PokerStars is the largest online poker platform in the world today, having first started their operations back in 2001. They have more players on their platform than all of the other sites put together. They have honed their offering over the years into something that takes the breath away. They have learned what their players want and what they don’t like. No matter what type of poker you are into, the PokerStars legal offering will have it for you. They have been back expanding in the US market as of late, bringing their offering back to poker enthusiasts. You get a truly all-round experience when it comes to this offering. In this PokerStars review, you will see everything you need to know about the PokerStars platform.
Cash Game & Tournament Offer
You will have access to a massive player base when it comes to PokerStars cash games. While the active players during the week will be somewhat lower than at the weekend, you will still have many thousands using the platform on a daily basis. Therefore, you are never going to be short of the opportunity to join a game. Normally, the more recreational players will be on the site on peak hours over the weekend. The PokerStars tournaments are also very popular, with many different events on offer throughout the entire week. The bigger events naturally take place over the weekend with guaranteed prize pools in many cases. PokerStars for US players is the only platform that caters for non Texas hold ’em games paired with the player traffic to consistently get a game.
In general, you can choose from hold ‘em, Omaha and a variety of mixed poker games. Games begin as low as $0.01/$0.02 and will go as high as $200/$400 in most cases. The most popular options will be micro stakes while the high roller games generally are heads up matchups rather than 6 or 9 seater tables. For limit hold’em, you can get games with blinds of up to $1,000/$2,000. One of the most popular PokerStars real money tournaments in the Sunday million, where a prize pool of $1 million is guaranteed. Finally, there are many different types of sit and go event son offer, as well as hyper turbo options which are extremely fast sit and gos. A new game type that is on offer at PokerStars is spin and go. This is a three hands event and there is a random draw conducted to dictate how big the prize pool is. This means you can get a prize pool that is much more than the proportions of your buy-in.
Welcome Bonus & Promotions
A great way to kick off your new PokerStars account is to take advantage of their welcome offer for new customers. PokerStars take care not only of their new players, but also of those already registered.
- When you make your first real money deposit to your PokerStars account of at least $20 you will get $30 worth of bonus funds. You will also need to use the PokerStars bonus code FREE30 when you are making this first deposit in order to activate the bonus. You will get this bonus spread out over the course of six days. It will be in the guise of x20 $1 spin and go tournament ticket entry and $10 of a cash bonus that you can use as you see fit. You will have 21 days to use these bonus funds and tickets before they expire.
- There is also another part of this welcome offer. You will also have your first deposit matched 100%, up to a max bonus of $600. You will need to enter in the bonus code STARS600 in order to receive this bonus. These bonus funds will be released in increments over time rather than receiving it all at once. The wagering requirements need to be met within four months and it is generally a good offer when comparing to other platform's deposit bonuses.
- In terms of rewarding regular players for their loyalty to the PokerStars America platform, they can take advantage of regular offers also. These will vary from week to week and can be in the form of free entries into tournaments and draws to win tickets to exciting poker events.
Bonus & Condition details
Rake & VIP Program
The PokerStars rake has a no flop, no drop policy which means that if the hand is over before the flop has been seen then there will be no rake taken. There is a linear rake system in place at PokerStars and it now has the lowest level of rake in the sector today. For small stakes such as $0.01/$0.02 the rake is going to be 3.5% with a cap of $0.30. The levels of rake will vary depending on the size of the blinds and how many players are in the game. For tournaments, the rake will range from 6% to 10% of your buy-in. Most of the fee will go towards the prize pool, with the other portion going to PokerStars as the rake.
As part of their loyalty program, you can get some good PokerStars rake back deals. This is a unique loyalty program. You do earn loyalty points like you would on any other platforms when playing hands of poker. However, instead of a tier system where you get pre-defined rewards, along your journey you will instead unlock treasure chest that will have StarsCoins and personalized rewards. The StarsCoins can be used when buying items from the store or for live events and the likes of tournament entries. For each $1 you spend on cash games or tournament entries, you will get 100 reward points. Whenever you fill the progress bar on your account, a new chest will be available for you to open. You will get a randomized amount of reward points every time that you open one of these chests. If you fill a certain amount of bars on a given day, then you can get an upgrade for an improved chest. This can have prizes of up to $1,000.
Traffic & Network
PokerStars is by far the biggest online platform in the space today, with tens of thousands of players active on the platform across the world. For the PokerStars in USA offering, you will always have enough traffic to get into your favorite games. You will really be spoilt for choice in this regard. If you are into games that are not Hold Em, PokerStars will be the only true option for you as you will struggle to get full games in other poker variants on the other types of online poker sites. Therefore, if you want to always be able to get into a game when you want, PokerStars game types are for you.
Mobile Poker App
Naturally, the PokerStars app is one of the best in the space today. You will have access to all PokerStars game types, tournaments and the likes of zoom poker from your Android or Apple device. You will get a good level of function from these apps, as well as having decent speed levels.
This app was carefully built from the ground up to be a smooth playing experience for players and it duly delivers. You can also play on the PokerStars browser version, but this will not be as good of an experience as playing through a downloaded app. You have access to most of the same features on this mobile offering as you would with the desktop version. Therefore, you will not be losing out too much if you are playing on the go and you are away from your computer setup.
Your first port of call if you have an issue with the PokerStars platform will be to access the FAQ section. This will hold the answers for the majority of questions that players may have. By referencing this section, you can save yourself a lot of time as you will not have to get in touch with the PokerStars help team. If you cannot find a resolution to your query in the FAQ section, you cannot give the PokerStars helpline a call.
This is a big drawback from the platform as most of their competitors will have fully manned helplines. For those quick and simple questions, you have no PokerStars live chat function to use either. Therefore, if you have any issues and need to talk with a member of the customer support team, then the PokerStars email support team will be your only option. You can give and get detailed correspondence. This PokerStars help team is available around the clock, so you don’t have to wait to get back to your game for too long.
Some banks will not process payments made to online gambling platforms and you will then have to use another option but here are a number of different PokerStars deposit methods for you to choose from. You can use;
You are able to make fast deposits by using MasterCard, Visa, Neteller and Skrill. There also may be fees levied by your bank on the likes of credit card transactions. There is a minimum deposit in place of $10. When it comes to making a withdrawal from your PokerStars account, you can do so through MuchBetter, Skrill, Neteller, Visa, direct bank transfer or by a wire transfer. Some of the options will have associated costs. Sometimes when you are making your first withdrawal on PokerStars you will need to provide some form of proof of identity.
Usability & Software
PokerStars has many years of experience in the online poker space and a result they know what their players want when it comes to the platform and its performance. The PokerStars platform and software has been built from the ground up. You have the option to download the PokerStars poker client and play on your desktop or you can play through a web browser. The same goes for when you are playing on your mobile device.
They constantly tweak and change features to make for a better experience for the player. The software will operate smoothly and you will not be facing any potentially costly glitches that could harm your chances of success. The sharp graphics and customization options make this the best software in the space today. The navigation system is intuitive and the color scheme makes all of the text really pop out. You won’t find a better offering.
PokerStars takes the security of their players very seriously. The players funds are kept safe as the account on PokerStars are kept segregated from the company's accounts. These are under the oversight of a major European bank and it keeps the funds safe and secure in case anything happens to PokerStars. They are regulated across the world, including in the United States by some of the best authorities. PokerStars is licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This means that everything they do is closely watched by independent authorities. The best in encryption technology is used to protect the data of players and you can use additional forms of security on your account if you wish to do so.
There are many different aspects of the PokerStars platform that stands out from the crowd. They have innovative games on offer, such as spin and go. Their loyalty rewards program is one of a kind and is a lot more exciting than the boring offerings seen with their competitors. Going forward, you can expect PokerStars to continue evolving their platform to stay ahead of their competition and to cement their position at the top of the online poker market.
FAQPokerStars Poker: Often asked and answered here
PokerStars has a presence right across the world. However, some countries have closed off markets meaning you can only play with fellow residents of the nation or a given state. This is the case in the US, so you need to be in a state where PokerStars is on offer, as well as being of the right age.
This program is unlike any of their competitors who will usually just have a tiered system consisting of cash back awards. At PokerStars, you will regularly unlock special chests which contain all sorts of different prizes.
While the FAQ section is pretty comprehensive and the email support team is pretty responsive, it would be nice to have a live chat option and/or an option to ring them by phone. This may be something that is added to the platform in the future.
There are a few unique game types on offer, such as spin and go. This is a new type of game which allows for extremely rapid sit and go events. They are always testing and bringing new types of events to the market, so it is always a good idea to keep your eye on any new releases.
No, you need to use the same account all of the time. You are able to have accounts with other online poker platforms if you choose to do so. This gives you more access to different types of offers and game features.