PokerStars has overhauled its loyalty program, Stars Rewards, spanning several major markets including the dot-com international player pool as well as the European segregated markets.
The changes to the rewards program were first rolled out in the Italian market last week. The Italian segregated room has often been used as a test bed by the company in the past.
“We’re launching [revamped Stars Rewards] in all other markets with the exception of New Jersey, today, a spokesperson for The Stars Group responded to our queries, ahead of the changes going live. “This includes India and EU markets.”
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Prior to the launch of the new rewards program in Italy, pokerfuse had speculated that the room would soon be making tweaks, including the removal of Red Chests and the addition of a new Black Chest. A few hours later, it was revealed that the revamped version was live in the Italian segregated market.
As seen in the Italian system, Red and Platinum Chests have been replaced with Diamond and Black Chests. Blue Chests are now the lowest tiered Chests, replacing Red; while the newly added Black Chests are the program’s highest valued Chest.
The international version of Stars Rewards follows the same payout model as the one which was implemented in Italy. The top prizes for each of the Chests have been reduced so the payouts are less top-heavy. In the old program, Platinum—the highest tiered Chest—had a $1000 top prize. Now, the highest tiered Black Chest is capped at $700, but the probability of hitting such a top prize has also increased significantly.
Blue Chests—the lowest tiered Chests now have a fixed prize of 50 cents. Gold Chests are worth $10 on average; Diamond are $25; Black—the highest tier, are worth $70.
Stars Rewards Old Value (Global Market)
|Expected Value||$ 0.15319||$ 0.46168||$ 1.16865||$ 2.96857||$ 7.49756||$ 22.51576|
Stars Rewards Revamped Value (Global Market)
|Expected Value||$ 0.5||$ 1.2||$ 3.0||$ 10.0||$ 25.0||$ 70.0|
This payout table has been used in all the markets except for the Indian market where a different paytable is being used.
Stars Rewards Chest Old Value (Indian Market)
Stars Rewards Chest New Value (Indian Market)
While the value of these Chests may have increased by more than three times, the requirements to move up to a higher Chest is now also much harder to earn than before.
For instance, previously the lowest tier Red Chest required a minimum of 150 reward points (although this requirement differed player to player) to earn that chest. Now, the Blue Chests which are now the lowest tier Chests, require a minimum of 350 reward points—meaning points requirements have increased around 2.3x.
“As you know, point requirements are not publicly released, but at the time of today’s launch the easiest point requirements for the Blue Chest will be 350 reward points,” a TSG spokesperson told pokerfuse.
“As you’ve already noticed, Chest expected values have more than tripled. Point requirements are increasing anywhere from 2x up to 3x depending on the player’s profile,” he added.
Another notable change is that players no longer have to earn four Chests in a day to move up to the next tier. Instead, the new version has been simplified so players can move to next tier chest by earning 10 chests over a rolling 28-day period.
The “Boost” feature which doubled the speed of fueling the progress bar, has now been removed, instead, a new “exchange” feature has been added that lets players redeem partial progress for a lower level Chest.
These changes were first announced by Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations in a PokerStars’ blog post in early February. According to Rasset, the improvements to the Stars Rewards were designed with the aim to simplify the rewards program and improve the experience of opening Chests to make it more meaningful.
PokerStars is currently running a special promotion “Jackpot Chests” for a limited time where players can win up to $1000. The promotion ends on April 14.
New Jersey Left Out
Curiously, the room has opted not to overhaul the old Stars Rewards program with the new one in the New Jersey market. The personalized rewards program made its debut in this market in November 2018. It was the last market to use the decade-old VIP tier system, which rewarded high volume players with big cashback incentives.