OPINION: PokerStars’ new VIP program – a step forwards?

  • Blog post hints at new program offering players daily rewards instead of monthly
  • Will reward entire PokerStars catalogue of casino, sports betting and poker

People don’t like change. Whether it’s changing the way our Instagram feed displays or diversifying our Marvel comic books, change is stubbornly resisted.

Then, once it’s been implemented and the fanfare has died down, it’s generally accepted and before long no one can even remember that things used to be done a different way.

pokerstars VIP

The announcement, then, that PokerStars is tinkering with its VIP program was destined to spark grumbles of dissent. But once the dust has settled, will the new scheme be a net good or a net bad from the players’ perspective?

Rewards on a daily basis

The new scheme was outlined in a blog post in which the company’s Director of Poker Innovation and Operations announced plans to switch from a tiered scheme that operates on a monthly basis to one that dispenses rewards on a daily basis.

A randomised element will also be introduced whose variable risk/reward structure will likely supply the very same dopamine boost that is inherent to playing poker.

“Most of our players are playing in the moment… Wanting a fun and exciting experience every time they play. With that in mind, the upcoming program is focused around rewarding players more frequently within a single playing session rather than providing month-long goals.”
Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Séverin Rasset

Wave goodbye to deferred gratification in other words. Say hello to instant gratification. One provision of the new scheme that surely few players will object to is the linking of Pokerstars’ casino, sports betting and poker divisions, allowing all players to access the same rewards.

“Our new loyalty program will reward play across poker, casino, and sports, without forcing anyone to play any particular product,” explained Rasset in his blog post. “Players should feel that no matter what they play, we appreciate their loyalty. Our current reward, StarsCoin, will become the common currency for poker, sport and casino, maintaining its current value.”

Before you get too excited (or dismayed) at seeing the new PokerStars rewards scheme in action, it’s worth noting that it will be trialled in the Danish market first around late May before being rolled out across the entire network by the end of the year.

Reading between the lines, it would appear that successful high volume players will be the ones adversely affected by the changes to the rewards scheme; for other players the changes are likely to be indiscernible. Still, don’t think that’s likely to stop protestations from some quarters. After all, we really don’t like change.

* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Casinopedia

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