PokerStars international players can now receive 40% in rakeback through monthly challenges, plus 15% to 25% through chests

PokerStars Officially Launches New 65% Rakeback Rewards Program on Most Sites, But Not For US Players Yet

Today, PokerStars reached the end of a three-month trial of its new rewards system.

Its conclusions must have been positive, as the company has announced that it is making the new system permanent in most markets.

The new PokerStars Rewards program allows players to earn back up to 65% of what they pay in rake and tournament fees. This is a significant increase from the site’s earlier system, dating back to the Amaya era.

PokerStars Rewards launches in most non-US jurisdictions

According to today’s announcement, PokerStars used the trial period to solicit input from players. Players on the global dot-com site took part in the trial, along with those in France and Spain, competing on its ring-fenced European site. (Portuguese players are also included on that site, but seemingly weren’t part of the trial.)

“Listening to community feedback, we know our players want more rewards, more ways to earn rewards, more transparency and simplicity,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars Managing Director.

According to Rasset, the trial program was “very positively received” by participating players. Surveys showed “a 78% jump in satisfaction scores” among players.

This new 65% total rakeback at PokerStars comes from two sources. First is the “Core Program,” which offers up to 25% in direct rewards delivered via the now familiar Stars Rewards Chests. Players at most levels can also earn an additional 40% back by successfully completing Monthly Challenges.

As Severin mentions, added transparency is another factor differentiating the new program from the old one. Players can see at a glance where they stand, with a progress bar showing how many Chests they need to move up through the different Chest levels. More importantly, the value of the Chests is now fixed, not randomized as it has been for several years.

Meanwhile the Monthly Challenges are not open to players at the lowest Chest levels (Blue and Bronze), but are to everyone else. The requirements and rewards for these both scale with the player’s Chest level, but the ratio is the same 40% regardless.

Who has access to the new Rewards program?

The new PokerStars Rewards program launches today in most of the site’s various jurisdictions. That includes the dot-com and European sites, and players on most regional sites which share traffic with the global player pool, such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Portugal, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, The program is not available as yet at any of PokerStars’ US sites, i.e. Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey. Nor is it available in Italy or India. Additionally, local regulations prevent players in the Czech Republic and Greece from participating in the Monthly Challenges, though players in those countries still get 25% via the Rewards chests.

Increased rewards recalls earlier PokerStars program, challenges competitors

As noted, the new system retains the old Chest levels from the previous system, though now with fixed values. Gone, however, is the slower progress rate for tournament players. Players acquire reward points at a rate of 100 points for every $1 they pay, regardless of game type. For cash games, that’s the same as always. However, from Feb. 2019 until now, tournament fees had only generated rewards at 45% of that rate.

Ascending through the Chest Levels increases the percentage of rakeback a player receives from a starting point of 15% to a maximum 25%. Adding to this the flat 40% for Monthly Challenges for those at Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Black levels, players can achieve as much as 65% in total rakeback. Players accumulate rewards as follows:

Core Program   PokerStars RewardsMonthly Challenges 
Chest LevelReward Points RequirementsChests to Level UpChest ValueReward %Cashback Up To %Total Rewards Up To %

The 65% total nearly rivals the rewards of PokerStars’ earlier, popular SuperNova Elite program. It also compares favorably with current programs offered by PokerStars competitors GGPoker and partypoker.

It’s worth noting, however, that players can only complete five Challenges per month. After that, they’ll be earning only the 15% to 25% from Chests.

- Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.
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