PokerStars: Sweeping Changes to VIP Program from 2016

November 10, 2015

A few days ago, PokerStars have announced that - in the name of favoring poker skill - sweeping changes would be made to their VIP program, changes which would mostly affect high-volume players. The essence of the move is that rakeback-equivalent benefits will be capped at 30% from January 1, 2016.

What this means for players of various VIP levels is the following:

- BronzeStar level players will notice no change to their benefits whatsoever.

- ChromeStar players on the other hand, will see an increase of 10%.

- SilverStar and GoldStar won't be affected, while PlatinumStar will experience a 10% increase as well.

- SuperNova is where the cuts begin: VIPs on this level will see their benefits cut by 0-27%.

- Those earning more than 200K VPPs will be affected to the tune of a 44-60% decrease.

A new site-wide currency called StarCoins shall be introduced from January 1, with a fixed exchange rate of $0.01. All FPPs will be converted to StarCoins on January 1, at the rate of 1.2 StarCoins per FPP. Prices in the store as well as tournament buy-ins shall be updated to StarCoins. Every current reward-form: Milestone Rebates, Stellar Rebates and FPPs, will be converted to StarCoins too.

Because the site incurs extra costs in putting up high-stakes cash-games, under the new rules, no VPPs shall be earned at stakes higher than $5-$10 for PL and NL games, $10-$20 for 8-games and $15-$30 for other games.

The whole VIP system will be turned into a Steps-based one, meaning that players will not be handed their StarCoins as they play, instead, they will be paid out in chunks as they complete the required steps.

The changes are likely to result in a hit to the high-stakes cash games, where the pros will lose many of their benefits. Exactly where the high stakes cash game action will move cannot be predicted now, but it is indeed likely to move.

The goal of the changes - according to PokerStars - is to reward poker skill, by creating a more balanced long-term poker economy for players.

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