The debris from PokerStars’ decision to overhaul its loyalty reward program continued to fall at the start of January after Isaac Haxton announced his departure from the company.
A long serving member of Team PokerStars Online, Haxton has been involved in a number of high stakes challenges and represented the site at tournaments around the world since 2012; however, he now feels he can no longer represent the operator.
Announcing his decision via 2+2 on New Year’s Day, Haxton stated that he has decided not to renew his contract following a number of unpopular decisions made by PokerStars’ owners, Amaya.
Although he has clashed with PokerStars over various issues during his four-year tenure with the site (something he attests to in his extended forum post), Haxton explained that he always saw the logic in the decisions and chose to support his employer regardless.
However, the November announcement that VIP rewards would be changing from January 1, 2016, was one that Haxton wasn’t prepared to endorse.
After reviewing the changes and talking to a number of his peers directly affected by the alterations, Haxton took the decision to part ways with PokerStars.
In fact, Haxton went as far as to suggest that one issue in particular (the decision not to reward Supernova and Supernova Elite players from 2015 in the way they had expected) made PokerStars appear unethical.
“I believe PokerStars is behaving unethically.
Announcing in November that players who earned Supernova and Supernova Elite status in 2015 will not receive the benefits they had expected in 2016 strikes me as dishonest and unfair,” Haxton wrote on 2+2.
Following his announcement, Haxton received a wave of positive responses from the community; however, a number of high stakes pros have questioned why he didn’t take a stand sooner.
Regardless of Haxton’s timing or the true intentions behind his decision (some have speculated that his contract was either not particularly lucrative or may not have been renewed anyway), the departure is another high profile loss for PokerStars.
Just before Christmas Alex Millar, aka Kanu7, left Team PokerStars Online after he was unable to convince the people in charge that the VIP changes would negatively impact the community.
Apologizing that he couldn’t do more, the British high stakes pro explained that he felt he could no longer present the company and its current direction and would, therefore, be removing his PokerStars patch.
Since Amaya took control of PokerStars a number of players have ended their sponsorship deals, including the Victoria Coren.
Although Amaya has yet to reverse any decisions in light of the resignations, it now seems that more pros are willing to giving up their endorsement deals in support of the community at large.