888poker is coming to the rescue of angry PokerStars players boycotting the platform in response to the world’s largest network planning to overhaul its rewards program and discontinue the esteemed Supernova Elite tier.
PokerStars announced last month it was making adjustments to the VIP Club to place more value on competitive play instead of volume.
“The changes will result in improved rewards for the vast majority of players,” PokerStars’ Eric Hollreiser said. “Approximately two percent of players, including our highest volume and high stakes players, will have significantly reduced rewards.”
During the three-day PokerStars strike that began Tuesday and concludes Thursday, 888poker is slashing rakes on higher stakes Omaha cash games and increasing guarantees for 22 tournaments.
888poker also added two additional events in anticipation of increased traffic.
The biggest adjustment comes with 888poker’s biggest midweek tournament, the $600 Tuesday Volcano. The regular guarantee of $85,000 was propped up to $100,000 for this week only.
Along with its Caesars partnership, 888poker is the most active card room in New Jersey.
PokerStars Sends Out Negreanu
The changes to PokerStars’ points system most significantly affects the highest VIP members. Regardless, the 2,500 players that have joined the 72-hour boycott are a melting pot of pros all the way down to novices.
Behind the PokerStars strike is Dani Stern, a seasoned professional who says the changes will benefit no one except PokerStars itself. Stern claims PokerStars is misleading its customer base and that the rollout of the updated program has “crossed the line into outright deception” and is “extremely unethical.”
Daniel Negreanu, a PokerStars brand ambassador, admits the messaging hasn’t been without its faults.
“I think the past year, especially in regards to these changes … the communication has been for lack of a better word, absolutely freaking horrendous,” Negreanu revealed during an interview with Poker Update on Tuesday. “I just really think from a company’s perspective the approach is wrong.”
But Negreanu is adamant PokerStars is indeed trying to make the rewards structure fairer and more obtainable regardless of a player’s stakes and volume.
“What has been released, I agree with Dani 100 percent,” Negreanu continued. “There is nothing about what’s been released thus far that benefits anyone. If what I’m being told on the other side in terms of what’s in store for 2016, if that became public, I think that most would see those as beneficial to somebody.”
Strike Strikes Out
Stern’s walkout on Stars couldn’t have come at a worse time as his 2,500-strong embargo on the network had no affect on the site’s overall numbers. In fact, traffic was up roughly 33 percent due to the commencing of the Christmas Festival Calendar.
With $2 million in giveaways planned between December 1 through Christmas, players haven’t been able to resist the temptation and sit on the sidelines.
However, Stern says the strong numbers doesn’t necessarily mean the strike isn’t working.
“For those wondering about my take on strike thus far: It’s working,” he tweeted. “Keep going. Believe me this is bigger than total players online.”