In February, PokerStars announced that it was going to make adjustments to its Stars Rewards program, adjustments it believes will benefit players. In March, those changes were made in the Italian market and now they have propagated to the rest of PokerStars’ sites except for New Jersey.
In the earlier announcement on the PokerStars blog, these were the changes that Severin Rasset said would be enacted:
• 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.
Let’s start with how players level up. Previously, players had to advance four levels in a day to make it to the next level. Now it’s not as urgent of a situation, requiring ten Chests, but over a rolling 28-day period. The problem, though, is that Chests are now more difficult to earn. Fortunately, there’s that new exchange feature, which lets players cash in partial Chests.
More Rewards, Less Frequently
The most significant change is that the Chest values have increased, as promised. Previously, especially for those on the low end, Chest values were pitiful. The lowest level Chests could be expected to be worth literally just a few cents. Here is a look at the previous expected value (based on PokerStars probabilities table) for each Chest tier:
Blue: $0.50 (every Blue Chest is worth exactly this)
Yes, the color tiers have been changed, for some reason. What’s important, though, is that the average Chest value at each equivalent tier is much greater. The problem, though, as mentioned earlier, is that Chests themselves are tougher to claim.
Sorry, Tournament Players
The other change to the Stars Rewards program was already rolled out in February and it’s not good for tournament players. Previously, players earned 100 Rewards points for every dollar in multi-table tournament fees. Now that amount is just 45 points. Ouch. PokerStars tried to say this is all ok in its February blog post:
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. 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.