The turn of the new year is always a convenient time to make changes and Unibet Poker has made one: it has removed its highest stakes cash games from the lobby. Both the No-Limit and Pot-Limit €800 are gone; they were introduced in March 2017.
Based on a statement issued by Unibet, it appears that the decision was made to keep recreational players – the richer ones, in particular – on the site. Recreational players, also referred to as casual players, by definition play more for fun than for profit. They tend to be weaker players than serious amateurs or professionals (though they are not all “fish,” as some like to think) and thus tend to lose their money faster. Losing players are the ones who redeposit; after all, winning players don’t need to redeposit since they are winning money from the losing players. Redeposits mean more money in the Unibet poker economy and, in turn, more rake.
Here is the statement from Unibet’s Head of Poker David Pomroy:
Our main priority has always been to safeguard the ecology of our site as everything we do is ultimately built on that foundation. The addition of NL800 and PL800 had contributed to short-handed games and slightly faster loss rates of recreational players at our higher stakes. Although the situation was by no means critical, we decided it was best to act on that trend sooner rather than later. We’ll be launching a new promotion next month which will be aimed at our recreational higher stakes players and will consider restoring NL800 and PL800 in the future once we feel a sufficient support structure is in place. This decision doesn’t change our long-term ambitions to continue growing the site but right now our focus is on ensuring that we continue to offer a non-predatory environment and the most enjoyable cash games online.
The “slightly faster loss rates of recreational players” is self-explanatory. Unibet doesn’t want rec players to lose quickly, as that can lead to them not having fun and just leaving the poker room altogether. The increased instances of short-handed games is related in the sense that there is usually a greater skill gap from serious players to recreational players at short-handed tables, thus leading to rec players losing their money more quickly.
Unibet currently sits at 14th in PokerScout’s cash game traffic rankings, with a seven-day average of 700 cash game players. That’s really not too bad at all, considering Unibet went independent a few years ago. It has added two skins to its own network, but for essentially a standalone site, 700 players is alright. That said, 700 players isn’t a lot, so taking the risk of alienating the high rollers is likely not a big deal for Unibet, as those players certainly must make up a tiny percentage of its customer base.
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