Recent changes to PokerStars’ VIP program were the inspiration for a recent boycott of the site by some of its biggest players. The results of that boycott were something of a mixed bag but the bottom is this, the online poker world is changing, no matter what the whales think.

The genesis of the boycott were some pretty drastic reductions to the amount of rake back enjoyed by PokerStars’ most prolific players. Cutbacks at the highest level, SuperNova Elite, were reduced by as much as 27%.

PokerStars enacted the VIP changes, and also banned the use of HUDs, in an attempt to make the poker ecosystem more attractive to casual players. It’s a move that’s occurring throughout the industry and is incredibly unpopular with big time grinders who make their living on rewards and volume play.

To protest the proposed changes (which don’t actually take effect until January) nearly 2,500 players staged a strike. The strike wasn’t exactly a barn burner, but it did get the attention of PokerStars’ management.

As a result of the boycott, company officials offered four new $1 million free roll tournaments. These tournaments are, obviously, not much benefit to recreational players but are a nice bone for the big time players.

Even players who may have agreed that the cuts were necessary weren’t exactly thrilled about how PokerStars communicated them and for that grievance they received an apology from one of poker’s biggest players, Daniel Negreanu.

Negreanu, who also a PokerStars representative, apologized for the communications gap in a lengthy blog post on Full Contact Poker.

The changes PokerStars has proposed will impact around 2% of all online poker players.

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