The world’s leading online poker site, PokerStars, has announced a series of changes to its loyalty program, Stars Rewards.

The world’s leading online poker site, PokerStars, has announced a series of changes to its loyalty program, Stars Rewards.

Taking effect Friday, February 15, the first of the many changes will affect tournament grinders as they will notice a significant reduction in the reward points on MTTs. As of now, players earn 100 reward points for every $/€1 in rake they contribute. Starting this weekend, players will earn just 45 reward points for the same price.

This means that tournament players will earn 55% fewer reward points for every $/€1 in rake. Other formats such as Spin & Go’s, Sit & Go’s, Cash and Zoom games will remain unaffected.

“This is a reduction in the overall amount of rewards some players will receive, but made in an area that we believe will have the least impact on their experience and enable us to place even more focus where we know it matters most,” explained Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovations and Operations, on PokerStars Blog.

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“This includes offering the largest tournament guarantees like the €20m Winter Series guarantee in Southern Europe as well as record-breaking COOPs and Sunday Millions, and providing the most exciting live event experiences in poker,” Rasset continued.

Although Rasset has not specified a particular market, it is assumed that the changes will be implemented across all the markets in which PokerStars operates including the New Jersey market where Stars Rewards made its debut just three months ago.

Without doubt, tournament grinders will not be pleased with this announcement. This also comes at a time when partypoker recently added a new tier to its VIP program giving players cashback of up to 60%.

Partypoker’s ambassador Patrick Leonard took a jibe at PokerStars and reminded his followers about the changes that partypoker has been making over the past few years in an ongoing commitment to listen to and implement player feedback. Last year, partypoker axed the rake on progressive bounty tournaments making them the cheapest offering in the industry.

In addition to the above change, the room also plans to roll out several improvements to the Stars Rewards program that will be implemented throughout 2019. These upcoming changes are aimed at addressing player’s most common complaint that is: Chests aren’t “meaningful as [they] could be.”

Keeping this player feedback in mind, PokerStars will be implementing the following changes:

  • Increasing the value of each Chest by at least three times but with the frequency of earning them reduced by a similar proportion.
  • Removing the “boost” feature which allows players to earn double points. Instead, the value earned through boosts will be transferred to Chests directly.
  • Moving up to a higher Chest level will become much easier to understand. Players will no longer have to earn 4 chests in a day to upgrade to a bigger chest, instead, players can move up to a new chest level by earning 10 Chests over a rolling 28-period. Also, every progress bar will now have a 28-day expiry.
  • Players will have an option to “exchange” their current progress for an immediate reward should they find it difficult to complete that progress bar within a reasonable amount of time.

This will be the room’s first major changes to its new randomized rewards program that went live across the global market 18 months ago. According to Rasset, the changes are made following “a much better understanding of how players engage” with the program “as well as player feedback” allowing the room to make informed decisions on “how to evolve the program.”