VIP program changes in 2016

    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 3,853
      Pokerstars rep Matthew has released an official statement on 2+2 about the upcoming VIP program changes, which is quoted below for convenience. (The below link to Pokerstars' blog is not viewable by Russians whose ISPs block access to their main non-mirror site. Instead, anyone who can't follow that link need to follow this one.)

      Originally posted by Pokerstars Matthew
      PokerStars is announcing 2016 VIP Club changes as well as new policy towards third-party software. You can read more on our corporate blog here. http://psta.rs/1Pef1rZ

      VIP Steps will be implemented in all licenses on January 1st. VIP Steps is more intuitive and visible for players that is easier to understand and should engage more players than the current system. Along with this change, players will earn StarsCoin rather than FPPs.

      Most players between BronzeStar and GoldStar statuses will be able to earn a similar level of rewards with VIP Steps as they currently do. In some cases, players will receive less; in some cases, players will receive more.

      However, for those who are high-volume players, there are significant changes that will be implemented on January 1st, 2016. Rewards for players who earn >200,000 VPPs will be capped at 30%. Players who earn SNE in 2015 will receive a specific level of rewards of 45% rakeback in 2016. By January 1, 2017, Supernova Elite VIP status will be discontinued.

      It’s not a decision that we considered lightly; it’s being made after months of analysis and investigation to find the best possible model for the long-term viability of our poker ecosystem. Over time, the VIP Club rewards have become so enticing that we have inadvertently altered why some people play and how they play.

      The significance of this change is not lost on us. The dedication and passion demonstrated by our highest status VIPs has been astounding. 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.

      We are also announcing plans to roll out new policies that will reinforce the fundamental elements of human competition by limiting certain software programs that may provide an unfair advantage to some 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.

      For the majority of our player base, we believe these changes will have an overall positive impact by making the VIP Club more visible to players and easier to understand, by engaging them in a single session rather than on a monthly/yearly basis, by limiting the advantages some players gain by use of certain software, and by improving the long-term viability of our poker ecosystem.

      The VIP Club changes are as follows:
      • All rewards will be given in a new currency, StarsCoin, each of which will have a fixed value of $0.01
      o All FPPs will be converted to StarsCoin on January 1 at a rate of 1.2 StarsCoin for every FPP.
      o Players may use their FPPs as they currently do to purchase cash bonuses, tournament tickets and merchandise at current FPP prices until midnight ET, December 31.
      o All prices in the VIP Store, including tournament tickets and cash rewards, will be updated on January 1 to reflect the StarsCoin value of $0.01.
      o Tournament buy-ins will be updated to StarsCoin values.

      • All current rewards – FPPs, Stellar Rebates, and Milestone Rebates – will be consolidated into a single form of reward called StarsCoin earned via VIP Steps
      o Complete details for VIP Steps and how many StarsCoin will be rewarded for each Step will be posted on our website soon.
      o Players who earn Stellar Rebates and Milestone Rebates in 2015 will still be able to purchase them in the VIP Store in 2016.
      o On average we are aiming for the following percentage of rewards as compared to the current reward system:

      2016 Average Rewards by Status
      BronzeStar - No change
      ChromeStar - Up to 10% increase
      SilverStar - No change
      GoldStar - No change
      PlatinumStar - Up to 10% decrease
      Supernova - 0%-27% decrease
      200k+ - 44%-60% decrease (30% rakeback cap)

      • VPPs will not be earned in high-stakes cash games. High-stakes cash games include pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5-$10 or higher, 8-game $10-$20 or higher, and other limit games with blinds of $10-$15 or higher (limit hold’em of stakes $15-$30 and higher).

      • VPP multipliers for all shared liquidity licenses will be as follows:
      o 5.5 VPPs for each $1.00 USD or CAD in fee paid, 6.5 VPPs for each €1.00 EUR in fee paid, or 8.25 VPPs for each £1.00 GBP in fee paid for all tables, no matter how many are seated at the table.
      o Microstakes games are as follows:
      VPPs awarded per $1.00 USD in rake collected VPPs awarded per €1.00 EUR in rake collected

      $0.01/$0.02 - 10 €0.01/€0.02 - 12
      $0.02/$0.05 - 8.5 €0.02/€0.05 - 10
      $0.05/$0.10 - 7 €0.05/€0.10 - 9

      o These changes result in an increase in VPP multipliers for UK, DK, BG, and SH.
      o This change results in a decrease in the VPP multiplier for tables where 8 or more are seated.

      • VIP Store
      o Cash Rewards will be offered as follows, and there will be no restrictions by VIP status:
      - $25 – 2,500 StarsCoin
      - $100 – 10,000 StarsCoin
      - $1,000 – 100,000 StarsCoin

      o Some examples of MTT, Spin & Go and Sit & Go tickets:
      - $0.10 Sit & Go tickets – 10 StarsCoin
      - $0.25 Spin & Go and Sit & Go tickets – 25 StarsCoin
      - $3.30 MTT ticket – 330 StarsCoin
      - $215 MTT ticket – 21,500 StarsCoin

      • VIP Freerolls
      o The Supernova Quarterly Million freeroll will be discontinued
      o The last Saturday of every month will feature:
      - $5,000 25 StarsCoin buy-in tourney for BronzeStar+
      - $20,000 freeroll for ChromeStar+
      - $30,000 freeroll for SilverStar+
      - $100,000 freeroll for GoldStar+
      o Other Saturdays on a weekly basis:
      - $2,500 25 StarsCoin buy-in tourney for BronzeStar+
      - $10,000 freeroll for ChromeStar+

      • Supernova Elite VIP Status will be discontinued on January 1, 2017
      o The benefits cap for players who earn Supernova Elite in 2015 will be 45% in 2016.

      • There will no longer be monthly maintenance requirements for Supernova and Supernova Elite statuses

      • Hall of Fame Rewards
      o 5M and 10M VPP prizes will be rewarded through December 31, 2016.
      o 5M rewards offers two options: Tag Heuer watch or $2,500 Apple gift certificate

      • Concierge service for Supernova and Supernova Elite status to be discontinued

      Best regards,

      Matthew
      Head of VIP Club and Poker Promotions
      According to Matthew, the changes for France, Italy and Spain are to be announced soon.

      Let me also quote the blog entry:
      Originally posted by Eric Hollreiser
      Comprehensive Plan for Enhanced PokerStars Experience

      by Eric Hollreiser on November 1, 2015 8:30 AM

      PokerStars today unveiled a comprehensive plan to enhance the playing experience and to re-emphasize the fun and social aspects of online poker while attracting and retaining more players to the game. Poker is a fun game that we love and our responsibility is to make sure that every player at PokerStars -- advanced, recreational or new - can enjoy this game as much as we do.

      We believe that the combination of a new VIP club program, the release of innovative new games and broad-based consumer marketing campaigns - including new campaigns featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr - will put the poker ecosystem on the right tracks to deliver growth for the years to come.

      Investments in research and development will bring new innovations to the game beginning in the first half of 2016 and continuing throughout the year to increase play from existing customers and attract new players.

      PokerStars also plans to roll out new policies that will reinforce the fundamental elements of human competition by limiting certain software programs that may provide an unfair advantage to some players.

      For more than 95% 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. 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. 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.

      A Summary of 2016 Changes

      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%, impacting mainly high-volume Supernova and SupernovaElite status players.
      • PlatinumStar status will have up to a 10% 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% 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.

      We will soon have a dedicated web site for details and will post that as soon as ready.

      Third-Party Software Restrictions

      Technology liberated poker from the constraints of bricks and mortar and allowed poker fans to discover the game at their own pace in their own home on the internet. While the tactics of the game may have evolved, poker has stayed true to its core - it's fundamentally about human competition, which is something that needs to be protected. 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. PokerStars wants to offer fun, fair and competitive games of poker globally. These changes aim to help us achieve that goal.

      Product Innovation & Marketing Investments

      We are also continuing to invest heavily in marketing that reaches new audiences and re-ignites the interest of lapsed players. Earlier this year we announced the signing of two of the most popular athletes in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. They've already been involved in some of our most successful promotions ever. Soon, they will be part of the biggest global consumer marketing campaign in PokerStars history.

      Our investment includes the most significant research and development initiatives in years, some of which will come to market in early 2016, including a standalone PokerStars branded app that we believe will bring a brand new twist to poker. Later in the year we're planning an even more bold take on poker that we believe will be very exciting.

      The changes to the PokerStars VIP Club will come into effect from January 1, 2016, and new policies on third-party software will come into effect throughout 2016.

      We are confident that these changes will improve the playing experience for all PokerStars players and will drive increased play and more players to the ecosystem.

      Eric Hollreiser is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.
  • 26 replies
    • DonkeyDirk
      DonkeyDirk
      Silver
      Joined: 15.06.2010 Posts: 522
      I like these changes tbh. In a few years Stars might be a pokersite i would like to play on again.
    • alonohara
      alonohara
      Silver
      Joined: 06.03.2011 Posts: 3,741

      R.I.P.
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 3,853
      Originally posted by DonkeyDirk
      I like these changes tbh. In a few years Stars might be a pokersite i would like to play on again.
      That's true, but personally, I'd like my poker career to end successfully in less than two years :f_tongue:
    • Gavron23
      Gavron23
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.05.2010 Posts: 2,863
      Let me translate: "When poker legislation was introduced we had an excuse to limit the rakeback. In the past year or so, we have come to understand that being
      almost a monopoly on this market we no longer need excuses. So we will cut the rewards as much as we like, throwing in ridic promotions like win one mil for a buy in of 50 cents, making poker as much a gambool as roulette is. Fuck skill, fuck the pro players lets all play for jackpots"
    • metalmonkey80
      metalmonkey80
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 15.08.2013 Posts: 1,411
      :f_cry:
    • Mandator
      Mandator
      Gold
      Joined: 02.02.2008 Posts: 364
      Thanks Pokerstars for killing poker.... and awarding random fish with 1M prizes
    • rompas
      rompas
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.02.2014 Posts: 2,390
      Thank you Tony for shareing, i didnt look thru it yet so will not comment about the changes .
    • mute20
      mute20
      Bronze
      Joined: 13.01.2011 Posts: 563
      Will be interesting to see how much money will leave the site at the end of the year. Hopefully enough will leave so it will make it obvious this was a bad idea. Funny how a lot of their pro roster will be hurt the most by this also.
    • 8runo
      8runo
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.05.2015 Posts: 652
      The whole poker economy is predatory and "technological warfare" - poker skills are all but irrelevent - IMO these changes are long overdue. Of course it wont be popular with those who currently work the system - but mass grinding "human bots" are not good for the rec or the future of poker online. I welcome what Pokerstars are trying to do.
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 3,853
      Originally posted by mute20
      Funny how a lot of their pro roster will be hurt the most by this also.
      I expect them to get rid of the roster eventually, except sports stars and maybe a few legendary pros of the Negreanu caliber and a few most interesting Twitchers.
    • szerzawiak
      szerzawiak
      Global
      Joined: 13.10.2014 Posts: 392
      :f_cry:
    • dizelup
      dizelup
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.11.2013 Posts: 16
      Originally posted by mute20
      Will be interesting to see how much money will leave the site at the end of the year. Hopefully enough will leave so it will make it obvious this was a bad idea. Funny how a lot of their pro roster will be hurt the most by this also.
      That's what I'm hoping for, too. I'll be the first to consider my options as soon as tomorrow. First thought that comes to mind is either to leave for a site that offers decent rakeback or switch to MTTs. Will think bout it first thing tommorow and talk to some friends, but I really hope another site takes advantage of this and pokerstars get a massive decline in players.
    • Janosikgdy
      Janosikgdy
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.05.2007 Posts: 4,472
      There is aleardy a pokeroom wchich introduce the same vip program us current p* (current till end of 2015).
      I cant write name because this is agaist tos of this site.
    • Agiz19
      Agiz19
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.03.2007 Posts: 1,097
      grinders gon cry, just leave stars now don't wait until end of the year its pointless.....no one needs robot button clickers that leech for points and stars have finally realized that....salute, but in reality all of you who are the loudest of leaving you will remain there , and if you are playing for rake then go find yourself a rakeback deal for some dead poker room and leech there those dollars....:f_drink:
    • JCSeerup
      JCSeerup
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.12.2010 Posts: 1,039
      I'm not against removing software, but I don't think anyone is naive enough to believe that there will not be black market software available shortly after the changes has been enforced giving the users a way more unfair advantage compared to now where people are using software available for everyone.

      I think Ansky give some really good points about the rakeback changes in the podcast he just made with Joeingram1, and people should really listen to it imo.
    • eslchr1s
      eslchr1s
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.12.2009 Posts: 5,162
      link the podcast then
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 3,853
      Originally posted by Janosikgdy
      There is aleardy a pokeroom wchich introduce the same vip program us current p* (current till end of 2015).
      I cant write name because this is agaist tos of this site.
      Fwiw, on its dedicated 2+2 subforum, there's a lot of outrage from recreationals and few-tabling winners about the sheer amount of grinders produced by that VIP program and races. I can't say for sure if it's good or bad for the games - they're more boring but recs lose slower (their opponents are less skillful / thoughtful on average) and guarantees of some flagship MTTs can be set higher than the network size would otherwise allow - but it of course leads to a player experience that's different from what Amaya, 888 and bwin.party are trying to achieve.

      From a regular's viewpoint, sites with generous rake returns (iPoker, Microgaming) are suitable for those who like to use a 'nearly game theory optimal' strategy in a tough field but with small net rake, whereas sites with poor rake rebates are suitable for those who like to play exploitively in a soft field.
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
      Silver
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 3,853
      Originally posted by eslchr1s
      link the podcast then
      (Warning: it contains foul language.)
    • alonohara
      alonohara
      Silver
      Joined: 06.03.2011 Posts: 3,741
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