PokerStars is not going to make the same mistake that it did last year when it announced a number of changes to its rewards program but did not give its players sufficient notice causing a major uproar which included a couple of organized strikes. This time around the online poker giant is making sure to provide advance intimation to its player base informing them of the proposed changes that are scheduled to take place at the start of 2017.
Vice President of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser had first hinted in September that a change in the VIP program was likely in 2017 when a new, combined rewards program for casino, poker and sportsbooks was set to replace the existing program.
The company sent an email to its player base earlier this week outlining the changes to its reward program. Although the email did not delve into too many details, it did highlight the major modifications that the players can expect with VIP Club rewards, particularly with regards to the Supernova status.
Players having a Supernova status in 2016 saw a 28 to 30 percent rakeback rate. In 2017, the rate would change to 28 percent according to the email. More importantly, the tier would become monthly instead of annual. This means that players would have to earn the title each month instead of retaining it for a year. The Supernova status will now need 10,000 VPPs every month while earlier it was 100,000 VPPs in a year.
This shift is expected to make it more difficult for players to reach the Supernova status and also inhibit the oft-used tactic of piling on the points at the beginning of the year to reach the Supernova status and then cutting back. PokerStars has assured players who attained the status in 2016 that they will be able to retain their status till the new program launches.
In a statement PokerStars said,
Players who achieve Supernova status in 2016 will retain Supernova status until the launch of the new rewards program in 2017. When the new program launches, existing VIP statuses will be replaced by the program’s new reward mechanisms.
Another major change is that StarsCoin balances will expire for those players who remain inactive for a period of 6 months across different offerings. The range of changes introduced reinforces the shift towards recreational players and encourages regular play. High stakes players at popular Two Plus Two poker forum have been largely disappointed with the changes and have charged that the new rules makes online poker more expensive for them.