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Damage control continued at PokerStars as Director of Poker Communications Lee Jones answered a few questions regarding the site’s upcoming VIP changes directed his way by Pokernews.com during a break in action at EPT12 Prague.

That followed a blog post published mid-week by PokerStars VP of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser. For more information on Hollreiser’s posting, PokerUpdate’s James Guill gave his take on it here.

Jones reiterated much of what was said by Hollreiser, however, it came across in a somewhat better way via video as opposed to words on a page in a corporate blog. But reading some of the comments regarding Jones’ answers, as well as tweets from PokerStars players, it seems that a number of them don’t share my opinion that Jones was a bit kinder and gentler than his colleague.

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Admits Lack of Communication

Jones, like Hollreiser before him, acknowledged that PokerStars could have done a better job of communicating the VIP changes to players. This issue is one that practically everybody can agree on, even though it is difficult for some to accept that a lack of communication even happened in the first place.

Think back to the release of the “Inside PokerStars” videos in which the site aimed for transparency by giving a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Or the open house at the company’s Isle of Man headquarters for anyone interested in a first-hand look. And the meetings with former players in New Jersey in advance of license approval in the Garden State. Those are just three of many exemplary efforts at communication that put PokerStars way above the rest.

But those good deeds were seemingly wiped out on November 1, at least in the eyes of high stakes players, when PokerStars announced that rewards would be reduced for the pro grinders come January 1. Rewards that many were working on in 2015 that were to carry over to 2016. That led to a three-day player boycott that was largely ineffective, and PokerStars is prepared to continue on the same path as originally stated.

Let’s Move On

When asked why PokerStars doesn’t fix the problems created by the lack of communication after admitting as much, Jones had this to say:

“We can’t afford to pay for a communication failure by stopping the absolutely necessary changes that we’re making to the VIP program. The VIP program is broken and the ecosystem is broken and we have to do something about it.”

PokerStars admitted their mistake, apologized many times over, and is likely done doing so.

“At some point you can only say sorry so many times and in so many different ways,” Jones said. “We certainly hope that the players will look beyond this hitch in communication and say ‘yeah we want to stick with PokerStars and do the exciting things that we all believe we can bring to poker in the coming months and years.'”

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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