PokerStars to Make More Changes to VIP Club in 2017

PokerStars VIP ClubPokerStars is to make further changes to its VIP Club next year in order to “bring a more compelling experience” and reward play across multiple verticals.

At the end of 2015, PokerStars made some unpopular changes to its VIP Club. The site scrapped Stellar Rewards, capped the rewards level for Supernova and Supernova Elite players, and introduced VIP Steps. Not only was PokerStars criticised by the online community for penalising its highest earners, but also for the late notice it had given about the changes.

Acknowledging that the site could have prepared players a little better for the massive drop in income they were about to experience, PokerStars has just announced that more changes to how the VIP Club works are in the pipeline for 2017. Early feedback would indicate the changes are equally as unpopular as last year, but at least this year players have had some notice.

What´s PokerStars Changing for 2017?

The news of the PokerStars VIP Club changes was announced in a statement published on the site´s corporate blog. Although not providing full details of how the new system would work, Eric Hollreiser wrote that the current monthly and annual VIP status format is going to be scrapped and replaced with a combined rewards program for poker, casino and sports betting.

When the changes are implemented, rather than everybody aiming for “x” number of VIP Points within the month, players will be set personalized targets based on their historical activity across the three verticals. Hollreiser claims the current system is too tough for some players and that personalized targets will benefit the “vast majority” who only play intermittently or casually.

Hollreiser also took the opportunity to expand on changes to the current Supernova annual VIP status. From January 1, 2017, the Supernova will become a monthly status level until the changes to the VIP Club are implemented. He also hinted that, before the changes take effect, there will also be adjustments made to the VPPs required to achieve monthly statuses and the value of the monthly rewards.

Changes Likely to Hurt Responsible Players

PokerStars seems to have problems pleasing anybody these days; so, when word got around about the changes, it was no surprise that the poker forums lit up with plenty of anti-PokerStars sentiment. As usual, many of the contributors focused on their personal loss rather than the efforts made by the company to balance the poker ecosystem. However, there is one section of players may who have a right to feel genuinely aggrieved – responsible players.

When PokerStars first introduced casino games and sports betting in 2014 it caused a bit of a stir. Victoria Coren-Mitchell resigned as a PokerStars Team Pro in protest, while other players chose to self-exclude themselves from the non-poker verticals. For many players, the latter option prevents them from blowing off their bankroll after a bad beat, or from being lured into addictive, luck-based casino games that will make them long-term losers.

In his corporate blog, Hollreiser states that “players won´t have to play any specific platform in order to progress [in the rewards program]”. However, if PokerStars is going to follow the 888Poker Players Club model (to which all intents and purposes it looks like they will), players who have self-excluded themselves from the casino and sports book will not have the same opportunities as will be available to less responsible players.

Without the full details of how any future rewards system is going to work, it is too early to tell exactly what impact the changes to PokerStars VIP Club will have. Sadly, though, it does appear that PokerStars is extending its policy of developing the site into an online bingo hall and penalising players who have put years into developing their skills, and those who bet responsibly.