PokerStars Online Poker Review
- Receive $20 free when you make your first deposit
- PokerStars is going to be opening soon in New Jersey
- Largest online poker site in the world
- Highest cash game limits in the world
- Most poker variants offered
- Largest online poker tournaments in the world
- Home of the World Championship of Online Poker
- Site frequented by top pros may discourage some recreational players
- Deposit options may be limited in some countries
- PokerStars is not available in the United States except for New Jersey
PokerStars is the largest online poker site in the world. Operated by Amaya Inc., PokerStars is the industry leader for online poker. They offer the most games, largest limits in online cash games and the most lucrative online poker tournaments in the world.
For over a decade, most of the major developments in the online poker world have either been started or perfected by PokerStars. They have also influenced the live tournament circuit through their partnerships with the European Poker Tour and the now-defunct North American Poker Tour.
In addition, certain variants presently offered in live events were a direct result of their popularity on PokerStars. Examples of this include the rise of six-handed NL Hold’em tournaments as well as mixed game event, PL Omaha Hi-Lo and much more.
Despite taking a major hit in traffic after leaving the U.S. market, PokerStars has remained the top site in the world.
PokerStars in the United States
PokerStars was one of the most popular online poker sites in the United States pre-Black Friday, when the United States Department of Justice indicted the site for violations of the UIGEA and for money laundering.
The company later settled with the Department of Justice and purchased Full Tilt Poker. Their purchase of Full Tilt required they repay close to $400 million to former players worldwide.
In recent years, PokerStars has been attempting to make a return to the United States as part of the regulated market place. Their initial application with the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement was put on hold due to their continued association with founder Isai Scheinberg. That prompted the sale of the Rational Group (PokerStars’ parent company) to the Amaya Gaming Group in 2014.
PokerStars’ application was reinstated following the purchase of the company by Amaya. The DGE conducted an extensive review of the sale of the Rational Group to Amaya, a review that took over a year to complete. On September 30, 2015, the DGE announced that Amaya, Inc. received a transactional waiver that will allow them to operate PokerStars and Full Tilt in New Jersey. A launch date has yet to be announced.
The PokerStars client is the standard that other sites hope to emulate. Their elite team of programmers have developed a poker client that is almost completely bug free and seldom experiences unplanned downtime.
When you launch PokerStars, you are greeted with the a tabular interface that most other online poker sites have copied. All games are available for review with a couple of clicks of the mouse and you can access various customization settings from the menu.
Speaking of customization, PokerStars offers you the ability to customize nearly every part of the poker client. Some options include a four-color deck, various themes for tables, customizable avatars and resizable tables.
Once you launch a table, you will find that they have been optimized for game play with controls setup smartly and with graphics that don’t overpower. In addition, tables are setup with a dynamic design that will still give all necessary options for game play when resized. Overall, you will experience a client that gives the feel of playing live casino poker without having to make the long drive.
PokerStars support set the standard for online support. If you’re a “do it yourself” type of person, they have a FAQ section on their website with answers to common questions. Otherwise, your only other option for support is email. While that may seem like a negative, PokerStars provides speedy email support with an average 4-hour turnaround.
PokerStars Promotions & Games
PokerStars has the largest spread of online poker games in the world. They spread most of the popular poker variants plus some you will find nowhere else. Here is a quick list of what they offer:
- Texas Hold’em
- Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo
- Stud and Stud 8 or Better
- Five Card Draw
- Triple Draw and Single Draw Lowball
- Mixed Games (8-Game, 10-Game, H.O.R.S.E.)
PokerStars spread the highest limits in the world ranging from micro stakes all the way to $1000/$2000. In addition, they offer CAP games where there is a limit on the maximum size of each pot.
PokerStars offers some of the best online poker promotions, including a generous welcome package for new players. Signup for a new account today and receive $20 free to test out their client. Just enter ‘FREE20’ when signing up.
Once you are ready to make your first deposit, PokerStars will match your first deposit 100% up to $600. Just enter STARS600 when you deposit. This bonus is clearable at the rate of $10 for every 200 VPP’s earned.
PokerStars also offers various promotions throughout the year in the form of reload bonuses, freeroll entries and special tournament events. Head over to the PokerStars website and click on Special Offers to learn more.
PokerStars Rewards & Loyalty Programs
The PokerStars VIP Club gives you the chance to earn free gifts, cash prizes and tournament entries just for playing online poker.
As you play on PokerStars, you earn 5.5 VPPs for every $1 raked in cash games or tournaments. VPPs determine your status each month. In addition, for every VPP you earn, you also earn FPPs. These are the points you use to redeem tourney tickets, cash back and other prizes from the PokerStars VIP Store.
The VIP program has seven levels with perks for each level. As you move up in levels, multipliers apply for FPPs. Starting at SilverStars you earn at least 1.5 FPP for every VPP earned. Check out our quick overview of tiers below:
|Vip Level||Points Needed to Earn||Special Perks|
|BronzeStar||Default||Entry to VIP Club Live Parties|
|Chromestar||100 VPPs Monthly||VIP Stellar Rebates, Entry to 100k Privilege Freerolls|
|SilverStar||500 VPP’s Monthly||1.5 FPPs for Every VIP, Redeem FPPs for tourney tickets, VIP Bash Satellites entry|
|GoldStar||2,500 VPPs Monthly||2 FPPs for every VPP, Entry to VIP $100k Montlhy Tourneys|
|PlatinumStar||7,500 VPPs Monthly||2.5 FPPs for every VPP, Access to value-added Sunday Million Satellites|
|SuperNova||100,000 VPPs Annually||3.5 FPPs for every VPP, Claim up to $23k in Milestones Rebates, VIP $1M Quarterly tourneys access, Priority Support and Concierge Service|
|SuperNova Elite||1 Million VPPs Annually||5 FPPs for every VPP, $43 in Milestone rebates|
To learn more about the PokerStars VIP Club, head to their website, point to More and then VIP Club.
PokerStars Deposit & Withdrawal Options
PokerStars offers a myriad of online poker funding options for players looking to make their first deposit. Below are a few of the deposit options offered by PokerStars:
- Instant e-checks
- Visa / MasterCard
- Diners Club International
- Money Order / Cashiers Check
When you’re ready to make a withdrawal, you have plenty of options to request your funds. Below are a few:
- Bank transfer (ACH)
- Check by Mail (May take up to 5 business days)
Please note that some countries have additional deposit and withdrawal options. To learn which options are available in your country, login to the PokerStars client and click on Cashier.
Tournaments at PokerStars
PokerStars offers the largest and most lucrative tournaments in the world. Buy-ins are available as low as .01 and range up to as high as $50,000 in special circumstances. A tournament starts every second on PokerStars so you will always find plenty of tournament action.
PokerStars is famous for their Sunday Majors with over $2.8 million in guarantees weekly. The Sunday Million is the richest weekly online poker event with $1 million guaranteed weekly.
PokerStars is also the home of the World Championship of Online Poker, the richest annual online poker tournament event in the world. They also hold Spring and Turbo COOP at other points during the year.
Every form of online poker tournament is available on PokerStars. To learn more, go to their website, point to More and click on Tournaments.
PokerStars is the largest online poker site in the world, averaging over 22,000 cash game players during peak hours and sometimes over 100,000 tournament players on Sundays. If you’re in a legal destination where online poker is allowed, then PokerStars is a site you must play.
PokerStars spreads every form of online poker imaginable and has games at all limits. It is the site where most of the pros go to play and some have even moved outside of the United States to continue playing there.
If you’re serious about online poker, you should be playing at PokerStars. They offer $20 for new players as well as a generous deposit bonus. Signup today and discover why they are the #1 site in the world.
For those of you waiting for PokerStars’ return to the United States, we can only urge patience. The legal climate surrounding the site is still cloudy due to the sites past transgressions. While they are owned by a new company, some lawmakers cannot separate the old company from the Amaya-run PokerStars.
Now that PokerStars has been licensed in New Jersey we believe that they will have an easier time expanding to other states once they legalize online poker. In time, we believe that PokerStars will be allowed to offer online poker in most regulated states, including California. We do expect this to be a slower process, which requires our patience as well as our support.