Players who found their funds locked up in administration when PKR.com went bust can get their money from PokerStars.
In early May the pioneering PKR.com was removed from Microgaming’s Poker Network, the MPN, after informing the Isle of Man-based online gaming giant that they were experiencing “financial difficulties”. On July 6, PokerStars announced that tens of thousands of players, left short-changed by the event, would find whatever amount they had lost to PKR’s demise matched in their regular PokerStars accounts. Those few who didn’t have accounts with both could simply open an account at PokerStars, jump through a simple hoop with a few clicks, and withdraw their funds. They were also welcome to play with the funds on PokerStars.
Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars vice-president of corporate communications said in a July blog post entitled, Putting Players First: “We expect that some players will choose to use that bankroll to play with us and we will gain some new customers, which is certainly a good business decision on our part,” said Hollresiser. “However, the motivation behind this move is simple: to do what’s right.
“As an industry leader, we have the responsibility to lead from the front and demonstrate the importance of sound business practice,” he added. “While we can’t always be accountable for how other companies in our industry act – and it’s not our role to be the world’s online poker police – we can lead by example and encourage others to put players first.”
The company said they weren’t motivated to improve their bottom line, and that they were not acquiring or planning to revive the PKR software platform. They said it was simply the right thing to do.
Of course, the goodwill created by the move can only help PokerStars. The company has also been proactive in getting feedback from players in order to improve their offering – from payout structures to the sort of events they schedule. They have decided to bring back the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in 2018 after trying on another branding for the event.
The parent company of PokerStars’ owners, Amaya Inc. changed its name to The Stars Group – perhaps in an effort to distance itself from former CEO David Baazov who sold off most of his shares this year after a failed bid to buy Amaya and take it private in December. Baazov has pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges, some stemming from Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars’ parent company, the Isle of Man-based Rational Group Ltd. for $4.9 billion in 2014.
PKR.com was founded in 2004 by Jez San and offered the first “virtual world” online poker experience. San was the company’s CEO until 2005 and in the last 8 years has only been involved as an investor, according to a July 4 interview on Casinopedia.
In another pioneering move, Jez San is currently heading up a blockchain casino platform called FunFair. It is the first Ethereum-based casino software to execute wagers in real time and San is expecting it to disrupt the online casino market.