“I cannot professionally and publicly endorse it”- The words itself describe what Victoria Coren, one the biggest female ambassadors of poker had on mind while saying goodbye to Team PokerStars Pro just after the Amaya-owned company announced to host casino games globally.
Last week, PokerStars disclosed officially the plans of launching sports betting and table games like Roullette and Blackjack on its global site pokerstars.com. A strong outrage against this move loomed quickly among the poker lovers worldwide. Following this announcement, Coren-Mitchell, who had been a part of Team PokerStars Pro since 2007 announced her departure saying she couldn’t be a bystander.
Poker is the game I love, poker is what I signed up to promote,” Coren wrote on her personal blog. Clarifying her intentions, Coren stated: “I’m always careful to explain the difference between the essentially fair nature of poker, where we all take each other on with the same basic chance, and those casino games at unfavourable odds which can be (especially online) so dangerous for the vulnerable or desperate.”
“Although PokerStars assured me I would not have to actively promote the casino arm, I know in my heart that continuing in my current role could risk helping to send people to a place where they would encounter something I think is dangerous. That’s not the way I want to make a living,” the two-time European Poker Tour (EPT) champion explained her decision to quit.
The poker community emerged on the micro blogging site, Twitter to extend support to this poker queen. Thousands of tweets started pouring in applauding her strong stand against PokerStars’ motives to promote gambling. She responded to her peers and followers in a tweet.
Lately, PokerStars has witnessed a huge opposition and criticism globally from the poker lovers and numerous professional players for its new strategies of generating revenues which includes introduction of Spin n Go poker, raise of rakes in all formats and now the announcement of casino games. Although increasing rakes could be justified on various terms but the way PokerStars is promoting luck-oriented games is what poker lovers are condemning worldwide.
Being the world’s biggest poker site, it should be the moral duty of the company to promote the goodwill of game. The industry experts say that PokerStars has a liberty to even experiment with the formats but not at the cost of luring players into luck-based games and table gambling.
It would be interesting to watch whether other Team PokerStars members follow the footprints of Victoria in coming days to dissociate with the company which has clear intentions of making money out of gambling.
Some of the twitter reactions include-
— Alex Livingston (@rumnchess) November 27, 2014
— PokeriMania.com (@PokeriMania) November 26, 2014
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) November 27, 2014
Major props to @VictoriaCoren what a boss move. Well done!
— David Baker (@audavidb) November 27, 2014