
Victoria Coren has been a member of Team PokerStars Pro since 2007, the year after she won her first EPT title in London. On her blog Coren said she had “seven wonderful years as a proud member of Team Pro and I wish it wasn’t over. This is a very sad and regretful day for me”.
Coren went on to say that: “Maybe in the future I will be able to work with PokerStars again on something which is pure poker. I don’t know, but certainly there are no hard feelings between me and that company which has done so much for the beautiful game over the last decade.”
When Coren posted a link to her blog on Twitter, her website literally crashed due to the immense traffic, and a large number of tweets were posted with expressions of sympathy:
@VictoriaCoren you are one hell of a woman. Complete respect and admiration!
— Melanie Weisner (@melanieweisner) November 27, 2014
@VictoriaCoren Vicky you are an amazing woman and a credit to the poker community.
— Jennifer Tilly (@Jtillathekilla2) November 26, 2014
— Kara Scott (@KaraOTR) November 26, 2014
@VictoriaCoren I’m very proud of you. Much respect, Victoria.
— Jennifer Newell (@WriterJen) November 26, 2014
You can read all of Victoria Coren’s blog here