PokerStars’ new VIP reward program is not going over very well with the VIP players it’s designed to serve.

Across online poker forums, players derided the new plan as a blatant, “money grab,” that’s made actually earning rewards excessively difficult. PokerStars officials, on the other hand, are defending the VIP program – which is still in beta testing – saying that recent changes to the plan were not designed to discourage progress.

At the heart of the disagreement is PokerStars’ VIP Steps plan which only doles out rewards when a player hits a certain goal. Under the old plan, players received prorated frequent player rewards as they made their way up the rewards ladder.

The new Pokerstars’ reward program lets players know exactly how close they are to achieving their targeted goals with a progress bar at the bottom of their screen. If a player fails to meet his or her targeted goals by the end of the month, they receive only a 50% payout.

Not surprisingly, the new plan is not a hit with players who say the new plan is all about preventing rewards, rather than doling them out.

PokerStars has responded with a rather defense of the plan saying that the system should, “…improve player engagement with the VIP rewards.” But if the players the system is designed to serve don’t see it that way, PokerStars could have a tough time hanging on to its most valuable players.

VIP Steps is currently under beta testing and slated for a full UK roll out some time in the month of October.

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