On Tuesday, PokerStars announced a minor change to its loyalty program, Stars Rewards. The change, which the online poker room touts as one that gives players “absolutely nothing to lose,” offers players the opportunity to cash in their progress bar for a lower-tier Chest with no restrictions.
Until this week, the progress bar had to be at least 50 percent full to exchange it for a Chest and the expiration date had to be within ten days. Now, it is always possible to exchange an incomplete progress bar for a Chest, no matter how full it is or how close or far from expiration it is.
Once an exchange is done, the progress bar is reset to the next lower level and the player will get a Chest at that level. Here is how PokerStars illustrates the new system:
For example, If you Exchange at Bronze, then your progress bar will reset and you’ll be awarded a Blue chest. If you Exchange at Gold, you’ll receive a Silver chest, and so on. Technically, you can Exchange multiple times down the tiers.
Of course, it might sound weird that someone would want to exchange their progress bar multiple times to fall down tiers, but PokerStars sees it as a way for players to control their Stars Rewards level. It is possible that someone happened to play a lot and move up, but felt more comfortable or had an easier time earning rewards at a lower level. Or maybe there they saw there was no way they would be able to move up. Having the ability to voluntarily move down while grabbing a bonus Chest could be a good move.
PokerStars rolled out its Stars Rewards system worldwide in July 2017, with a revamp last April. The most significant change last year was that the expected value of a Chest increased significantly. The previous expected value at each tier was as follows:
After the change and currently, the expected values are:
Blue: $0.60 (every Blue Chest is worth $0.60)
The expected values above are based on the possible values combined with their probabilities (I even did the math myself!). Rewards can be “StarsCoin that you can spend in the Rewards Store, to cash rebates and a variety of tickets and items tailored to you and the games you like to play,” according to PokerStars’ website.
Chests are earned by filling up the progress bar, which itself requires players to earn reward points. To remain at one’s current Chest level, a player needs to earn at least one Chest in a rolling 28-day period. Earn 10 chests in 28 days and a player moves up a tier.