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Full Tilt will soon roll out a new player loyalty program designed to bring fun back to the game of online poker, and to “level the playing field” between grinders and recreational players.

So said Full Tilt Managing Director Dominic Mansour in a blog post published late last week entitled “Reshaping Online Poker.” Mansour pointed out that online poker and gambling is constantly changing with regard to the habits of players, technology and regulation, and that Full Tilt has decided to implement a few changes of its own to make the game better for all involved.

While not elaborating fully on the new structure of the VIP program, Mansour did indicate that Full Tilt will have to increase rake at certain levels in order to accomplish its goal. Micro stakes players at $0.05/$0.10 and below can expect more pennies taken out of the pot, while players who can afford playing at $5/$10 and $10/$20 stakes will also take a bigger hit in rake caps. All other stake levels will remain untouched.

Recreational Players Wanted

The reasons behind the loyalty program change are issues that have been plaguing online poker for several years – a lack of recreational players and a greater disparity of skill between the pros and casual players that do remain. The latter has put a real hurt on the online poker-playing experience for recreational players, causing “shorter lifetimes and faster losses,” according to Mansour.

Full Tilt’s intent is to improve the poker-playing experiences of newbies so they will return again and again. That will benefit the pros by having more casual players at the tables, thereby making everybody happy and loyal to the site.

Industry Trends

The ipoker industry as a whole has been making an effort in recent years to make the game more palatable for casual players. The idea of leveling the playing field was introduced as far back as 2011 when Bodog rolled out its Recreational Poker Model that included anonymous play at all tables and levels.

Bodog’s concept of players identified by seat numbers and without screen names has indeed been a game-changer and, frankly, should be used across the board at all poker sites, in my opinion. It eliminates the use of poker-tracking software and keeps less-skilled players from being targeted.

Full Tilt has not revealed exactly how the tables will be tipped toward recreational players, promising only that the new VIP scheme will be “fundamentally different” than what players have been accustomed to in the past. At the core of the Full Tilt brand is the belief that poker players should log on and play “for the love of the game” and the upcoming loyalty program changes will reflect that.

What Do You Think?

We at PokerUpdate are interested in how our readers feel about whether changes are needed in the online poker industry. Please take a moment to answer the following question.

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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.