PokerStars New Jersey to Join Stars Rewards

PokerStars New Jersey to Join Stars Rewards

New Jersey online poker players are in a league of their own. While those playing on WSOP/888 are able to connect with players in Nevada and Delaware, those on sites like PokerStars are separated from the other American states and the rest of the world.

That sounded more dramatic than intended.

Nevertheless, PokerStars NJ is its own entity in more ways than one, including its continuing participation in the VIP Club, the last market doing so. While PokerStars has switched over to Stars Rewards in all other markets, New Jersey players are still in the old program.

Finally, though, the launchpad for PokerStars in the new United States state-by-state market will be upgrading to Stars Rewards later this year. Many players don’t have a distinct preference, but the current system has been problematic for some time, and they can soon wave goodbye to those issues.

Eliminating a Broken System

It is unclear what has been causing the problems in the New Jersey VIP Club. The progress bar hasn’t been displaying, which keeps players from being able to track their rewards as they play. While players are supposedly earning their VIP Steps and StarsCoin, they’re unable to see how close they are to new next steps and actual rewards.

PokerStars NJ has responded in forum posts and via messages to players, as Head of Customer Loyalty Dylan Coady noted the technical issues are being addressed. And players will be rewarded with extra rewards at the end of each month of problems. Instead of earning the normal 50% of the pro-rated value of the monthly progress, they will be credited with the full value as a way of making up for the issues and inconveniences. Some players are also receiving extra StarsCoin bonuses as friendly gestures.

Not only is this costing PokerStars, it is frustrating for everyday players.

The latest update, however, prompted Coady to reveal the upcoming change. At the end of July, he wrote, “As I’m sure you’re aware, 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.”

Implementing New Rewards

The VIP Club was the last vestige of the past PokerStars rewards program that offered significant benefits to high-stakes and high-volume players. The elimination of those perks over the past few years was difficult for poker pros to accept and account for in their income. But PokerStars considered it necessary for growth and its shifted focus to a recreational player base.

The basis of the VIP Club was the amount of play, as more volume was rewarded by a rising VIP status, which offered more perks like cash rebates, tickets for tournaments and SNGs, and satellite opportunities. Players could earn their way from Bronze status to Chrome, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Supernova.

In contrast, the Stars Rewards program allows PokerStars to tailor its rewards per each player’s online habits. While players will still earn reward points for playing real-money poker online, players no longer climb the ranks to achieve certain status. Instead, they win a chest to open, which contains things like StarsCoin and tickets. StarsCoin can be spent in the Rewards Store, which contains everything from PokerStars clothing and charity donations to cash rebates and tournament tickets. And chests are not only awarded based on stakes and volume but general playing habits, number of deposits, etc. Players can also earn their way to chests by playing the online casino games and wagering in the sportsbook.

New Jersey players can benefit from the rewards shared on the casino and poker verticals, and they will likely benefit from an eventual sports betting platform.

According to Pokerfuse, PokerStars and parent company The Stars Group have benefited greatly from the switch over to Stars Rewards. While professional and high-volume players have seen a dramatic decrease in their benefits, more recreational players are now receiving awards for their play. The increase for the average player is 20%, and the company’s revenue 13% online revenue growth is mainly attributed to the rewards system change.

There is no current timeline for New Jersey players to see the transition to Stars Rewards, but that information will likely be released soon so players can ask questions and fully understand the changes that will take place this year.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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