The world's biggest real-money online poker room PokerStars has removed its lowest stakes games for players in Romania.
The change began in early October when the $0.01/$0.02 zoom poker games were removed from the lobby. Later in the month, all pot-limit and no-limit ring-games at $/€/£0.01/$/€/£0.02 were removed from the poker client.
Although players in Romania operate on a dot-ro domain due to the country's online poker legislation, the site shares international liquidity with players on the dot-com along with many other domains. Due to the separate domain, PokerStars can offer different offerings.
Not only will micro-stakes players in Romania enjoying these limits be forced to move up to $/€/£0.02/$/€/£0.05 stakes, but they will pay a higher rake to the company for doing so. Rake for players for $/€/£0.01/$/€/£0.02 no-limit and pot-limit games is 3.3 to 3.5 percent of any pot where a flop takes place, capped out at $0.30/€0.25/£0.20. However, the rake in $/€/£0.02/$/€/£0.05 games is 3.9 to 4.15 percent capped out at $1/€0.75/£0.60 if there are at least five players on the table.
The removal of the lowest stakes games in Romania follows a similar move PokerStars enacted back in June for players in Belgium who play on the dot-be domain. At the time, PokerStars explained to Belgian poker player "kmeirlaen" in a response to an email about the changes that this was a trial, which he shared with the Two Plus Two poker community.
This is a follow-up regarding your recent email about NL2 cash game.
We have received the following information about these games. We are sorry to inform you that this is intentional.
We are indeed trialing the removal of $/€/£2.00 no-limit as well as $/€/£ 0.01/0.02 pot-limit and no-limit games in Belgium, since June 15.
We frequently review the selection of ring games and tournaments within our lobby and monitor how that affects the overall playing experience, whether playing on smartphone, tablet or desktop. We experiment with all aspects of the game by trying out new challenges, promotions and types of poker; launching new online series, such as the MicroMillions; and sponsoring live poker festivals around the world.
However, we do value your feedback and assure you it has been forwarded to the relevant team for this trial.
We apologize for the inconveniences and thank you for your understanding.
If the trial works out, it would not be surprising to see the lowest stakes games removed on a global basis. PokerStars may instead choose to continue the trial as it has in other markets similar to Romania and Belgium that operate on separate domains on the global network including Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and the United Kingdom.