About a month-ish or so ago, PokerStars launched its new Stars Rewards loyalty program in Denmark and Italy. The world’s largest online poker room announced today that Stars Rewards has launched on Tuesday, July 4th in Spain, Portgual, and France and will roll out to the rest of the world on Thursday, July 6th. The one territory where Stars Rewards will not be seen is New Jersey; the poker room has not said if this is just for now or the Garden State will never get in on Stars Rewards.
In the Stars Rewards system, players still earn points based on how much they play, but other factors are taken into account, most notably a player’s “net deposits.” The existence of this factor makes it clear (not that we didn’t know this already) that PokerStars is gearing the new program to recreational players, who tend to be less skilled than those who play regularly and therefore tend to lose more many and are more likely to have to re-deposit.
The other big flashing light is that high stakes players will not receive rewards points. No rewards points will be earned in No-Limit and Pot-Limit cash game tables with blinds of $5/$10 or higher and Fixed-Limit games with stakes of $20/$40 and higher.
For all other games, 100 rewards points will be earned for every Euro (or US Dollar, depending on the currency used on the site) contributed to the rake or paid in tournament fees. Points will accumulate toward the unlocking of “Chests.” How many points are needed for any given Chest vary from player to player and can be seen via a progress bar in the poker client.
Inside each Chest is a mystery prize than can consist of cash, tournament tickets, rewards points, StarsCoin, free sports bets, free casino play, or things like live tournament satellite tickets or even seats to live tournaments themselves. Rewards are tailored to each player, so those who only player poker, for instance, need not worry about receiving free sports bets or slot pulls that they would never use.
Here are the maximum values for each type of Chest:
Red Chest – €50
Blue Chest – €100
Bronze Chest – €250
Silver Chest – €500
Gold Chest – €750
Platinum Chest – €1,000
Unfortunately, it looks like very few players will ever see that max value. According to a table on the PokerStars website, only 1 out of every 10,000 chests of any color will contain the max value. The vast majority of the time, what is in the Chest will only be a miniscule fraction of that. For instance, according to the PokerStars.fr site, 9,999 out of 10,000 Red Chests will contain prizes amounting to €0.65 or less.
Platinum Chests – max value of €1,000, remember – will have a total value of €20.74 or less 87 percent of the time.
One key to how good of a program this is for anyone, recreational player or not, will be how many points are actually required to unlock Chests. The early reports from the Denmark and Italy markets were not positive in that regard, as players felt that there were way too many rewards points required for too little value in prizes.