A number of top-ranked high stakes MTT regulars plan on sitting out Sunday's $5K event on PokerStars.

Earlier this week, PokerStars announced changes to the way in which MTT grinders will be awarded Stars Rewards and now some of the high stakes regulars are taking a stand.

Lead by the #4-ranked player in the world, ‘girafganger‘, over 250 players have agreed to boycott Sunday’s $5,200 Turbo Series event, including a number of highly ranked players.

“The nonstop rake increases and unbeatable formats they have been pushing on all of us, with the latest one pushing me over the edge, made me reach out to some of the high stakes regs to try and convince them to skip the $5K PokerStars Turbo Series event as a protest,” ‘girafganger’ said in a statement. “The positive feedback was overwhelming and it didn’t take long for a group to naturally form.”

The Stars Rewards changes announced this week mean that players who previously earned 100 reward points for $1/€1 in rake paid, will now earn 45 reward points for every $1/€1 in fees. The group is hoping the boycott will improve communication with PokerStars management and lead to some changes in the current MTT offering on the site.

“Pokerstars has a had a huge positive impact on so many of our lives, some professionals would likely have very different lives had it not been for them – myself included,” ‘girafganger’ said. “The opportunity they provide to be able to make a living from a computer, playing a game, from almost anywhere in the world is amazing. However, with recent changes, this poker dream is turning more and more into an impossible dream.”

In a statement provided to PocketFives, the group has a list of six items that they are hoping to accomplish as a result of this boycott:

  1. Direct and open communication with the company.
  2. Rake clearly visible, not hidden.
  3. Rake max 10%, this applies to low stakes and the .eu pool so no more $9.8+$1.2; $11 MTTs.
  4. Reassessment of the rake, across all stakes and in formats where the edges are naturally lower, such as PSKO, Rebuys, Turbo, Hypers and combinations of these.
  5. Reduction on the length of Late Registration and number of re-entries.
  6. Debate on future rake increases.

The group of players sitting out Sunday’s event includes the current #1 and #2-ranked players in the world, ‘lena900’ and ‘C Darwin2‘. Other high profile players who have vouched their support include Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky, Chris Hunichen, ‘€urop€an‘, ‘bencb789‘, Steve O’Dwyer, Calvin Anderson, Laszlo ‘omaha4rollz’ Bujtas, and Steven ‘SvZff’ van Zadelhoff.

“The time to make a stand was probably a long time ago and while similar actions have been previously taken by cash game and Sit n Go players, we, the MTT community, believe to have a bit more leverage because we can make or break the guarantees and divert action from one site to a competitor, if need be, more effectively,” the statement said. “We will stand together and make a change for the better.”

Last Sunday’s $5,200 Turbo Series event drew 194 players. PokerStars competitors have also taken notice of the planned protest and have announced changes to their Sunday schedule in response. partypoker added a $5,200 event with a $1 million guarantee that will run at the same time as the PokerStars event. 888poker announced late this week the return of “RakeLESS” events on Sunday.