When you imagine the ways in which an online poker room might try to make money, the one that probably comes to mind first is attracting high stakes players. Since high-stakes cash games generate a lot of rake, it stands to reason that a poker room would want as many of those games running as often as possible.
But these games an also have a negative effect on a poker room as a whole; money can quickly move up into those games and out of lower-stakes games, as winners at the lower stakes take shots in tougher games. It seems that it is this fear that prompted the decision by Party Poker to eliminate many of their high stakes tables this week.
The removed games are not those that were played by the majority of players on Party Poker, but they weren’t confined just to the largest nosebleed stakes, either. All no-limit and pot-limit tables with blinds of $10/$20 or higher were eliminated, as were all limit games with stakes of $50/$100 and up.
The move has been greeted with mixed reaction from players, but Party Poker did give some rationale for their decision.
“This decision has been taken to make improvements to our poker ecology and in our players best interests,” a Party Poker customer service representative said in an email that was posted on the Two Plus Two forums. “We believe this change will improve the action at our tables and is in the best interest of the poker room as a whole. The change will remain in place for the foreseeable future.”
It remains to be seen how this will ultimately impact the Party Poker player base. While it may stop money from flowing out of low-stakes games, it is also possible that high-stakes players may move to other sites rather than move down a level or two to stay on Party. Party Poker is urrently ranked as the 3rd largest online poker room in the industry by PokerScout, trailing only PokerStars and the iPoker Network.