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Pokerstars Changes VIP Program

Monday November 2,2015 :  FAR REACHING CHANGES ANNOUNCED AT POKERSTARS
 
PokerStars announces changes that will affect pros, high rollers but benefit recreational players.
 
Eric Hollreiser, communications chief at PokerStars and Amaya Inc., issued a statement via the company blog on Sunday regarding important changes designed to enhance the recreational playing experience and re-emphasise the fun and social aspects of online poker while attracting and retaining more players.
 
The changes include a new VIP club program and the release of innovative new games, and Hollreiser says the company is investing in research and development in order to ensure future growth through more new players and bigger spend from existing customers, commencing in the first  half of 2016.
 
New policies will reinforce the fundamental elements of human competition by limiting certain software programs that may provide an unfair advantage to some players, Hollreiser observed.
 
"For more than 95 percent of our players, the most obvious change will be the introduction of the VIP Steps program and changing our variable FPP currency into a constant value which will be called StarsCoin," Hollreiser revealed.
 
"This will simplify the reward system and enhance its visibility during play, so that players can follow their progress in real time. VIP status players from BronzeStar to GoldStar will continue to be able to receive up to a similar level of rewards to what they receive now. In some cases, players will receive less; in some cases, players will receive more, but it's very much in the same ballpark.
 
"PokerStars will also revamp the loyalty program to effectively incentivize and reward more players and to encourage competitive play over high volume play. The changes will result in improved rewards for the vast majority of players,” he continued.
 
"Approximately two percent of players - including our highest volume and high stakes players - will have significantly reduced rewards. The reason we are focused on the highest status levels is because these rewards have become so enticing that we have inadvertently altered why some people play and how they play.
 
“We are introducing these changes to move towards a more balanced long-term poker economy and to return the game back to one that rewards skill via winning at the tables rather than playing primarily for volume."
 
Hollreiser summarises the changes as follows:
 
Introduction of VIP Steps
 
• Simplified rewards mechanism replaces FPPs, Stellar Rebates, and Milestone Rewards with StarsCoin.
• StarsCoin value will be one cent each for all statuses.
 
Reducing Rewards for High-Volume and High-Stakes Players
 
• VIP Club rewards will be capped at 30 percent, impacting mainly high-volume Supernova and SupernovaElite status players.
• PlatinumStar status will have up to a 10 percent reduction in their overall rewards.
• In recognition of the players who have already-earned SupernovaElite status or will by the end of the year, the benefits cap for players who earn Supernova Elite in 2015 will be 45 percent in 2016.
• No VPPs for pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5-$10+, 8-game $10-$20+, and other limit games with blinds of $10-$15+. This change is implemented due to high transaction costs and operation costs of monitoring these games.
 
The communications chief revealed that PokerStars will soon have a dedicated web site with full details.
 
Third-party software restrictions will be aimed at protecting a fundamental principle of poker - that it is about human competition, Hollreiser observed, noting:
 
"The game should be about combining logic and an ability to steel your nerves to make that big call or bluff; it shouldn't be about clicking a button because harvested stats tell you to. For this reason, we are on a path to eliminate many of these technological advantages that are used by a minority of players.
 
"People have differing views on where the line around third-party software in poker should be drawn; it's certainly something that we constantly debate and review. Technology can aid, but it shouldn't take over.
 
"Today, we want to make clear that the line will be drawn to preserve poker as a battle of wits and a test of heart. This will only have a direct effect on a small proportion of players and builds upon our responsibility to provide a level playing field for all players.
 
"The new restrictions on third-party software will extend recent changes to our third-party software policy. Last month, we reduced data mining in Zoom!, restricted the use of heads-up displays, and limited the use of Spin & Go seating scripts.
 
"Our intention is to expand these restrictions through major changes within our own software that we will communicate in more detail through 2016," he pledged.
 
Hollreiser's communication also deals with product innovation and marketing investments, where he revealed that the company is investing in acquiring new players and revitalising existing or lapsed members.
 
The company already uses high-profile sportsmen like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. in its promotions, and Hollreiser revealed that they will part of "the biggest global consumer marketing campaign in PokerStars history" in the near future.
 
"Our investment includes the most significant research and development initiatives in years, some of which will come to market in early 2016,” Hollreiser notes.
 
“These will include a standalone PokerStars branded app that the company believes will bring a brand new twist to poker. This will be followed later in 2016 by an even more bold take on poker that we believe will be very exciting."

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Gambling News :

GVC In Content Deal With Microgaming’s Quickfire - Microgaming-powered Prima Networks Limited will supply over 50 new titles to GVC’s recently acquired bwin Casino, PartyCasino and Party Poker gaming sites within the coming weeks.

Opap in memorandum of understanding With Inspired - Virtual sports provider Inspired has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Greek betting and lottery operator OPAP for the supply of its full suite of virtual sports, for integration online and across OPAP's retail network.

DeltaCorp To Acquire ace2three - Our readers will recall Delta Corp. acquired a 26 percent stake in Gaussian Networks, parent company of India’s largest online poker operator Adda52 earlier this month

More Australian POC Taxes - In an interview with The Australian, Tabcorp chief executive offer David Attenborough warned “global rivals” of his belief that other Australian states are moving fast to follow South Australia’s lead in implementing a point of consumption tax.

William Hill Exits Russia - "Starting from September 23 William Hill Casino Club will terminate its activities in the Russian territory for legislatory reasons. All active customer accounts will be suspended," the advisory reportedly detailed.

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Hearing Postponed till October - HR 2150, which includes DFS and e-gaming elements, was passed as part of the critical state budget bill by the House in June this year, with lawmakers expecting the bill to contribute $100 million annually in licensing and fees to help balance the state budget.

Two Mega Fortune Dreams Jackpots Hit - Both Swedish players, the first lucky punter hit a GBP 100,000 jackpot playing on his mobile phone, while the second, identified as Martin, staked just 18p before netting a GBP 60,000 jackpot on the popular series thinking he was playing in demo-mode.

ASA Looking at Ladbrokes and Netbet ads - A TV ad for Cosmo Gaming’s NetBet online casino was determined by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as glamorising online gambling following a single complaint.

Betconstruct In Deal With Realistic Games - BetConstruct has agreed a deal in which it will integrate a range of Realistic Games online table and slot content including blackjack, roulette and slot titles Super Graphics Upside Down, The Fruit Factory and Fireworks.

XLMedia Half 1 2016 Earnings Report - Online gambling marketing company XLMedia, which operates websites driving players to online casino operators, delivered robust interim results for the first half of 2016, attributing its success to investment in technology.

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