Protests Arise From PokerStars Recent ChangesMonday, January 2nd, 2012 by Ryan
Interestingly, the news that recently came out about the massive online poker site PokerStars, apparently didn’t go over very well with their huge pool of poker players. The changes that were recently made included modifications to their VIP program, and the way that they did their rake structure as well. Just like anything in the world that is used daily that gets changed, they figured there would be some sort of debate about whether it is good or bad, and also having some players like it while others dislike it. Unfortunately though, it went completely downward it seems, as players went all over the internet to talk about their complaints about the changes, and many said that PokerStars was a “money grab”.
Basically what the changes included is the way that the site calculates the VIP Player Points, which changes their normal “dealt” method, to the “weighted contributed” method, and also changing the calculation that was used for rake calculations. What really hit the players though is the VIP Player Points calculations.
The VPP method that is being used makes it so that players who are tighter and don’t play as many hands, won’t receive as many VPP points. The reason for this is that the new method gives points only to players who are involved in the pot. The old way gave points to every player who was dealt cards in a game, so players received points for every hand. Essentially, the players who like to play tight and aggressive are going to lose quite a few of their VPP points, but the players who like to play a ton of hands and see more flops will get many, many more points.
So the question that comes into play, is why is everyone so upset about the changes to that system above? The main reason for it is because the team that it affects the most is the players who play the most, and the ones who are also considered to be the “regulars”. The players who make a living from the game can make a good amount of their profits from the cash rewards that they can earn from the loyalty program on PokerStars, but they will lose quite a bit of that because they are typically the tighter players. In the end, it will benefit the more recreational players, or the players who play much looser.
PokerStars never denied that this was in an effort to help the poker site, as one player said that for very high stakes players this could lose them close to $40k in VPP cash rewards. PokerStars did attempt to reduce the rake in order to make up for the lost rewards, but the main idea behind the changes is to attract the recreational players, because it will keep them constantly putting money onto the site. Stars seems to be focused on making sure that these recreational players are enjoying themselves, and it also looks like a good amount of their marketing will be focused towards recreational players as well.
The situation got to the point that some players were so upset, that they created a mass sit out, where players would go to any of the open tables at noon on New Years Day, and just sit out and not compete in the action at all. This apparently had an affect though, as PokerStars now said that they will work towards finding a way to fix the situation. Interestingly, they only thing that they have done to this point is decided to hold off on the changes to the structure of the rake program, but they are still going forward with the “weighted contributed” VPP method, which is definitely the biggest issue at hand currently.
The sit-out was caught on to by PokerStars though, as they ended up catching onto players and forcing players who were a part of the sit-out to only be allowed to play one table at a time. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the back and forth between the players and the poker site is in the coming months.