Analyzing StarsCoin conversion rates at PokerStars
Online Poker Report

PokerStars Is About To Convert FPPs To StarsCoin – Should You Spend Your Points Now?

Currency exchange
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As part of PokerStars’ upcoming VIP Club changes, all Frequent Player Points (FPPs) will be converted to the site’s new virtual currency StarsCoin at a rate of 1.2 StarsCoin per FPP.

The changes are slated to go into effect on January 1.

For some players (primarily casual players), the conversion will increase the overall value of their accrued loyalty points.

Yet most players who frequent the site on a regular basis, and even some online poker hobbyists, will experience a net depreciation of their unspent FPPs, providing a material incentive for those players to spend points prior to the conversion.

Here’s a quick breakdown detailing how each loyalty tier segment will be impacted by the conversion.

BronzeStar

BronzeStar members, or those who accumulate less than 100 VPPs per month, will receive the fairest shake.

Currently, BronzeStar players that have accrued less than 1,000 FPPs are unable to convert their points into a cash bonus. And even those who have enough points to make the trade, can only do so at a rate of 1,000 FPPs per $10, equating to a value of $.01 per FPP.

Going further, BronzeStar members are unable to convert their points to tournament tickets, with their best option being spending FPPs on VIP Tournaments, such as the BronzeStars+ VIP $500 that currently runs twice daily.

The estimated value of a seat at these tournaments is roughly $.20. At a 20 FPP price point, that also equates to $.01 per FPP.

In either scenario, the conversion to StarsCoin will benefit BronzeStar players, who should experience a net appreciation of approximately 20%.

The new VIP Steps system will enable even the most casual players to receive incremental cashback rewards, even if they only amount to a few pennies at a time. These changes apply to all of PokerStars’ markets; some markets, including the UK online poker market, may see additional rewards depreciation in the months ahead as the impact of the POC tax is fully realized.

ChromeStar

ChromeStar players (100 – 500 monthly VPPs) are roughly in the same boat as BronzeStar players, the only real difference being that ChromeStars have a much more realistic opportunity to convert their existing FPPs into a cash bonus.

But they probably won’t want to, as the bonus conversion rate at the ChromeStar level is still only $.01 per FPP.

SilverStar

SilverStar players will likely have a mixed reaction to the upcoming conversion.

Currently, the cash bonus conversion rate at the SilverStar level is capped at $.0111 per FPP, meaning that for players who prefer to convert their loyalty points to cash, they’re slightly better off waiting until after the New Year.

On the other hand, tournament players are highly encouraged to spend their FPPs immediately.

SilverStars have a slew of tournament ticket purchasing options at their disposal. At the low end, players can exchange 700 FPPs for an $11 ticket, and at the high end can trade 13,500 points for a $215 entry.

The value of an FPP when converting to tournament tickets ranges from $.0157 – $.0159. As of January 1, unspent loyalty points will be worth between 24 – 25% less.

GoldStar

For GoldStar players, there is no scenario where waiting until the StarsCoin conversion will pose a benefit.

Players that regularly convert their FPPs to cash bonuses will experience neither an appreciation or depreciation of their loyalty points, as the best exchange rate currently available to GoldStars is $.012 per FPP, which is exactly the same as the FPP to StarsCoin conversion rate.

Tournament players who have achieved GoldStar+ can exchange FPPs at a rate that varies between $.0157 – $.0161. Like SilverStar players, GoldStar members who favor spending their points on tournament tickets are better off purchasing as many tickets as possible before Thursday’s deadline.

PlatinumStar

Here’s where the conversion to StarsCoin will really begin to have a profoundly negative impact.

Like SilverStar and GoldStar members, PlatinumStars can exchange their points for tournament tickets at a rate that averages out to about $.016 via FPP.

Going further, PlatinumStar is the first loyalty tier where players can exchange their FPPs at a rate that resides above the StarsCoin conversion.

A PlatinumStar can trade 15,400 for a $200 cash bonus. That equates to $.013 for every FPP spent. Waiting until the conversion goes into effect will result in a net value depreciation of approximately 8%.

SuperNova

SuperNova players will undoubtedly be hit the hardest by the conversion.

At minimum, the conversion will result in a 20% loss of value for players who have generated at least 100,000 VPPs in 2015.

SuperNovas currently have two cash bonus exchange options: $600 for 40,000 FPPs or $1,000 for 100,000 FPPs.

The former option enables players to convert points a rate of $.015 per FPP, while the latter offers an even more favorable exchange rate ($.016 per FPP). Tournament ticket exchange rates are the same as they are at GoldStar+, approximately $.016 per FPP.

Given these statistics, it’s fairly obvious that SuperNova players should be looking to convert all of their points prior to the changeover.

However, for players who prefer cash bonuses, that’s easier said than done.

Consider that a SuperNova player must earn over 11,000 VPP (~$2,100 in paid rate/entry fees) to earn the minimum number of FPPs required to qualify for a $600 bonus purchase.

To fully maximize their earnings, players have to go a step further, earning over 28,500 VPPs (~$5,200 in paid rake/fees) to cash in their points at a $.016 rate.

Thus, my advice to SuperNova+ players: Before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, cash in however many points you can, even if that means converting at a less than favorable bonus rate or exchanging FPPs for tournament tickets.

Image credit: Kenishirotie / Shutterstock.com

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Robert DellaFave
- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.