Poker players in New Jersey and around the world may have received some unwelcoming news this week. PokerStars will reduce the reward point earning rate for MTTs in its Stars Rewards program. This change is the first of several tweaks expected throughout 2019.
Specifically, the site announced the changes include a reduction in the reward point earning rate for scheduled multi-table tournaments (MTT), shifting from 100 reward points for every $/€1 in tournament fees paid to 45 reward points.
This change will go into effect in all countries that PokerStars is available on Friday, Feb. 15. The company says it will continue to tweak the Stars Rewards program as it receives player feedback on how to focus its investments.
“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,” the company said in a news release via its blog.
The changes apply to New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania, which is set to go online soon.
The company has already partnered with Mount Airy Casino to launch online gambling in the Keystone State, including poker. PA offers PokerStars the first opportunity to expand its footprint in the US since entering the New Jersey market.
More Stars Rewards changes to come
Along with the reduction in rewards points for player rake, the company said players should anticipate more changes this year. Many meant to address the most common complaint of players, “that the experience of opening a Chest isn’t as meaningful as it could be,” according to the company.
PokerStars is also hoping to simplify the core elements of the rewards program to make it easier to understand. While there may be a reduction in reward points in multi-table tournaments, the site is hoping to shift some of those rewards to other playing opportunities.
Some of the changes players should anticipate in the coming months include:
- Alterations to the frequency and value of Stars Rewards’ Chests. PokerStars plans to triple the value of each Chest with the rate of earning them reduced by a similar factor.
- The “boost” feature will no longer be a regular feature, and PokerStars will transfer that feature’s value into the Chests themselves.
- PokerStars promises new and easier-to-understand rules for how customers move up and down the six Chest levels. Players will now need to earn 10 Chests over a rolling 28-day period to move up a level. Otherwise, they will move down a level.
- A new exchange feature will allow players to trade in their partial progress bars for a reward.
Reaction on social media to the rewards reduction wasn’t positive; some players were weighing on the move across Twitter.
“We need to diminish RB, it’s costing us too much money.
-hold on a minute, then how do we trick these fools into thinking that they’re still getting rewarded for their play?
Behold: Chest game”
— Martin Jacobson (@Martin_Jacobson) February 14, 2019
As the dude who just won 2 Turboseries in a day and 50% ROI in everything I reg; rake does not affect me. But I will be boycotting the 5k on @PokerStars because it's -EV rake/structure combo. @partypoker has a nice 3k, great structure/halfrake that I will be shipping instead. pic.twitter.com/rj76cIQAe6
— giraf ganger (@Girafganger7) February 13, 2019
Just excluded myself from playing @PokerStars for 60 days as a protest. Hope others will as well. Will most likely extend that time
Hello @RunItOncePoker @partypoker @888poker. Im coming over. Might even register on @natural8 if it is open in my country
— TheOtherGuy (@The_Otherr_Guy) February 13, 2019
Whether the reduction will affect the player pool at the top poker site is a different question altogether.
On the PokerScout global traffic report on Wednesday, the main PokerStars’ site reported a seven-day average of 9,000 players and ranked No. 1. The European (Spain, France, Portugal) and Italian offerings also ranked well, third and 11th, respectively.