PokerStars announced this week that it will be making changes to its VIP program, effective January 1st, 2010. With the help of suggestions from a special VIP player panel, PokerStars is implementing the changes in order to give more players the chance to earn more rewards. The changes are as follows:
Points Earning
Currently, the VPP system is a bit convoluted. In full ring games, the rake must hit $0.40 in order for a player to earn 1 VPP in games with stakes of $1/$2 or lower. For games $2/$4 and higher, the rake must hit $1. The rake targets are higher to earn more points and short-handed tables have a different scale. VPPs are also earned for playing in tournaments.
The new system is much simpler. At cash tables with 8 or more seats (this means the capacity of the table is 8 or more, regardless of how many people are seated), 6 VPPs will be awarded for every $1 in rake. These VPPs will then be divided equally amongst everyone who was dealt cards in the hand. At tables with 7 or fewer seats, 5.5 VPPs will be awarded per $1 in rake. For tournaments, 5.5 VPPs will be awarded for every dollar of entry fee paid. PokerStars will also award fractional VPPs.
FPPs will be earned a similar way to how they are now, with players earning 1 FPP for every 1 VPP at the BronzeStar level. As VIP levels increase, a multiplier will increase the rate at which players earn VPPs.
This simplification now gets PokerStars in line with competitors such as Full Tilt Poker, Party Poker, and Cake Poker, which also award loyalty points in direct relation to the rake taken from the pot in cash games, rather than making the rake hit certain levels before points are awarded.
VIP Status
SilverStar VIP status will be easier to reach, requiring just 750 VPPs, compared to the 1,200 that are needed now. It will also be easier for those who reach Supernova status to maintain that status, as they will need to earn 7,500 VPPs per month instead of 10,000.
Supernova milestone bonuses will be restructured, as well. The bonuses will increase at the 100,000, 200,000, and 300,000 VPP levels, but decrease from 400,000 through 800,000. Fortunately, a new $4,600 milestone bonus will be added at the 700,000 VPP mark.
Stellar Rewards
Also new in 2010 will be PokerStars’ VIP Stellar Rewards. These rewards are simply automatic cash bonuses which are awarded for hitting one of 19 VPP marks. The first, at 750 VPPs, is $10. At 5,000 VPPs, it increases to $50 and at 50,000, it goes up to $100. In all, $1,000 in Stellar Rewards can be earned per year. They do not require any added play once they are purchase for one FPP each from the PokerStars VIP store – they are simply cash awards deposited in the player’s account.
Quarterly $1,000,000 VIP Freeroll
PokerStars will hold a $1,000,000 freeroll at 2:00pm ET on the first Saturday of February, May, August, and November 2010, exclusively for GoldStar and higher VIPs. Supernova will receive free entries into the tournament, while GoldStar and PlatinumStar VIPs will be able to gain entry via FPP satellites. The current $75,000 weekly freerolls will be discontinued.
PokerStars’ closest rival, Full Tilt Poker (they are ranked first and second in cash game traffic according to PokerScout.com) also plans on reworking some aspects of its loyalty program in 2010. Party Poker, which ranks fourth in cash games popularity, made adjustments to its system this past June.

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