It has been a while since we have heard of an online poker room cutting back its high stakes cash game offerings, but here we are again. Unibet Poker has announced that it has removed its highest level of cash game, the €800 No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables. There was not a whole lot of action at these lofty heights, but Unibet feels that their elimination is the best move for the health of its poker economy. The games were added less than a year ago, in March 2017.
Unibet’s Head of Poker David Pomroy explained:
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.
Analyzing that statement a bit (and without first-hand knowledge of what the Unibet lobby has looked like of late), it looks like what was happening was that deep pocketed casual players – and what in many cases may have been “fish” – were getting destroyed at the high stakes tables. There seemed to be a couple things at play contributing to that. One was that the €800 No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables were naturally not as popular as low stakes games and were thus less populated, creating short-handed tables. Second, those that did sit at the tables are generally going to be the most skilled players. Add those two things up and you get recreational players playing short-handed games – games in which blinds come around faster and which generally require more skill than full-ring – against tough players, resulting in rec players’ accounts getting drained quickly.
Online poker rooms love high stakes recreational players, as they are the ones that lose money and have to re-deposit, but they don’t want them losing quickly and not having fun. If that happens, the players are less likely to re-deposit and keep playing. Thus the need to protect them and, in Unibet’s case, remove the highest stakes cash game tables from the lobby.
The highest stakes No-Limit and Pot-Limit games on Unibet are now €400, the same level it was a few years ago.