PokerStars Throws A Lifeline To PKR Players: Will Match Account Balances Dollar-For-Dollar

July 6, 2017
PokerStars Throws A Lifeline To PKR Players: Will Match Account Balances Dollar-For-Dollar

PokerStars is stepping up again to help embattled online poker players victimized by an insolvent operator. This time it’s some 60,000 poker players who trusted PKR Poker to protect their money, only to watch the site close its doors in May.

In 2011 PokerStars bailed out Full Tilt Poker by taking on the company’s obligations and refunding hundreds of millions of dollars owed.  Part of that money is now being used to reimburse Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet players.

“The recent insolvency of online poker room PKR left tens of thousands of players short-changed, and left waiting alongside all of PKR’s other creditors,” Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars Eric Hollreisser wrote on the PokerStars Corporate Blog. “We’ve decided that we’re going to make those players whole and have signed an agreement with the court-appointed Administrator to do so.”

Hollreiser went on to say, “Beginning today, we’re making players’ PKR balances available dollar-for-dollar in PokerStars accounts, with no strings attached.”

For real, there are no strings attached

There really are no strings attached. Once players follow the steps detailed by PokerStars, “There will be no further obligation or play-through required,” according to the PokerStars blog.

Hollresiser did note, “Transactions will, of course, be subject to the usual agreed terms regulating Stars Account (for instance, we are having ongoing conversations with some regulators about payment of funds).”

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Why is PokerStars doing this?

“We expect that some players will choose to use that bankroll to play with us and we will gain some new customers, which is certainly a good business decision on our part,” Hollreiser said. “However, the motivation behind this move is simple: to do what’s right.”

Hollreiser later added:

“We’re not doing this to improve our bottom line and we are not acquiring or planning to revive the PKR software platform. We’re doing this because we think it’s the right thing to do for the poker world and to encourage others to join us in putting you, the player, first by segregating and protecting player balances from operating funds.

“PokerStars is proud that we’re in a position where we’re able to step in and help these players and encourage all companies in the industry to put players first.

How to claim your PKR balance at PokerStars

PokerStars will contact the 60,000 players affected by PKR’s closure with email instructions on how to claim their PKR balances.

“We already have a relationship with the majority of PKR’s players, because they also already have a PokerStars account,” Hollreiser said. “Those players who don’t already have an account with us, will simply need to open a new account and their funds will be available to them for withdrawal.”

For PKR players who don’t have a PokerStars account, the process is almost as easy.

“For the majority of PKR players that have an existing PokerStars account, it should take just a few clicks from receiving our email to seeing their PKR funds appear in their PokerStars account,” according to Hollreiser. “There will be some further steps for the minority that need to open a new PokerStars account, but our aim and intention is to make funds available for withdrawal as quickly as possible.”

A good case for regulation

“This is what happens when players aren’t protected as they should be,” Hollreiser said. “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.”

No, it isn’t. And it’s something the poker community has had to deal far too many times.

However, we’ve also seen how real regulations can prevent players from being victimized. When Ultimate Gaming closed its doors in New Jersey in September 2014 players were made whole in days. When Ultimate folded in Nevada a couple months later, all balances were returned to the penny.

Ultimate was able to return player balances because of regulations in place that force licensed operators to segregate player funds and submit to external audits.

As Hollresier put it:

“For online poker operators, nothing is more important than protecting players’ bankrolls. PokerStars keeps player money and operating funds separate and protected – we always have. Players’ bankrolls are *their* money and we aim to make sure it’s always available to them. As we learned in April 2011 and again last month, not all operators do.”


“If you choose not to hold your balance with us, then please ensure that you choose a company that is responsible enough to offer the highest level of fund protection. Doing your own research can take minutes, but losing your entire bankroll – with little recourse to claim a cent back – can happen in the blink of an eye.”

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