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PokerStars Reneges On FPP Satellite Changes

PokerStarsThe management team at PokerStars has reversed its decision to prevent players who won satellites purchased with frequent player points (FPP) from unregistering from the target event, but has warned of implementing changes “within the next year.”

Independent news outlet Pokerfuse revealed the initial changes in an article on July 15, stating that players who bought into satellites with their FPPs would be forced to play the first seat they won to the target event.

Prior to this new rule, players could unregister from the event they won a seat for and have that tournament’s buy-in credited to their account in the form of tournament dollars (T$). Players then had the option to use the T$ to buy into tournaments of their choosing or sell them for up to 99.5% of their value.

This loophole allowed players to extract maximum value from their FPPs regardless of their VIP status at PokerStars.

For example, a player on the lowest tier, Bronze Star, have the option to purchase a $10 bonus for 1,000 FPPs for the equivalent of $10 per 1,000 FPPs. Supernovas, the second-highest VIP level, can purchase a $1,600 bonus for 100,000 FPPs, a rate of $16 per 1,000 FPPs.

A member of the Two Plus Two community, schaef.alex, revealed that they regularly buy into the 235 FPP satellites to the Sunday Storm. These hyper-turbo tournaments are played to a six-max format and award the top two finishers with an $11 seat to the Sunday Storm. Schaef.alex, like many PokerStars players, would then unregister from the Sunday Storm and have T$11 added to their account, giving them an exchange rate of slightly more than $15.7 per 1,000 FPPs.

The changes came into effect on July 14, but a mere three days later PokerStars went back on their plans and allowed players to once again unregister from tournaments the won seats to via FPP satellites, giving the date of July 21 as the official date of the reversal.

A789ds, another member of Two Plus Two, posted what appears to be an email from a PokerStars customer support representative that reads:

Over the last two months PokerStars has gradually introduced a requirement that FPP satellite winners must play the first seat won to a given target. We are now reversing this change. By Monday, 21 July, winners of FPP satellites will be able to unregister from the target once again. Before that time, you will be unregistered upon request if you write to [email protected] and request it.

Please note that this reverting of recent policy change does not include satellites which finish after the target begins, or “Mega-Path” satellites, which will continue to lock winners into the target in the same way that they always have.

There are two reasons for reverting this change at this time:

1) We’ve encountered a software bug on mobile devices that causes the warning message not to appear.

2) The goal of this change is to ensure that satellites are achieving their intended purpose, to help players qualify for tournaments that they might not otherwise play. However, the change had an additional substantial, but unintended, negative impact on the value of VIP rewards for a subset of players.

We plan to revisit this initiative in the future at a point when we feel comfortable we can achieve the desired goal without negative impact. More directly, this means that within the next year it is likely that satellite winners will be required to play in the target (or similar) event, but we will implement this in such a way that FPP redemption value will not be as significantly impacted, and we will fix the mobile bug prior to making the change.”

Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

As you can see from the support email, PokerStars plans to implement similar changes within the next year that will mean satellite tournaments are used for their intended purpose – winning a seat to a higher buy-in tournament – but not until further studies have been made in order to lessen the negative impact on the player pool.

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