PokerStars live event satellite changes

Many PokerStars players have been lucky enough and skilled enough to win entry to a live event via an online satellite. We've been sending players to the PCA for 10 years, and although it was before my time, I believe our first ever live event satellites sent four players to the 2002 World Series Main Event. We ramped things up for the 2003 Main Event, and that effort resulted in the legend that is Chris Moneymaker.

As much as I love online poker, there's clearly something special about playing in a big live event. From staring down and matching wits with one's opponents, to the grandeur of chip towers, to the trophy and stacks of cash, a live tournament is an unforgettable experience. Especially unforgettable is one's first big brick & mortar tournament.

While recreational players dream of winning the poker experience of a lifetime with PokerStars, a fortunate and skilled few win multiple packages and seats to our live events, when they can only use one of them. These players have taken advantage of a system that allowed them to profit from winning against recreational or less experienced players. While this hasn't been against the rules, it doesn't make for as enjoyable experience as we would hope. The practice has, in fact, been off-putting for many, as we are seeing an increasing number of recreational players not even attempting to qualify for live events. This means that they are as a group less likely to experience the excitement that comes from playing live and the further investment in the poker world that comes from playing in a major live event.

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If there's one thing we really love at PokerStars, it's unforgettable poker experiences. We want a larger portion of our customers to have such memories. Almost inevitably after having such an experience, one develops a new appreciation for poker, and becomes more of an ambassador of the game when they share their excitement and experiences with others. In an effort to provide such memories for more people, we've been experimenting with new rules for satellites that result in more unique individuals winning.

Beginning with the qualifiers for PokerStars Festival Dublin, we have implemented changes with the hope of introducing better balance to the distribution of packages and seats. For the first time ever at PokerStars there is a limit on the number of packages and seats that can be won by an individual player. Players can now win only one full package and one seat. This limitation will, we hope, make sense to the majority of you and stand to reason as being fair. We believe the change will create a more level playing field for all that want to visit our lower buy-in Festivals or experience the glitz and glamour of one of our bigger Championship events.

As always, we will listen closely to customer feedback. However, we are confident that this is a big step in the right direction for the vast majority of players. We will continue to seek to keep our games fun, exciting, and engaging for all. While acknowledging that some will be upset, we feel that the majority will benefit from this change.


Mike Jones is the PokerStars Poker Operations Manager

Mike Jones
@PokerStars in PokerStars news