PokerStars Improves Mobile but Reduces Rewards
The crew at PokerStars has been busy in the new year.
The year started on the highest of notes with the historic PokerStars Players NLHE Championship – PSPC – that endeared players to the site for its efforts to bring hundreds of players into the massive event. The tournament, along with the rest of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), breathed new life into the live scene and delivered a level of excitement that many felt had been missing from poker.
PokerStars then followed up with news about changes at the site. More efforts to ban seating scripts was the most popular with many players, as they had long created an online poker playing environment that discouraged new players and created what many viewed as an unfair advantage for those with scripts. The site also reduced the time to act in most games to appeal to new and recreational players with faster games, though the move wasn’t received terribly well by pro players who multi-table.
The latest news straight from PokerStars touts a new version of its mobile gaming app with improvements and added features.
But at the same time, the site decided to reduce the rewards for multi-table tournament players, who are most often the regulars, the semi-pros and pro players.
Good News First: Next Gen Mobile
PokerStars has offered a mobile version of its games since 2011, but the entire mobile app will soon become PokerStars Next Gen, a new and improved version in many ways.
Next Gen uses a new graphics engine for better graphics and animation, along with smoother transitions from one poker table to another or one platform to another – poker, casino, and sportsbook.
Besides easier navigation, the app gives players the opportunity to personalize their apps more than in the past, making it easier to find and jump into the games and tournaments they choose. Based on a player’s history, the app will suggest games with certain buy-in levels. The app allows players to register for tournaments that can sync with many mobile and online calendars for reminders.
PokerStars will be able to introduce new features and games to the app more quickly and respond to player feedback in a timelier fashion than in the past.
It has taken PokerStars about 18 months to bring the app to life for players, though only those in Denmark are able to try it first. Once feedback is received and any necessary updates made, the rollout will include more markets. In addition, the app is starting for iOS customers only, and Android users will be updated in the near future.
— Gaming Intelligence (@GamingIntell) February 15, 2019
PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset wrote, “This is Day One, a new start for our mobile world, with no end in sight but instead a stream of continuous improvements to ensure our mobile app is intuitive, simple and can match the growing expectations of the players of today and tomorrow.”
Then the Bad News: Reduced Rewards
Starting this weekend, the first of numerous changes will take place to the Stars Rewards program. Rasset explained that 18 months of examination since the initial rollout of Stars Rewards has given them time to “evolve the program” and decide “where to focus our investments.”
The first of those changes will reduce the number of reward points for multi-table tournament players. Whereas they earned 100 reward points for every €1 or $1 in paid tournament fees until now, that number will be reduced to only 45 points going forward. This is only for scheduled tournaments with other formats unaffected for now.
Why? Rasset wrote, “This is a reduction in the overall amount of rewards some players will receive but made in an area that we believe will have the least impact on their experience and enable us to place even more focus where we know it matters most.” He goes on to give examples of offering larger guarantees for online tournament series and regular events like the Sunday Million.
The other changes to be implemented throughout the coming year are results of player feedback and will include the following:
–Stars Rewards Chests tripled in value but three-times less likely to be earned
–Chest values increased by removing “boost” feature
–New Chest level achieved by earning 10 Chests over a rolling 28-day period (failure to complete moves the player down one level) with new rules that are easier to understand
–New exchange feature to trade partial Chest progress for immediate rewards
As far as player responses, many regulars are upset at yet more reductions to their PokerStars rewards. Others are still trying to figure out how the changes will play out in the long run.
If they shifted away rewards from high volume to low volume/losers that would be amazing. The problem is they shifted it away from all players into shareholder pockets
— Ari Engel (@AriEngelPoker) February 13, 2019
“We need to diminish RB, it’s costing us too much money.
-hold on a minute, then how do we trick these fools into thinking that they’re still getting rewarded for their play?
Behold: Chest game”
— Martin Jacobson (@Martin_Jacobson) February 14, 2019