It appears PokerStars NJ is finally ready to join the PokerStars global online poker site in offering its popular Stars Rewards player loyalty program to players in the Garden State.
The PokerStars New Jersey site was the last remaining holdout still using the company’s old VIP Club program.
However, technical issues with the program surfaced recently, prompting PokerStars Head of Customer Loyalty Dylan Coady to take to a Two Plus Two Poker Forum thread last month. Coady explained that rather than continue to try to fix the issues, the NJ site would soon adopt the Stars Rewards player loyalty program instead:
“We haven’t been able to fix the lack of surfacing of the program in the NJ client. I won’t bore you with the technical details, but the issue was unforeseen and stems from maintaining two programs (VIP Club in New Jersey, Stars Rewards everywhere else) at the same time. At this stage, we don’t expect to fix the issue before we are in fact able to launch the new Stars Rewards program in New Jersey later this year.”
In the meantime, players affected by the VIP Club program issues received various StarsCoin credit for the inconvenience.
Coady also promised to update the thread with current information regarding the launch of Stars Rewards program in NJ and a timetable when available.
VIP Club versus Stars Rewards
The old VIP Club program rewards high volume players with a form of cashback called StarsCoin.
Players earn StarsCoin by completing various steps playing on the site. They also move up the ranks in the program, enjoying increased earning power as they climb the ladder.
StarsCoin earned can be used to purchase huge variety of rewards from the VIP Store. This includes poker related merchandise, in addition to tickets for Sit & Go’s, Spin & Go’s or other tournaments and cash.
The program and PokerStars itself came under fire in 2015 when it canceled rewards for its highest volume players quite late in the year. In fact, the site only made it public in November that players who had earned Supernova and Supernova Elite status in 2015 would not be receiving the benefits they had worked all year to earn.
The new Stars Rewards system is quite different. The ability to earn points that add up to award chests full of prizes replaces the tiered VIP Club system. Players find somewhat randomly awarded prizes inside the chests, including tournament tickets and cash awards.
The level of the chests are also tiered. This allows players to earn a more valuable level of chest the more they earn. However, volume of play is less valuable than previously. Instead, the Stars Rewards system takes stakes, frequency of play, and deposits into account. The program is specifically tailored to individual players.
PokerStars in New Jersey
The global site adopted the new program in 2017. It is now available everywhere PokerStars is, except New Jersey.
The company has since attributed growth in its online poker revenues to the Stars Rewards program. It has also claimed that only a small number of players have seen the value of their rewards decrease. However, an overwhelming majority have seen rewards increase.
PokerStars NJ launched in March 2016 and immediately became the New Jersey online poker market leader. However, there have been challenges to its position at the top of the NJ industry. In particular, the WSOP/888 network, which launched tri-state shared liquidity games in May 2018.