One of the world’s top cash game players Isaac “philivey2694” Haxton has resigned from PokerStars Team Pro Online. He calls the changes to Supernova Elite VIP benefits “unethical.”
I have resigned from PokerStars in protest of the changes to the Supernova and Supernova Elite programs: https://t.co/I7c49fB00D
— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) January 1, 2016
“In the past, when I have disagreed with a PokerStars decision, it has been on practical matters of which goals are most important and which policies most effectively advance those goals. This time my disagreement is simpler, and deeper. I believe PokerStars is behaving unethically.”
The new VIP program which PokerStars implemented on January 1, reduces Supernova Elite (SNE) VIP benefits to a maximum of 45% for 2016, and there will be no SNE VIP status to aim for in 2017. The maximum rakeback equivalent available to players below SNE will be 30% in 2016 and from 2017, it will be a maximum of 30% for everyone.
Ike Haxton’s argument is that SNE is a two year program, so to change the terms of the deal half way through is to renege on a contract with the players who have worked so hard to reach the SNE target.
High volume players can get better deals at several other online poker rooms, and so have a difficult decision to make as to whether they should continue to play at PokerStars or find another online poker room. High stakes cash game players who play at stakes of $5/$10 and higher will receive no VIP benefits in 2016, so for them the decision is simpler.
PokerStars is by far the most popular online poker room in the world. Above all else it offers financial security and liquidity—when you want to play, at whatever game or stakes, you can find a table up and running. At other poker rooms, game selection is limited in comparison.
All player funds at PokerStars are held in trust, which means that players can be confident that their money is safe and will be returned on demand. Many other sites offer much less protection for deposits.
Rakeback has produced a quick guide to PokerStars alternatives which offer the best combination of financial security, game availability and high levels of rakeback. Our selection is based on rooms which will fit the serious player well, rooms which are growing and which offer excellent software.
Our top three are Americas Cardroom on the Winning poker network, Winner Poker on the iPoker network and NordicBet on the Microgaming (MPN) network. Players who play lower volumes but who also wish to try a PokerStars alternative are recommended to try PartyPoker if using a Head Up Display (HUD) is not important, or if it is, Betfair on the iPoker network.
Casual players can find a good home with PKR and its distinctive 3D graphics, or Sky Poker, which has a strong UK focus. PokerStars’ corporate sibling Full Tilt also offers a good alternative for casual players, but again, it is not recommended for players who use HUDs.
PokerStars has begun the year with a strong cash game promotion that is offering daily prizes worth up to $10,000 each. Players must compete relatively simple missions to qualify for a random cash prize. This looks designed to encourage players who are wavering in their decision to keep on playing at PokerStars rather than check out the alternatives.
Undoubtedly, many players will take the plunge and leave, but the overall impact of their departure will probably be small. For players at VIP levels below those only reached by serious grinders, the VIP changes will probably not be significant, and the benefits of relentless high value promotions, security and superb software will outweigh any worries about high level players being treated “unethically.”
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By Joss Wood Rakeback.com Content Manager
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