With the poker economy being stagnant in recent years, PokerStars made changes to their VIP program in 2015 and ’16. Now, for the third year in a row, they’ll make other changes to keep pace with the industry.
The announcement comes through the corporate blog of Séverin Rasset, the site’s Director of Poker Innovation and Operations.
Rasset writes that the changes will begin in May, with PokerStars.dk (Denmark) being the first experiment. Although he doesn’t give many details, Rasset claims that the moves will provide players a “rich, exciting, and personalized experience.” He also explains that rewards will be given out on more of a daily basis, rather than monthly like in the past.
If the current changes are anything like the last rounds, this will mean less rakeback and rewards for high-volume grinders, and more for recreational players. Some estimate that the latest change could drop rakeback for high-volume players by over 80%.
However, Rasset is quick to point out that the alterations are necessary in order for PokerStars to stay competitive in these times.
“The changes being implemented by PokerStars means that its reward will more closely resemble the programs being offered by its competitors in which volume is just one factor used to determine what bonuses a player receives,” he writes. “Other actions that will also help accrue rewards for its customers include stakes and games played, as well as how much they deposit.”
Rasset also states that the revamped program will use StarsCoin as a singular reward currency. Furthermore, they want poker, casino, and sports bettors to feel that their play is valued across all verticals.
“Our new loyalty program will reward play across poker, casino, and sports, without forcing anyone to play any particular product,” Rasset explains. “Players should feel that no matter what they play, we appreciate their loyalty. Our current reward, StarsCoin, will become the common currency for poker, sport and casino, maintaining its current value.”
With online poker gradually decreasing across the board, PokerStars’ parent company, Amaya, is transitioning their brand to an all-around gaming destination. That said, high-volume poker players who earn profits through rakeback and multi-tabling are becoming less of a priority.
It appears that the newest round of changes are aimed at PokerStars’ core customer – recreational poker players who are also willing to bet on sports and/or play casino games.