A large section of the global online poker community has joined the strike against PokerStars starting today. The strike initiated by some of top pros of the world is against the new announcement of PokerStars about the changes in its VIP Rewards system. Thousands of patrons of the site from different corners of the world have joined this strike by not playing on the site for 72 hours.
Dani “Ansky” Stern, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonmo, Mike “Timex” McDonald, Doug “WCGRider” Polk, Phil “Mr Sweets28” Galfond, Dan “Danny98765” Smith, and Ben “Ben86” Tollerene are among the top pros leading this protest.
This is not the first time when players have protested against PokerStars. Such activities have increased especially after Amaya took over the site. Be it the launch of casino games or rake hike by the site, online players across the world have been vocal against such announcements. Vicky Coren-Mitchell went a step ahead and left the Team PokerStars Pro over the launch of casino games. Despite all protests, PokerStars has not reversed any of its announcements or changes at all the previous instances. This has sent out a message in the world poker community that the company, no more takes care of what its players voice for. The influence of Amaya management over the company has been reflecting time and again.
The changes announced in the PokerStars Loyalty Program are cutting down the player’s benefits massively. Starting 1st January 2016, the VIP Club rewards will be capped at 30% which will impact the Supernova and SupernovaElite level players on the site. Also, the Platinum level players will see a drop of 10% in their benefits through the new reward system.
Moreover, there will no longer be VPPs for pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5/$10 or higher, 8-game with limits of $10/$20 or higher, and other limit games with blinds of $10/$15 or higher. This will substantially impact the high stakes and high volume players on the site.
The strike has drawn attention of the online poker community on Two Plus Two Forum where Dani Stern has been the spokesperson of this protest. As per the reports, over 2,000 players have already joined this protest and it’s expecting to expand in the coming 2 days. Here is what Dani Stern says on Two Plus Two:
What is happening?
PokerStars/Amaya has announced an aggressive overhaul of the 2016 VIP system. They have deceived SNE players about benefits they would receive, are discontinuing the SNE program, and they have completely removed all rewards for high stakes (5/10+) cash games. While PokerStars claims the changes are to provide relief to recreational players, there is no such change happening. They are telling their players outright lies, and we will not stand for it. Beyond that, it follows an ongoing trend that PokerStars/Amaya has been taking in recent years. A site that was once clearly for the players, has completely lost sight of that.
I did my best to outline the changes and why they are so outrageous in this post: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh…&postcount=283 What are we doing about it?
We are organizing a strike/boycott of PokerStars from December 1st-3rd, starting at 12:01 AM EST. We ask everyone who values the game of poker at all, recreational or pro, to show their support. We especially ask those who put in high volume on Stars to do so. Please do not play a hand of poker on PokerStars for those 72 hours. It goes without saying that games are likely to be softer on those days, and we hope that you can resist the urge to play because of that. I truly believe that these changes will bring about devastating effects to the online poker community. What’s the point of a strike?
No one has any illusions of sinking PokerStars stock with a 3 day strike, or bringing down the company. That’s not what this is about. This is a demonstration of force, and an effort to show PokerStars that we are a body of players, and not just individuals. We have the ability to act as one, to make our voices heard, and to rally players behind a fair grievance. PokerStars has made it clear they do not respect us, so we need to demonstrate that we are able to fight back with volume and force.
Why should Stars care? Don’t they want less pros on the site anyway?
I very thoroughly address that here: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh…postcount=1387 Where do I sign up?
Please sign, preferably with your PS name, VPP count, and what games you play. And beyond that, please tell your friends.
If anyone has any questions at all, please ask. Ask me, ask this thread, just get involved! I want everyone to be passionate about this. PokerStars has got to understand that we will not take this lying down. The fight is on, this is the first battle and we will continue fighting as long as we need to.
Dani Stern also discussed about this protest with Joe Ingram. Here is the full video podcast: