Tuesday, January 26, 2016 : POKERSTARS BELATEDLY SPEAKS ON PLAYER MEETING (Update)
Communications chief Eric Hollreiser takes to the Pokerstars blog.
Amaya's communications chief, Eric Hollreiser has somewhat belatedly published his company's perspective on the meeting with aggrieved players held on January 18.
His view of the event follows the publication of Daniel Negreanu's version of the Montreal gathering and the 2+2 forum briefing posted by the players themselves
Using the Pokerstars blog, Hollreiser recaps most of the information already contained in the above disclosures ie that the players met with senior Amaya execs and were given an extensive and confidential presentation on the practical numbers and considerations leading to Amaya's controversial decisions regarding VIP and loyalty awards, and that the company's decisions stand.
"We talked about challenges and opportunities for the game of poker, in addition to the recent changes to the PokerStars VIP rewards program," Hollreiser reveals. "We provided substantial data to support that these changes were needed and expressed our regret that the changes have angered some high volume players. This was obviously not our goal, although it was anticipated given the nature and timing of the reduction in rewards. We noted that going forward the VIP benefit is a one-year program and we retain the right to change or eliminate the rewards at any time. We will ensure that this is communicated clearly and consistently.
"As stated in their public account of the meeting, these players recognize that the facts support our case that changes to the current online poker ecosystem are needed to ensure the health and vitality of the online games."
Hollreiser goes on to observe that there is no "magic bullet" that will on its own bring about the necessary changes to create a more recreation player-friendly poker ecosystem, noting that the changes to the VIP rewards program are only one part of a broad-based plan aimed at increasing the number, frequency of play and total deposits of recreational players as the lifeblood of any poker economy.
"We shared a variety of actions that we are implementing and/or considering in order achieve these goals, including product innovation, new software features and development, consumer experience improvements, enhanced game integrity policies, marketing campaigns and pricing,": he said.
Hollreiser reiterated that his company is open to continued dialogue with the player community, "even if – and especially when – they disagree with us."
But he pointed out that "the initial data [on the VIP and loyalty changes] seems to confirm that we made the right decision with the VIP Club changes as player bankrolls are lasting longer in ring games and net deposits are up."
Hollreiser concluded: "Although that may not be what some players want to hear, the recent meeting demonstrated that an ongoing dialogue can provide greater understanding."