Things certainly must be hectic down at PokerStars’ Isle of Man headquarters. The company is preparing to launch its new software client (lucky number seven) and chief among its aims is – in the words of Lee Jones, PokerStars head of Home Games – ending its reputation as “not the most newbie friendly software in the world.” In a presentation on the new software at the recent EPT San Remo event attended by PokerNews, Jones touted the new ‘Quick Lobby’ and its one-click process by which players go from “getting into the client to having cards pitched at them.” The alpha client is currently prepping for its move into closed beta, although there’s no official date as to when the great unwashed poker masses will be able to get their filthy open beta hands on the product.
Meanwhile, Stars continues to prep for the relaunch outside the US of its recent acquisition Full Tilt Poker on Nov. 6 (the same day we find out who’ll be occupying the White House for the next four years). Last week, Stars announced it was bringing FTP’s rake regime more in line with its parent outfit, i.e. replacing “affiliate-paid rakeback programs” with a VIP rewards program featuring a top tier of 25% and utilizing a ‘weighted contributed” method of calculating how points are earned. FTP spokesman Shyam Markus told 2+2 forum readers the plan was already on FTP’s to-do list before Black Friday, so Stars was just following through.
Something Stars won’t be following through on is making FTP’s former affiliates whole. In a mailer to affiliates made public by @cardplayerlife, Stars’ parent The Rational Group said its deal with the US Department of Justice to acquire FTP and assume its player liabilities did not obligate it to assume any other liabilities. “As such, The Rational Group is not liable and will not pay for any affiliate earnings.” (Players who had affiliate payments nestled amongst their frozen funds are also shit outta luck.) There are no hard numbers as to how much this move will save Rational, but prominent affiliate PokerStrategy.com had filed suit against FTP’s carcass in August in an attempt to recoup $1.2m in unpaid commissions it claimed to be owed. The Rational Group is promising FTP and Stars will have a completely new “joint program” in Q1 2013 but all FTP affiliates will have to start from scratch.
Finally, hot on the heels of Full Tilt Poker’s announcement that it had added Tom Dwan and Viktor Blom as its new “professionals,” PokerStars is preparing to announce the signing of a new “mystery” pro on Thursday. Players are invited to guess the identity of the aforementioned pro (who appears on the Stars blog in silhouette) and those who guess correctly have a chance at winning $50. We’re going out on a limb and saying it’s not PokerStrategy CEO Dominik Kofert.