[toc]PokerStars has announced that, for the second time in as many years, its rewards program will be revamped to benefit recreational players.
This time annual rewards will be totally eliminated, meaning that the Supernova VIP status (currently the highest achievable status) will be a monthly status rather than an annual one.
This change will come into effect from January 2017 until such time as the all-new rewards program is rolled out.
Current Supernova players will be able to retain their status until the new rewards scheme is implemented. All Supernova players, or those on track to become Supernova, have been emailed about the changes ahead of the public announcement.
How high-volume online poker players are affected
As of yet, there has been no detailed announcement as to what exactly the new rewards system will entail or how PokerStars’ current high-volume players will be affected by the changes.
The only indication is that the current monthly and annual rewards program will be replaced by “a new, combined rewards program for poker, casino and sportsbook” in 2017.
“A key challenge with the current rewards system is that player progress resets each month,” Amaya Head of Communications Eric Hollreiser said. “While that’s great for those that play the most, the vast majority of our players only play intermittently and casually; resetting VIP progress each month can make it a tough rewards system for those players to engage with.
“So, at some point during 2017, we will make the switch from the current monthly status system to one that is more personalized to your recent gaming activity and player profile.”
Currently, PokerStars’ rewards are capped at a maximum of 30 percent rakeback for poker players.
What do the players think?
Reactions to the news have been mixed, though on online poker forums there were by and large negative comments despite a lack of information as to the nature of the VIP rewards changes.
In general, Amaya are perceived rather negatively by serious and semi-serious online poker players, who believe that PokerStars and its related products were better before the Canadian company bought Rational Group, PokerStars’ parent company, in a record takeover two years ago.
Negative reaction to previous changes
This is not the first time that Amaya have made drastic changes to the VIP rewards program at PokerStars, though this time the news has not been taken so badly by the online poker community.
In November 2015, PokerStars announced a revamp of its VIP system that introduced StarsCoin, removed the Supernova Elite VIP level and capped rakeback at 30 percent.
These changes were very poorly received, not just because they were perceived to be unfair on high-volume players, but also because the announcement came so late.
This had a negative effect on players who had gained or hoped to gain Supernova Elite status in 2015, as the benefits were meant to carry over into the first part of 2016.
The news resulted in several player boycotts and protests, but the changes went ahead as planned.
“We have heard the feedback from players who felt that they did not receive enough notice about the implementation of VIP changes for the start of 2016,” Hollreiser said. “Consequently, we’re working hard to avoid repeating that situation by sharing this broad vision for the rewards program in 2017, even when we have not yet decided on all the details or launch date.”