PokerStars Latest Promotion is No Knockout

PokerStarsDespite PokerStars throwing $120,000 each week into its new K.O. Poker promotion, players are not entirely happy with the conditions, the rewards or the rake.

Last Thursday, PokerStars launched its latest promotion – K.O. Poker. The concept of the promotion is that players get rewarded for knocking opponents out from special K.O. Sit & Go games and Knockout tournaments – knock out four or more players in a day to win a ticket to a $10,000 “All-In Shootout”, and eliminate twelve players within a week to win an entry to a $50,000 MTT.

During the promotional period (April 21st to May 12th), players who make a deposit of $15.00 or more using the PokerStars bonus code “KOPOKER2016” will also receive three $1.50 tickets to 36-player K.O. Sit & Go games. It sounds like an interesting promotion for any player who enjoys the K.O. format, and the free tickets should ensure there is plenty of action at the tables. But the promotion has attracted a fair amount of criticism.

Where are the $1.50 Games?

According to the terms and conditions of the promotion, in order for knockouts to count towards the daily/weekly totals, players have to compete in K.O. Sit & Go games with a minimum buy-in of $1.50. As far as we can see in the new “K.O. Poker” tab in the PokerStars client, the buy-ins to the Sit & KO tournaments are $1.00, $3.00, $5.00 and upwards. There are some $2.20 progressive K.O. tournaments scheduled throughout the day, but these are not quick ways to collect knockouts.

K.O. Sit & Go games not listed under the K.O. Poker tab would not appear to count towards the promotion (according to the Terms and Conditions), and something else we found in the small print is that players have to opt into the promotion before their K.O.s are counted. We wonder how many players forgot to do that over the weekend while they were searching the PokerStars client for games they could use their free tickets for!

Win a K.O. Promotion by Playing in a Non-K.O. Event

There has also been criticism directed towards PokerStars for the way in which prizes are distributed. The “All-In Shootouts” are completely skill-less games, with every player all-in every hand. Players are automatically entered into each day´s tournament once they have eliminated four players, and they don´t even have to be logged in at the time the “All-In Shootout” is played to participate.

It has also been queried why the weekly $50,000 finals (on April 30th, May 7th and May 14th) are turbo freezeouts and not K.O. tournaments. It feels as if PokerStars had a product that was not getting much attention (K.O. Sit & Go games were around before the new tab was introduced), so decided to cobble together a promotion at the last minute to replace the extended Card Hunt promotion that was rapidly losing its novelty value.

Win Pay Your Share of $120,000 Each Week

Players opposed to extortionate levels of rake should look away now. A 36-player K.O. Sit & Go hyper-turbo game with a buy-in of $1.00 has an incredible 13.75% rake ($0.44 prize money, $0.44 bounty and $0.12 entry fee). The rake drops down to just over 10% by the time the buy-ins reach $5.00 and just over 8% at the $25.00 buy-in level. It is a colossal amount of rake to charge, and will probably result in PokerStars recovering all the money they are putting into the “promotion” plus interest. (So much for helping the online poker ecology).

If you like the K.O. format, and don´t mind paying super-high levels of rake, this promotion is likely to appeal to you. If – like many other players – you are not entirely happy with rake being charged by PokerStars in the K.O. Poker promotion, at least there are plenty of SCOOP qualifiers running at the moment with more acceptable levels of rake.

Beware of the Name Change for SCOOP Re-Buy Qualifiers

In the past, “2x”, “3x” and “4x” prefixes have referred to the length of time players have to re-buy chips in re-buy and add-on tournaments. In “2x” qualifiers there is a re-buy period of one hour, in “3x” tournaments the re-buy period lasts 90 minutes, and the prefix “4x” indicates that there is a two-hour re-buy period. These prefixes have been renamed “Little Splash”, “Splash” and “Big Splash” because – according to the PokerStars blog – players will associate these names with splashing a lot of chips around.

The site gets dumber every day!