Posts Tagged ‘PokerStars VIP changes’

PokerStars Changes VIP Program for a Third Time in 2017

Friday, April 7th, 2017

pokerstars-changesWith 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 (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.

Alex Dreyfus talks VIP Changes at PokerStars

Monday, December 21st, 2015

alex-dreyfus-global-poker-leagueThe biggest topic in the online poker world remains the changes that PokerStars made to their VIP program. Many high-volume grinders are angry because the Supernova Elite level will be gone next year, and mid/high-stakes rewards won’t be given out either. Since the changes, many people surrounding the poker community have been asked to give their take on the matter. And Global Poker Index founder Alex Dreyfus is the latest interesting poker figure to join the discussion.

Appearing on ChicagoJoey’s podcast, Dreyfus said that this is a very broad topic – ranging from the actual changes to the communication between PokerStars and their players. But he did give some definite opinions on the subject.

“I do believe that it’s their right to change everything that they’ve done,” said Dreyfus. “But these rights come with a duty to be a bit more transparent than the communication that they’ve done. The price changing, the rake changing, it’s really their business if they want.”

The Frenchman continued to say that he doesn’t blame PokerStars, but rather the nature of the industry for the changes they had to make. However, he does believe that everything could have been communicated much better.

“The only thing I’m disappointed about is the way the Supernova Elite was handled because I don’t think it was fair – and it was a mistake. And they apologized, it’s not very often that you have a multi-billion dollar company apologize, so I think that has to be noticed.”

Being a poker entrepreneur rather than a player, it’s interesting to hear Dreyfus’ views on the big PokerStars VIP changes. And you can see more on what he has to say about the subject below, which begins around the 41:00 mark.

Alex ‘Kanu7’ Millar quits Team PokerStars in Protest

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

alex-millar-quits-pokerstarsWe’ve heard quite a few strong responses from online pros over PokerStars’ decision to change their VIP program. But perhaps Alex Millar has made the strongest statement yet after quitting Team PokerStars in protest over the VIP changes.

Best known by his ‘Kanu7’ handle, Millar has been a high-stakes grinder for quite some time. And he felt so strongly about the matter that he gave up his lofty sponsorship position. Here are a couple tweets from Millar on the matter:

“I’d like to apologise to the players for my complete failure to be able to help in any way with the recent pokerstars VIP changes”

“With @RealKidPoker eventually failing as well I no longer feel I can represent the company and I have now left Team Pro Online”

Prior to quitting Team PokerStars, Millar announced that he hoped to change some minds among PokerStars management. Obviously he wasn’t able to do this as the Supernova Elite level was eliminated along with mid/high-stakes rewards. So Kanu7 sacrificed his sponsorship money over the principle.

In his poker career, Millar has racked up $3,294,787 in cash-game winnings. However, he’s had a rough go of it in 2015 and has lost $136,042. Considering that he won’t be receiving VIP rewards to help with any future losses in 2016, it’s easier to see why the Brit has taken such a strong stance against Stars.

This is actually the second year in a row that a high-profile player has quit Team PokerStars. Victoria Coren-Mitchell did so in 2014, but under different circumstances. In Coren’s case, she didn’t like how parent company Amaya Gaming was pushing Stars towards casino gaming and sports betting. It had always been Coren’s principle that she didn’t want to represent non-skilled gambling, so she quit.

Baazov, Negreanu, Stern to discuss PokerStars Changes

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

david-baazov-pokerstarsPoker player Dani Stern was instrumental in leading a 3-day strike against PokerStars after they made huge changes to their VIP program. And while it doesn’t look like the strike has convinced Stars to reverse the changes – many of which hurt high-volume regulars – it will at least facilitate a meeting.

According to Stern, he will meet with Daniel Negreanu and David Baazov (CEO of PokerStars’ parent company Amaya Gaming) to discuss the site from the pros’ perspectives. Here’s a look at what Stern tweeted:

Well one good thing to come of this: According to @RealKidPoker, we will be getting a meeting with Baazov. Details unknown right now.

As you can see here, some players are less than enthusiastic about Stern’s meeting with Baazov and other PokerStars executives. After all, no meeting is likely to change what the poker site has done, including slashing mid and high-stakes rewards and eliminating the Supernova Elite VIP level. But it at least opens up some line of communication between prominent players and PokerStars.

daniel-negreanu-pokerstarsDaniel Negreanu discussed this in his blog at FullContactPoker by writing:

I was also able to ensure that players would have the opportunity to meet with the higher ups from here on out to discuss important issues in regards to the relationship between the company and the players. That has always been something PokerStars has done effectively, and it will continue to happen. I spoke with Dani Stern and Isaac Haxton as well as many other top online pros about joining me and the upper management in regularly scheduled meetings. I think this is extremely important. Communication the last 12-18 months between the players and the company has not been good enough and I think this will go a long way towards improving it.

PokerStars originally made changes to their VIP program so that they could take rewards from high-volume players and disperse them to a wider range of players. This fits in with their growing tendency to favor recreational players above all else. But it’s also nice to hear that they’ll at least give some pros a chance to be heard before they make any massive changes in the future.