“Poker newbies” in particular were always recommended to gain their first practical experience in play money mode before switching to real money mode. At least at PokerStars, this option no longer exists. The reason for the deactivation of the play money modes is probably the regulatory framework in Germany.
Why is the play money mode deactivated at PokerStars?
First of all, it should be noted that only players from Germany can no longer access the virtual online poker room in play money mode. Poker players from other countries still have the option of using the play money mode. This rule applies to both poker tournaments and cash games that are run in play money mode. The PokerStars website states:
We constantly monitor how the regulatory framework is developing in the markets in which we operate. Based on this, the decision was made to suspend the play money offer for the German market ”.
The surprising decision by PokerStars seems to have something to do with the new German State Treaty on Gambling (GlüStV). At the current time, PokerStars cannot make a forecast as to whether this regulation will remain in place permanently or will only be valid temporarily.
PokerStars seems to be interested in complying with the strict player protection regulations. The virtual online poker room has already implemented most of the requirements of the transitional regulation. This includes, among other things, a strict table cap and the implementation of the “panic button”, which can end the game with one click. It will be interesting to see whether PokerStars will also receive a German gaming license in the coming months – or whether those responsible will not decide to withdraw from the German market after all.
However, a few months ago we reported that PokerStars was facing a million-dollar fine. This concerns an amount in dispute amounting to approximately 870 million US dollars. According to current information, PokerStars owner, Flutter Entertainment, plans to appeal the lawsuit.
Real money play is still possible
The statement from PokerStars states that the “change will have no effect on the range of real money games”. This means that German poker fans will continue to use real money mode, at least for the time being. The virtual chips in play money mode are also retained on the player accounts. What happens to the chips in the further course remains to be seen. In general, it says: “Our management is currently reviewing the situation”.
PokerStars is a popular Isle of Man-based online poker room that was founded in September 2001. The virtual poker platform now offers ten poker variants in 29 languages. PokerStars was founded by Mark Scheinberg and his father Isai Scheinberg. PokerStars’ new owner is the listed gaming company Flutter Entertainment, which most recently had sales of £ 2.1 billion.
PokerStars has been the world’s largest online poker room for a long time. For a few weeks, at least the poker fans from Germany have no longer been able to use the play money mode. PokerStars cites the “regulatory framework” as a reason. It is questionable whether the play money mode will remain permanently deactivated or whether it will soon be possible to take part in poker tournaments again in “fun mode”. So far, there are no effects on the real money mode. PokerStars is striving to comply with player protection regulations in order to perhaps soon obtain a coveted German gaming license.