Putting Players First

For online poker operators, nothing is more important than protecting players' bankrolls. PokerStars keeps player money and operating funds separate and protected - we always have. Players' bankrolls are *their* money and we aim to make sure it's always available to them. As we learned in April 2011 and again last month, not all operators do.

The recent insolvency of online poker room PKR left tens of thousands of players short-changed, and left waiting alongside all of PKR's other creditors. This is what happens when players aren't protected as they should be. It isn't fair, it isn't right. We've decided that we're going to make those players whole and have signed an agreement with the court appointed Administrator to do so.

Beginning today, we're making players' PKR balances available dollar-for-dollar in PokerStars accounts, with no strings attached. To be sure, we already have a relationship with the majority of PKR's players, because they also already have a PokerStars account. Those players who don't already have an account with us, will simply need to open a new account and their funds will be available to them for withdrawal. Transactions will, of course, be subject to the usual agreed terms regulating Stars Account (for instance, we are having ongoing conversations with some regulators about payment of funds). 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. However, the motivation behind this move is simple: to do what's right.


We will begin contacting the approximately 60,000 affected PKR players today to encourage them to follow emailed instructions that will walk them through a relatively simple process that will result in their PKR funds becoming available in a PokerStars account. We've developed a system with the Administrator to ensure that players are credited correctly, but please be patient if your account needs to be manually credited by our customer support team. If you believe that you held funds on PKR then check your email for further instructions. You can also visit our FAQ page for more information.

For the majority of PKR players that have an existing PokerStars account, it should take just a few clicks from receiving our email to seeing their PKR funds appear in their PokerStars account. There will be some further steps for the minority that need to open a new PokerStars account, but our aim and intention is to make funds available for withdrawal as quickly as possible. There will be no further obligation or play-through required. There are no strings attached.

Protecting your money
Seeing players left with no protection is one of the many reasons that we advocate for safe and sensible regulation. As an industry leader, we have the responsibility to lead from the front and demonstrate the importance of sound business practise. 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 two most fundamental things that a gaming company must do and that some regulators require - is to ensure that your games are fair and your money is safe. The UK Gaming Commission's Basic, Medium and High requirements for fund protection can be viewed here. PokerStars is proud to offer the highest level of protection.

As the UKGC states, 'The larger the amount of money which you hold with a gambling company, the more thought you should give to how that company protects it. You may wish to choose which company you use by how much protection they offer or spread your money across more than one company.'

If you choose not to hold your balance with us, then please ensure that you choose a company that is responsible enough to offer the highest level of fund protection. Doing your own research can take minutes, but losing your entire bankroll - with little recourse to claim a cent back - can happen in the blink of an eye.

We're not doing this to improve our bottom line and we are not acquiring or planning to revive the PKR software platform. We're doing this because we think it's the right thing to do for the poker world and to encourage others to join us in putting you, the player, first by segregating and protecting player balances from operating funds. PokerStars is proud that we're in a position where we're able to step in and help these players and encourage all companies in the industry to put players first.

Eric Hollreiser is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.

Eric Hollreiser
@PokerStars in Inside PokerStars