There is little doubt that PokerStars is the major player in online poker today. Ever since they first appeared back in 2000, the site has seen a spectacular rise to the top and they have been the dominant site in the industry for over a decade. In fact, at any given time of day, there are three times as many cash game players at PokerStars than any of their rivals – and many times this enjoying poker tournaments. In 2016 PokerStars took over their former rival, Full Tilt Poker, merging the player pools and games from the two sites.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The biggest advantage you’ll have by playing at PokerStars are the huge traffic levels. You’ll rarely have trouble finding a game, even at higher stakes. In areas where many rival sites will struggle to fill other poker varieties such as Omaha, the tables here are much busier. This site has slick and highly customizable software too, making the player experience a good one at all times. The customer service team at PokerStars has a great reputation too, known for dealing with any issues promptly and fairly.
The one downside of playing at PokerStars is the fact that the games can be tougher than usual. Multi-tabling is easy to do at the site and you’ll find that the best players will be playing a number of tables at once, so while you will find some fish at the games, it’s a sure thing you’ll be up against one or two sharks too.
Playing Legal Poker at www.PokerStars.com.com
PokerStars can be played across much of the globe, although play within the USA is limited to just one state currently (New Jersey) which has a site with a segregated player pool of NJ residents only. The largest section of the player base is in Europe and at peak times you can find as many as 20,000 players at the cash tables alone and many more enjoying poker tournaments.
With such high traffic levels, the site attracts both recreational and professional players. In recent years, the site has attempted to improve the recreational player’s experience by introducing games such as Zoom and Spin and Go, while the owners, Amaya, have also introduced a casino and sports betting.
As well as the desktop/laptop version of the site, you can play on the go too with a dedicated app for both Apple and Android devices.
PokerStars.com Bonuses and Promotions
New players at PokerStars can enjoy a 100% welcome bonus of up to $ / £400, and this bonus is cleared in increments of £10 every time you earn 200 VPP’s (loyalty points). Players who make a smaller than the maximum deposit can make up to three deposits within a 60-day window up to the maximum amount.
Players can also choose to opt for a $ / £20 free play bonus on a first deposit of £10 or more. Players will now receive a series cash bonuses and tickets. Days 1, 2, 3 and 5 will see you receive 5 $1 spin and go tickets, while days 4 and 6 will see a $5 cash bonus hit your account.
The PokerStars VIP club has six levels – bronze, chrome, silver, gold, platinum and supernova. You’ll move through these levels by earning points (VPP’s) at the table and rewards such as cash rebates, merchandise and tournament tickets can come your way as a reward for the earned points. Each successive level also awards more opportunities of entry into VIP tournaments.
PokerStars.com Deposits and Withdrawals
Players will find a large selection of deposit options at PokerStars. The most popular for many is via a debit or credit card such as MasterCard and Visa, each of these a recommended option by the site, alongside PayPal. Other options include additional e-wallets in Skrill or Neteller, Entropay and PaySafeCard or a rapid transfer and a local bank transfer.
The site has a similar wide range of withdrawal options, although you will usually be restricted to withdrawing back to the method you initially used to make your deposit.
PokerStars.com Game Selection
You can play virtually any kind of poker at PokerStars. When you head into the lobby you’ll see tabs across the top of the screen showing each format and here you’ll find a nice mix of the more traditional games such as cash, sit and goes and tournaments, alongside newer varieties such as zoom poker, spin and go and beat the clock events.
As well as the popular Holdem tables, both tournament and cash players can enjoy a whole host of other games, such as Omaha, 5 Card Draw and real-money 7 Card Stud and the traffic levels here mean a game is almost always available.
Zoom Poker is the high-speed cash game, where you’ll be playing a new hand the instant the previous hand ends, while ‘beat the clock’ is a fast-paced tournament format for players who don’t have the time to sit through a whole tournament. Spin and Go poker offers a series of 3 player hyper turbo tournaments, where players can win up to 10,000x the buy-in, the prize amount only revealed ‘slot machine’ style at the start of the game.
PokerStars was founded by Israeli programmer Isai Scheinberg and the site was launched in December 2001. The following year saw PokerStars introduce satellite tournaments for the World series of Poker and this would inadvertently fuel the rise of the site, as in 2003 Chris Moneymaker famously won the WSOP after qualifying through a satellite. This would see a dramatic rise for the site and they would soon become the number one site worldwide.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for PokerStars however, as the poker scene changed dramatically on April 15th, 2011. ‘Black Friday’ saw the US department of Justice closed down many major players in the industry, including PokerStars. This followed the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act five years earlier. PokerStars would immediately pull out of the US market, while business would continue as usual across the rest of the world. PokerStars returned to the US market in 2016, when regulation allowed a return in the state of New Jersey.