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PokerStars Announces VIP Program Changes

HUDs To Also Be Restricted From World's Largest Poker Site

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PokerStars, an offshoot of Amaya Gaming, announced major changes to its poker product on Sunday, according to a press release posted to the company’s website.

The company will be changing its VIP loyalty program in order to “incentivize and reward more players and to encourage competitive play over high volume play.”

The VIP Club rewards will be capped at 30 percent, PokerStars said, which will be “impacting mainly high-volume Supernova and SupernovaElite status players.” For those who achieve SNE this year, the rewards are capped at 45 percent in 2016. The lowest tiers will remain largely unchanged.

In addition, there will be no VPPs for pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5-$10+, eight-game $10-$20+, and other limit games with blinds of $10-$15+.

The firm also said that a “simplified rewards mechanism” called StarsCoin will replace FPPs, Stellar Rebates and Milestone Rewards. StarsCoin value will be one cent each for all statuses.

These changes go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

“The reason we are focused on the highest status levels is because these rewards have become so enticing that we have inadvertently altered why some people play and how they play,” PokerStars said. “We are introducing these changes to move towards a more balanced long-term poker economy and to return the game back to one that rewards skill via winning at the tables rather than playing primarily for volume.”

Along with the loyalty program changes, PokerStars announced steps to restrict the use of heads-up displays (HUDs) in 2016. “The game should be about combining logic and an ability to steel your nerves to make that big call or bluff; it shouldn’t be about clicking a button because harvested stats tell you to,” PokerStars said. “For this reason, we are on a path to eliminate many of these technological advantages that are used by a minority of players.”

About a month ago PokersStars received a license to operate in New Jersey. The company is gearing up for launch, though it hasn’t indicated when that will happen.

PokerStars and sister site Full Tilt were bought by Amaya last year for $4.9 billion.