Monday, 14 December 2015

Change Em Up!

As of January 1st, there will be a bunch of changes happening, including that all FPPs that are in your account will be converted to Pokerstars new currency known as "StarsCoin".  StarsCoin will be converted from FPPs where the value is decreased by 25%.

Changing Currency... And Grammar!

Apparently I have been writing StarCoins wrong, they're called StarsCoin! Yes, you heard it right that is "Stars" coin, not "StarCoin" which I think sounds better, because that extra S is a little bit more of a mouthful imo.

But wait! That's not it! Pokerstars has also decided that grammer is not needed and that StarsCoins are super special and plurals don't need S's! More then 1 StarsCoin has no S! Coins contain S's when there is more then one of them, but not these special StarsCoin! They're like the word Sheep, singular is the same as plural!

Before the Amaya buyout I'm sure that I would have assumed that this was some kinda mistake but nowadays I think that they might have had a special meeting about this and decided that StarsCoins had too many S's or something and therefore decided that they could override grammar.

How to Convert Your FPPs

So if you guys have FPPs, you should convert them into money or spend them in the VIP Shop before this happens if you don't want to lose out.

As explained here, the best way to convert FPPs into real money is to play 235 FPP Satellites into the Sunday Storm. This is the best option to do if you are not Supernova+ spending 100k FPPs on the $1600 cash bonus.

The 235 FPP Satellites can be found on the main MTT lobby, they run later in the week closer to Sunday though. These are 6 man tournaments, and 2 players will get a ticket. Once you win more then one ticket, the ones after that will turn into Tournament Dollars (T$) and it is this that you can convert into real money. The entry is $11, so you will be getting 11 $T per win after the first.

I'm not 100% sure if you can convert the first satellite into T$ too, you used to be able to by unregistering to the Sunday Storm, but from what I heard last it is unlikely as PokerStars has changed this policy.

You can sell your T$ on this website, or get a better deal at the 2p2 Forum by posting and then getting a message and then following the instructions...

Anyways, this is still better value then just converting your FPPs by buying the cash rebates. Its annoying that you cant change them straight away, but its worth the time!

More Kicks in the Teeth...

Quite a lot of things has happened since my last post and I have a habit of writing the longest posts, so here is a TL DR summary;

9th Dec - Negreanu officially writes his blog about the changes, in summary he says that the changes should have happened earlier but were delayed by a year, communication should have been better, and that the strikes showed Amaya better number of cashouts to deposit ratios (no proof tho)

9th Dec - Pokerstars announce 4 one million dollar freerolls to replace the Supernova freerolls in 2016 and for some reason decides to use that to link the VIP changes controversy spinning it as a good thing for everyone.

10th Dec - A bunch of players wear T-shirts against the VIP changes at EPT Prague, Daniel Dvoress is interviewed about the situation.

13th Dec - Pokerstars Lee Jones responds to VIP changes via Pokernews. He repeats yet again that the changes are needed, that the strike was good for them, and that he is sorry about the bad communication and that they need to improve.

14th Dec - Pokerstars Matthew on 2p2 forum writes a damning post insisting that communication between Pokerstars and the players has been adaquete about the Supernova Elite program, using various quotes out of context relighting the issue once more when the dust was settling.

It is the most amazing post because it basically contradicted what Lee Jones had said! It was as if they had not seen the interview or communicated with each other at all. His was an apology that the communication wasn't good enough and trying to build back the bridges with the players, and this post was basically taking everything back and insisting that communication was good enough! Fuck that apology!

Amaya stocks has been on a bit of a downswing lately, and had a sharp fall that coincided with their Pokerstars VIP changes. It will be interesting if their stocks continue to decline in 2016 (which would probably mean more bad news for players). Seems like they're gambling on re-entry into the USA to send it back up! Only time will tell...

It does seem my posts are quite negative recently. Unfortunately this is the state of the poker world these days. The fact that Pokerstars is a monopoly means we have no alternative, since its rivals are just way too small. I will be doing some more positive posts later on, I'm challenging myself to post once a week.

Anyways, since I think Pokerstars is in need of some grammar lessons, here's Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington to help you out!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Negreanu Reponds to VIP Changes & Pokerstars Strike

Sooo this is slightly late since the strike is over, but here's the VOD if anyone wants to watch it.

First of all, I think its important to say that Daniel's position is nothing but super awkward and terrible. He is a representative of Pokerstars, and at the same time also (unofficially) represents the players. Keeping the balance between the two parties is an impossible job.

He has been getting a lot of stick on social media and its uncalled for really. The fact is that right now, Negreanu is the only Pro from Pokerstars that has officially gone on record to talk about these changes. Others have not, and understandably so as they fear for contract terminations if the wrong thing is said, which is sad to see because it highlights my idea that certain aspects of free market capitalism are closer to dictatorship then democracy (but that will be another blog post).

I don't want to go on about these topics as they are irrelevant or impractical, which I see in comments sections, twitter, or two plus two forum posts;
  • How Daniel is a traitor or moneygrabber etc, everything he says is pointless...
  • How the Interviewer sucks
  • How out of touch Negreanu is with online poker and therefore he has no right to be talking about this stuff.
However true the above points are, they are a pretty bad unconstructive attitude to have. Discussion is good, and new information where ever we can get it helps us understand things more clearly. From what I gather, Negreanu doesn't have to say anything, but he seems to be a guy who does what he wants and gives zero fucks. If you think that changes should happen overnight and this is all pointless, then way even bother watching?

6 Points To Take Away

In no particular order, here's some interesting things from the interview;
  1. Negreanu is strongly against no VPPs in High Stakes cash, and SNE being changed for 2016 as a broken promise - These are the two things out of all the changes that he is against. The other VIP changes he is not against. There are a lot of changes and he states that he has to pick his battles, and these are the two main points that he thinks are the most important.
  2. Pokerstars has less or no staff that currently play online poker anymore since the buy out - Has Amaya laid off or pressured some of the old staff to leave? It seems that this might be the case. This is nothing new when new management comes in, especially if their direction is in conflict with the old one, I've actually seen this happen to people I know, and I'm sure that you have. This brings into question how out of touch the new staff and management could be.
  3. Negreanu has some influence, which is more to be said then any other Pokerstars Pro. - It was stated that Negreanu has calls with the "higher ups" which sounds like the Amaya CEO or whoever is in charge of the Pokerstars side of it. He said that he was hopeful from his first call in having some movement on these changes, but then said was less so in his latest call. Why would Amaya be even calling Negreanu if he wasn't some sort of influence? So if anything we can get out of these interviews is knowing that if Negreanu knows these issues, and he is communicating with Amaya/Pokerstars, they are definitely getting feedback from at the very least from him.
  4. Communication with players has been non existent, and the Pokerstars reputation is damaged severely - It is clear that especially since the buy out, communication of changes have been nothing short of terrible. Pokerstars had a great reputation of talking with the players especially on the forums, and announce ideas and changes ahead of time to get feedback. Negreanu acknowledges this, and did not realise it was this bad, and sounds like he will try to be more pro active in making sure communication is better.
  5. With this bad, the good will come later - Negreanu had stated repeatedly that he knows of some promotions in 2016 that will bring in new players and be good for the poker scene. But these are not finalised, and frustratingly he is unable to talk about it. Maybe these bad changes should have coinsided with the good to help us understand the direction that Pokerstars wants to go.
  6. Negreanu is for the strike, but thinks its unlikely to do anything - This is the harsh truth about it, but as Dani says (and Negreanu agrees), it is still good to do as a support for solidarity. Also, the strike can help give an idea of numbers and other information that will be useful for other future strikes possibly. Getting change is what we want, but realistically one three day strike is unlikely to get that. What is more important is the showing of unity and looking at the influence that is possible, most likely through bad publicity of the Pokerstars brand.

Possible "Goods" in 2016?

So as Negreanu had said multiple times, there are some "Good" changes that will happen in 2016 to hopefully get new players in. But since they're not finalised, he's not allowed to talk about them. But what could they be? Here's some of my theories;

Jackpot Poker (Breaking in the Mobile Phone App Industry) - This isn't actually a theory but recently announced on 30th November when they posted this video up.

It all looks very weird and vague, but it looks like this is a free to play phone app game. I imagine it is using the free chips to get players interested, and then it will promote the real money client. Its hard to say how successful this will be, but with Zynga poker and other apps like that it does seem there is an interest. However, getting those players from free play to real money will be another matter.

Anonymous Table Selecting - I think some kind of implementation of this will happen. Whether this means that there wont be a registration lobby where you can see what players have registered, or just simply putting you straight in a game without the ability to table select at all, something will be done to even out the playing field for those recreationals who have no idea how advanced the regs can be with this kind of thing.

Jackpot SNGs - Apart from Spin and Go's, the Sit and Go games have been dying a slow and painful death. Newer players are not interested in "slow and steady" but more of the chase of fast and furious! Huge jackpots, 3 minute blinds, what's not to like? Well with the success of the spins, it could see this jackpot prizepool style move to other formats. The fact that recreationals understand that there is some luck in poker, a more randomised prizepool might be more attractive to them since they could win it in the short run. Granted, this is my friend's idea, check out his great blog!

Football (Soccer) Promotion - It seems that Pokerstars has spent a lot of money getting Neymar and Ronaldo as brand ambassadors for the site. This is undoubtedly expensive buys, and possibly targeted towards Brazilians too as they are an up and coming nation. It will be surprising to me if they don't do some kind of promotion related to these stars, possibly merging the Poker with their sports betting section to get in new players.

More Golden SNGs/Cash Game Milestones - These wont be new, but seems like Star's most successful campaigns. I think there will be more of this, possibly bigger in some ways.

Anyways, only time will tell what they come up with, but Negreanu agrees that some of the changes Pokerstars has made are drastic, and a huge gamble that they will be outweighed by the positive impacts of their promotions next year.

As always, I'll finish off with something random that I like, another youtube I like called Film Theory... Guess what? Neo isn't "The One"!