Barely hours after pokerfuse exclusively revealed that PokerStars could soon be making changes to its randomized rewards program, the new version of Stars…

Barely hours after pokerfuse exclusively revealed that PokerStars could soon be making changes to its randomized rewards program, the new version of Stars Rewards has gone live in the Italian market.

Just as we predicted, Red Chests have been dropped and a couple of new Chests have been added, including a Black Chest which is now the program’s highest valued Chest. The former highest valued Platinum Chest has also been removed, and a new Diamond Chest has been added.

There are still six tiers of Chests, with Blue now becoming the lowest level Chest of the program followed by the usual Bronze, Silver, Gold and the newly added Diamond and Black Chests.

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Additionally, the requirements to upgrade a Chest have also been modified. The revamped program switches back to the concept of moving to a higher level based on the month-long cycle instead of criteria based on a single play session. Players no longer have to earn four Chests in a day, instead, players can move up to the next tier by earning 10 Chests over a rolling 28-day period.

These changes were first announced by Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations in a PokerStars’ blog post last month. He wrote that the company will be rolling out a series of changes to the Stars Rewards program throughout 2019.

The room has already slashed rewards for MTT players by 55%. The cut to rewards took place in all the markets except for India and New Jersey where Stars Rewards made its debut only a few months ago.

Old Stars Rewards vs New Stars Rewards

As Rasset stated in his blog post, the values of these Chests have been significantly modified. Previously, players could win up to €100 in Blue Chests and up to €1000 in Platinum Chests, but the probability of winning such a prize was extremely low, as these top prizes were given away just one time in every 10,000 Chests (0.01%).

Now, the single maximum reward players can win is €700, but the probability of hitting such a prize is much higher than in the previous version of the Stars Rewards program. The €700 prize reward gets hit ten times in every 1000 Black Chests, meaning players have a 1% probability of hitting such a prize compared with the rare 0.01% probability in the previous system.

Another change is that the lowest tiered Chests (Blue) reward a fixed prize of €0.50. This step was taken following player’s most common complaint that Chests aren’t as “meaningful as [they] could be,” Rasset wrote on the company’s blog post. Previously, the lowest tiered Chests (Red) rewarded players with prizes ranging from €0.07 to €50 with the majority of the times the prize being just six or seven cents.

Stars Rewards Old Value

Red Blue Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
Expected Value € 0.15319 € 0.46168 € 1.16865 € 2.96857 € 7.49756 € 22.51576

According to our calculations, the average value of a Chest has more than tripled. In total, the combined expected value of all the chests has increased by approximately 216% compared to the previous program.

Stars Rewards Revamped Value

Blue Bronze Silver Gold Diamond Black
Expected Value € 0.5 € 1.2 € 3.0 € 10.0 € 25.0 € 70.0

However, the increase in each Chest’s value comes at a price. Chests are earned by collecting enough reward points to complete its progress bar. The requirements for leveling up are now much harder to earn than before. To ensure players do not find it difficult to complete a level within a reasonable amount of time, the room has added a new “exchange” feature that lets players redeem partial progress for a lower level Chest.

To celebrate the launch of the new-look Stars Rewards program, the Italian room is running a special promotion, Jackpot Chests, where players can win up to €1000 in extra bonuses. For a limited time in the Italian market, one in every 100 Jackpot Chests earned will award players a bonus ranging from €25 (in Blue Chests) up to €1000 (in Black Chests). The promotion ends on April 7.

The new revamped Stars Rewards is expected to roll out to the wider dot-com markets as well as the European segregated rooms later this year. It will be the room’s first overhaul of the program since it went live across the global market nearly two years ago. According to Rasset, the changes were 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.”

UFC Spin & Go and Split Omaha in the Pipeline

The room is also gearing up to launch two new games in the coming days, pokerfuse can reveal. Not only is PokerStars planning to launch Split Omaha—a game based on double board Omaha, but pokerfuse recently discovered that another new game has been in the works.

UFC-themed Spin & Gos could well be a new Spin & Go variant by PokerStars that may also utilize the knockout (KO) format. Based on its octagon-shaped table, we also suspect that it will be played 4-handed. No further details are known yet. Alternatively, the UFC-themed Spin & Gos may well be more a promotion rather than a new Spin & Go type variant.