Loose lips sink ships. PokerStars planned to overhaul their VIP loyalty program in 2016 and implement third-party software changes, but the news was leaked on a Russian site over the weekend. It's always the Russians.
Despite the predictable outrage on 2+2, there were some thought-provoking posts. Steve Ruddock wrote a great op-ed on what an online site owes its players. Here's Ansky's thoughts on the new changes. You can also listen/watch Ansky's appearance on Joe Ingram's podcast.
Online poker used to be a cash cow the size of a T-Rex. During the gravy days, online poker was as close to an ATM as you could get. I mean, ten years ago all you had to do was breathe and you could make money playing online poker. Competition between online poker rooms was fierce and rooms cut whatever deals they could to retain loyal customers. In the post-Black Friday new world order, the online poker world has gotten much tougher. It's a shark-eat-shark world and everyone looks like a donkey in shark's clothing. Without wide-open competition in the online marketplace and high-stakes games harder to come by, cash game traffic plummeted. Traffic is half of what it used to be.
Customer rewards are not worth what they used to. Airline miles are worth a lot less. Another cost-cutting trend with corporations trimming or overhauling their loyalty rewards. I fondly remember a time when airlines loved their frequent fliers and if I made 4 round trip flights from New York City to Las Vegas, then the 5th flight was free. Today, you'd have to make 10 roundtrip flights to get a free flight.
Even Taco Bell used to have a rewards card: buy 10 tacos and get one free. They eliminated that perk. No more free tacos.
PokerStars is now making it harder for Super Nova Elite's to get free tacos.