A month ago, PokerStars announced that it was making changes to the Stars Rewards program. On adjustment was a bad one for tournament players, reducing the rewards points for multi-table tournaments by 55 percent. The poker site said the rewards would be distributed elsewhere, such as guarantees in various tournament series, but that is going to be a tough sell for tournament players. The other changes were to happen “later this year,” but it looks like they have already begun.
The Italian market is the first to see the modifications to the Stars Rewards system, as the Stars Rewards Chests have been tweaked. Here is what Severin Rasset said would happen in PokerStars blog post in February:
• Adjusting the frequency and value of Stars Rewards Chests. The value of each Chest will be more than tripled, with the frequency of earning them reduced by a similar factor.
• Removing the ‘boost’ feature as an always available feature and transferring the majority of the value customers earned from the boost into the value inside the Chests themselves.
• Implementing new, easier to understand rules for how customers move up and down the 6 Chests levels. Moving up a Chest level will be achieved by earning 10 Chests over a rolling 28-day period and every progress bar will have a 28-day expiry to compete (failing to complete will move you down a Chest level).
• The addition of a new ‘Exchange’ feature which will let players who are struggling to complete their progress bar in a reasonable amount of time the option to trade in their partial progress for an immediate reward.
The six tiers of Chests, but the color rankings have changed to Blue, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Black. The value of the Chests has certainly increased. For instance, in the previous lowest tier (Red), 99.999 percent of the time, they were worth €0.70 or less and 88 percent of the time, they were worth €0.42 or less. The Blue, lowest tier Chests are now always worth €0.50. The other Chests have rewards tiers, but the expected value is much higher than before, even if the highest reward possibility per Chest might be lower. That highest possible prize is also ten times more probable, going from a one in 10,000 chance to a ten in 10,000 chance.
The leveling-up mechanic is now what was announced in February, with a player needing to earn ten chests during a rolling 28-period to move up levels, rather than four Chests in a day. The requirements to earn a Chest, namely Stars Rewards Points, have become steeper, though. The good thing, however, is that players will feel less pressure to play every day to advance up the Stars Rewards ladder.
And, as explained in the earlier blog post, players who don’t think they’ll make it to the next Chest tier can exchange points for a partial reward.
It is not known when the new Stars Rewards changes will roll out to other PokerStars markets, but it feels like it will be soon, as Italy often serves as kind of a test country for Stars, with other countries coming shortly thereafter.