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As the world’s top poker site, every move made by PokerStars is under a microscope.

Whether attempting to buy a casino in New Jersey, partnering with a California tribe and cardrooms, cutting affiliate programs, or launching lottery-style Sit n’ Gos called Spin & Gos, each and every maneuver is analyzed and dissected by players and industry insiders alike.

The latest move to come under scrutiny is a change in PokerStars’ initial deposit bonus, which was spotted by astute posters at 2 + 2. Previously, PokerStars promoted the bonus as 100% up to $600, with 120 days allowed to clear the bonus. As it stands now, that 120 days has been shortened to just 60.

Also modified was the rakeback rate, which poster ‘jspill’ at the popular online poker forum noted is now at 27%. That’s down from the previous rakeback of 32%.

PokerStars always did have a nice policy of allowing that initial deposit to be spread out over three separate deposits. That feature has not changed. What has changed is the length of time allowed to make those three deposits, now at 60 days, down from 90.

Is Amaya Doing the Tinkering?

At first glance, it would seem that new owner Amaya may be the one slicing some of the value from the welcome bonus. That was, perhaps, a logical assumption considering that PokerStars recently took the knife to some of their long-time affiliate partnerships after the Scheinbergs made an exit and Amaya took the wheel.

However, as the 2 + 2 thread evolved, it was discovered that the changes to the deposit bonus occurred long ago –sometime last year. It’s likely that nobody noticed until now as most online poker regulars cleared the bonus long ago and new depositors were none the wiser as to the the previous parameters of the bonus.

So those who have been critical of some of the changes at PokerStars since Amaya took over –the controversies surrounding Spin & Gos and the terminated affiliates come to mind –cannot lump the modifications to the deposit bonus in with their other criticisms.

What About Full Tilt’s Deposit Bonus?

The deposit bonus of sister site Full Tilt has also been adjusted –also before Amaya took the reins. The time allowed to clear the bonus is down to 60 days. Veteran players may recall that 120 days used to be the norm.




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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.