Big Changes at PokerStars for High-Stakes and High-Volume Players

PokerStars has been continually making changes with their online poker offerings for what seems like months now. After taking strides to do away with tracking software, and becoming more recreationally friendly, the site has now announced changes to the rewards schemes for members they are calling high-volume and high stakes players.

On the PokerStars corporate blog yesterday, it was posted that the rewards for such players will be reduced. A major change to the site will be that VIP Club rewards will be capped at 30%. This would impact players who are Supernova and Supernova Elite players. Any player who received Supernova Elite status this year will be capped at 45%.

PokerStars announced that players who have earned PlatinumStar status will see a reduction of 10% based on their overall reward earnings. PokerStars will also be cutting VPPs from the Pot Limit and No Limit games with the blinds of $5 to $10+. Eight Game at $10-$20 and over plus additional Limit Games with $10-$15 and higher blinds will also have VPPs cut. PokerStars stated that these changes were made due to the cost of transaction and operation cost of monitoring the games.

FPPs will now be called StarsCoin and will have a constant rate of one cent per StarsCoin earned. In the past, the FPP currency was a variable based on the player. PokerStars also plans on rolling out a VIP Steps program. Players who are on the BronzeStar, ChromeStar, SilverStar or GoldStar level, should not see many changes.

The blog stated that players who have a BronzeStar or GoldStar status will not see much change, as similar rewards will exist. However, there will be some players who receive less and some who receive more, but feel the program is streamlined for the most part.

It was not very long ago that PokerStars made big changes, announcing the move to move to a more recreational style site. Third-party software was shut down so the average player would feel more comfortable and not taken advantage of by professionals using the tracking software to access statistics to make their moves.

After making changes to their own gaming software, PokerStars is also working to take on third-party aids. HUDS are not allowed to take in data from the site and the player registration process has also seen changes to help with the overall level of game play.

Daniel Negreanu, the face of PokerStars, was online on Sunday during the announcement on the blog, taking to Twitter to voice his opinion. Negreanu stated that the changes will cater to around 98% of members rather than 2% which is beneficial to the mass majority, basically reiterating the move to recreational gaming. The pro also spoke out on the VIP program changes, stating that he would have made the same changes years ago.

The average player will most likely not have an opinion over the changes while the professionals may be a bit upset. It makes sense to cater to the vast majority, but in the past, professionals as well as affiliates who bring in the traffic are the ones who were catered to.

The online poker industry is taking on a new era, changing from a professional option to one that the average Joe can take part in. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks if even more changes are made at PokerStars as well as other online poker rooms. Will other sites take note of PokerStars changes and do the same? Only time will tell if the change to recreational gaming will pay off for the online poker room.