New PokerStars Boycott Underway



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Another month, another player boycott of PokerStars. As a follow-up to the December protest of PokerStars’ VIP program changes, another boycott is currently underway. This one is more ambitious, too, slated for the entire first week of January, from the first through the seventh.

As before, players are showing their discontent with the adjustments PokerStars made to its loyalty program, changes which took effect January 1st. Among the changes were the elimination of the Supernova and Supernova Elite VIP levels, a reduction in benefits for those with those statuses for the rest of this year, the elimination of VPPs at high stakes cash game tables, and conversion of FPPs to the new StarsCoin at a 25 percent reduction in value.

And as before, the boycott is being staged at the beginning of the month. The difference, though, as mentioned, is that this one is spanning an entire week rather than three days and thus that week actually covers a weekend. One criticism of the previous boycott was that it avoided the big weekend tournaments, so that has been solved. Additionally, boycott organizers have asked participants to withdraw at least 10 percent of their PokerStars bankrolls.

In a post on Two Plus Two, one of the boycott’s leaders listed the following demands and suggestions for PokerStars:

We demand
– rewards for all games and stakes offered
– a rewards review in games that have a low percentage of winners
– promised SN and SNE rewards for 2016
– regularly scheduled meetings with players from the community

We suggest
– table starter rewards and happy hours
– lowering microstakes rake

It is difficult to say exactly how many players are participating in the boycott, though it does look like it is at least around the 2,500 who sat out in December. There are several sites on which players can sign-up, including Two Plus Two, weareallin.com, and tiltbook.com. The latter two have posted their sign-up numbers, totaling around 2,300. There very well may be overlaps between the two sites, but combined with other boycott hubs plus however many players did not actually publicize their involvement, 2,500 boycotters is not unlikely.

The plan for an ongoing protest was also detailed on Two Plus Two. The first step is this boycott, of course. The second step is to hold a third, even longer, boycott from February 2nd through February 11th with the goal of 4,000 to 5,000 participants.

After that, there seems to be some disagreement amongst boycott leadership. The person who posted the plan on Two Plus Two wants an extended protest to somehow “decrease Amaya’s rake by 20% (according to the MacroPoker statistical service), which will reduce their EBITDA to around half of its previous level.”

If that somehow happens, the boycotters’ hope is that Amaya representatives will sit down and discuss revamping the VIP system.

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