Following successful rollouts in global and European markets, PokerStars is bringing its Stars Rewards program to the Jersey Shore.
Stars Rewards is replacing the more traditional volume-based, online poker and casino rewards program that was in place at PokerStars NJ.
How it will be received in a small, competitive market like New Jersey will be an interesting storyline to follow.
Stars Rewards at PokerStars NJ explained
The Stars Rewards program closely resembles the rewards programs used by many popular social apps.
Players receive daily and non-daily rewards, including increasing rewards based on the volume of play. And the program links real money play across all of PokerStars NJ’s product lines: poker, casino and sports betting.
What separates Stars Rewards from most NJ online poker VIP programs is personalization. Star Rewards is a personalized program with randomized prizes.
As such, anyone from a high-volume professional to a casual player in the penny limit games has the chance to win a “jackpot” type reward.
Here’s how it works
- Earn reward points by participating in real money gaming across all Stars products — casino (PokerStars Casino), poker, and sports betting (BetStars NJ).
- Collect enough points to unlock a Chest. A progress bar lets players know how far along they are.
- Chests are personalized based on playing habits and include prizes toward games you actively play, and games you might like based on your play.
PokerStars explains Stars Rewards thusly:
“With Stars Rewards you earn points that give you Chests filled with a variety of rewards personalized to the games that you like to play. Every Chest offers you the chance at winning a big prize, and the more you play, the bigger the Chests you’ll receive. You can also earn double points via daily boosts.”
PokerStars adds $250k in prizes to celebrate the launch
To celebrate the Garden State launch of Stars Rewards, PokerStars NJ is sweetening the pot with a special promotion that has an additional $250,000 in prizes.
“To celebrate the launch, we’re hiding cash prizes of $1,000 in thousands of random Chests, with $250,000 in prizes waiting to be claimed! Keep track of how much has been awarded with the prize tracker in the ‘My Stars’ area of the software.”
The promotional period will continue until all $250,000 has been claimed.
Stars Rewards geared toward the casual player
The shift away from a volume-based rewards system has been a controversial decision for PokerStars.
The company touts the positive impact of the new rewards program, but the professional poker community has derided the decision. For its part, PokerStars is unmoved by the complaints.
During its most recent earnings call, PokerStars stated the following:
“Since the beginning of 2016, The Stars Group has improved its poker ecosystem to benefit and attract high-value, net depositing customers (primarily recreational players) and reduce incentives for high-volume, net-withdrawing customers, and adjust the pricing on poker games and tournaments (also known as rake and tournament fees) on certain offerings (which resulted in an effective increase in pricing). The Corporation launched the Stars Rewards program in July 2017, which is an integrated cross vertical loyalty program focused on improving customer engagement, retention, and the player experience.”
PokerStars is happy, but the shift opened the door for competitors like PartyPoker.
GVC (the parent company of PartyPoker) has been sinking a lot of time and money into its poker product during the course of the last few years. The strategy is in part to entice the disenfranchised players by replicating the old PokerStars rewards model, and like PokerStars, it seems content with the results.
During its H1 2018 earnings call, GVC brass identified poker as its fastest growing brand.
The end result of these divergent strategies is likely several years away, which means it will remain a hot topic of debate within the poker community.