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PokerStars Review

PokerStars is home to $1 million+ GTD tournaments, the best software by any standard, and every poker game variant to suit every type of player. Find more details below. 

Why Play at PokerStars?

  • #1 online poker site for the past decade.
  • Unmatched cash-game and tournament selection.
  • Major tournament festivals with multi-million-dollar prizepools.
  • Best game selection in the US regulated market (PokerStars NJ, PA & MI).
  • Great satellites to EPT, PSPC & more live tournaments.

POKERSTARS SUMMARY 


All in all, few poker sites have been able to compete with PokerStars when it comes to a full-on, multi-dimensional online poker experience. And nothing, even today, can compete with this operator when it comes to poker tournament variety and life-changing prize pools. Make no mistake - despite an up-and-down few years PokerStars still sets the bar by most standards in the online poker industry.

The PokerStars software is still the best (by far). Its game and tournament selection are second to none and its overall traffic volume on all of its branded sites (PokerStars.com, PokerStars.eu, PokerStars NJ and more) is still the highest (also by far). The new combined player pool for Spain, France, Italy and Portugal will also likely be the top in Southern Europe.

PokerStars also has standard-bearing new poker variations like Zoom Poker, Spin & Gos, Power Up, and Home Games to offer AND it's the only site where you can find action in Mixed Games and lesser-known poker variations like Courchevel and Badugi.

Did we mention live satellites yet? Because PokerStars still offers some of the most accessible ways to win packages to amazing live poker events like the PSPCA, EPT and more. Oh, and don't forget the Sunday Special. This, combined with a plethora of annual events, including COOPs, make this the place to be for real money online poker tournaments.

PokerStars Rewards Update

If you haven't been keeping up with the ins and outs of the poker industry for the past few years PokerStars has lost its footing with one outspoken corner of the poker world - online poker pros. Previously a very pro-friendly poker site with an extensive SuperNova rewards program and multiple ways of providing high-volume players with huge rewards, PokerStars took a sharp left a few years ago in an attempt to level the playing field once again between pros and amateurs. They mothballed the Supernova and Supernova Elite rewards systems, increased rake in or removed pro-heavy games and took steps to cut down on seating scripts and software tools that helped professional poker players find and exploit the weakest competition.

starschests

It wasn't received very well in pro circles and the way PokerStars went about doing it ruffled a few feathers and lost them several brand advocates. They also dramatically reduced their pro team and incorporated a new rewards system that prioritizes recreational players more than pros. All of those moves resulted in a general dent in the PokerStars brand - something that was once impeccable across all levels of poker players in the past. But the reasons for the moves, as PokerStars has claimed, is to revitalize an industry that had grown stale and bring back the fun and casual players to the game. To find out how things have changed and the way you can get added value as a loyal player, check out the Stars Rewards section of this PokerStars review.

PROMOTIONS & BONUS INFORMATION


PokerStars doesn’t mess around when it comes to value. Therefore, as well as going against the grain and giving you the choice of two promos, each one is packed with value. There is a PokerStars promo code for each offer. And, in our opinion, one deal is perfect for beginners and casuals, the other is better for those with more experience and bigger bankrolls.

PokerStars $30 Free Play

Click PLAY HERE up top to create your first account, input the PokerStars bonus code FREE30, and deposit $20 to receive the following:

  • $20 in cash (no playthrough T&Cs)
  • A depositor freeroll ticket
  • 5 x Tournament tickets worth $1 each
  • 1 x Tournament ticket worth $2
  • 1 x Tournament ticket worth $5

PokerStars 100% Deposit Boost

The other PokerStars welcome bonus you can choose is a 100% first deposit bonus worth up to $600. You can unlock this offer by clicking PLAY HERE to create your first account. From there, input the PokerStars promo code STARS600 and deposit at least $10. Whatever you deposit will be matched with bonus credits.

PokerStars Bonus Code

  • Use the promo code FREE30 to get a $30 bonus
  • Use the promo code STARS600 to get a 100% deposit match worth up to $600

PokerStars Bonus Payout

To redeem the PokerStars bonus you need to earn what are called "Redemption" Points. You can play either tournaments or cash games as long as they are for real money (not play money). You earn 5 redemption points for every USD $1 you pay in rake or tournament fees. Once you reach 140 redemption points you'll have $10 of the bonus transferred into your Stars account. This equates to a PokerStars rakeback rate of 35%. Finally, all new players have a full four months after a qualifying deposit to redeem the full bonus.

One thing to note is that the above only applies to the $600 welcome bonus. If you go with the $30 offer, everything is yours to keep. So, the $20 cash bonus is credited to your account as real money. That means it can be used or withdrawn at your leisure. Beyond that, the tournament tickets can be used for any MTT or Sit & Go. If you’re skilled enough to win some money from one of those tournaments, the prize is yours without any strings attached.

PokerStars Promotions

Ongoing promotions and freerolls are a big deal at PokerStars. Just a couple of years ago they even held four $1 million freerolls in a calendar year and while those days might be past there's always something free to take advantage of. Freerolls with $1,000 prize pools are pretty frequent and you should always check your inbox for notices on new promotions. Special edition Spin & Gos are also offered pretty regularly with $1 million prize pools and all-inclusive packages to major PokerStars live events.

Stars Rewards Program 

If you played at PokerStars in the past and expect something similar if you've come back to the fold, it's not really even in the same neighborhood. Which is both good and bad, depending on the type of player you are. In the Stars Rewards system personalized 'chests' of prizes are awarded based on how many hands you play. You'll find lots of free tournament tickets, cash rewards or StarsCoin awarded regularly.

starsrewardchests

You still earn loyalty points (the above mentioned StarsCoin) for real-money play which you can then use to purchase items from the Rewards Store, buy online tournament tickets and even put toward live event packages. Players earn 100 Reward Points for every $1 paid in rake or tournament fees and that fills your on-screen "progress" bar. Fill the bar and you get to open a new chest (which also awards you Reward Points). There are six levels to this loyalty scheme and, the more chests you collect, the more valuable they become. 

For example, if you’re at Level 1, you’ll receive blue chests containing random prizes worth between $0.36 and $6. Each time you open chests, everything resets. So, if you’re happy to stay there, you can open chests as soon as you get them. However, if you want to progress to Level 2 and so on, you need to keep them locked. Once you’ve collected enough chests at a certain level, you move to the next. Therefore, you have a decision to make each time you get a chest: 

Open it, get a reward, and stop your progress to the next level OR Keep it locked and shoot for better chests 

Chests at Level 6 are black and contain random prizes worth between $42 and $700. The level you reach will depend on the amount you play and the decisions you make. However, it doesn’t matter where you get to. Stars Rewards is a neat way to get extra value as a PokerStars real money player. 

POKER GAME VARIETY


If it’s action you want, there’s no better place to play than PokerStars Online. This operator prides itself on quantity and quality; something that’s rare in the industry. This means you can visit the PokerStars tournament lobby and find MTTs costing as little as $0.10 or as much as $500+. It’s the same for cash games. From popular variants such as Hold’em and Omaha to Razz and HORSE, you can grind your way up from the lowest stakes to the highest. Then, of course, there’s the innovations. PokerStars is renowned for changing the game and its US platforms continue this tradition. Regardless of whether you use the PokerStars play money feature or you grind for cash prizes, there’s a unique selection of variants, including Spin & Go and PokerStars home games

PokerStars Tournaments

The PokerStars tournament schedule can’t be matched in terms of variety or value. Although Partypoker and 888poker are on the ascent, they’re still a fair distance from PokerStars. Naturally, the abundance of action means there are some skilled players in the mix. However, don’t let that put you off. For example, the PokerStars Sunday tournament lineup is headed by the Sunday Special. This MTT costs $100 to enter and has a $30,000 guarantee. But, alongside direct buy-ins, you can qualify via one of the many satellites starting at less than $1.

  • The Daily Bigs = Buy-ins range from $5 to $30, players start with 10K stacks, and there are some serious guarantees up for grabs.
  • The Hot Turbos = Buy-ins range from $5 to $50, players start with 10k chips, and the blinds increase every five minutes. 
  • Bounty Builders = These are progressive knockout tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $5 to $30. As well as prizepools, you’ll win bounties for knocking out players. 
  • Nightly Stars = A daily $100 tournament with 10k starting stacks and prizepools often topping $10,000. 
  • Sunday MTTs = There are MTTs to suit all budgets on a Sunday. From as little as $11, you can play for prizepools topping $30,000 in the Sunday Special, the Sunday Storm, the Sunday Warm-Up, and the Sunday High Roller. 
  • Festivals = As well as a regular roster of MTTs, PokerStars also hosts big-money tournament series. These are state-specific and often have prizepools worth $1 million+.

PokerStars Satellites

Everyone has a shot at the big time when they get the PokerStars app. There are qualifiers for almost every event on the site. From the Daily Bigs and Sunday Special, to the SCOOP / WCOOP festivals (MICOOP, PACOOP & NJCOOP in the US), PokerStars does a fantastic job of running satellites. In fact, what’s really nice about the qualifiers on this site is that they cover a variety of formats. Like all the best poker sites, satellite tickets can be won via freerolls or from as little as $0.01. However, what’s different at PokerStars is the fact you can qualify for live and online MTTs via MTTs as well as sit & gos. This means you get to play to your strengths and, potentially, win tickets to things like the COOP events, the PokerStars Players Championship, the EPT, and the WSOP.

PokerStars Spin & Gos

PokerStars launched its Spin & Gos back in 2014 and they became some of the most populated games of the site to this day. Virtually every other poker site has launched their own versions of them. Spin & Go’s are 3-player Hyper-Turbo tournaments with buy-ins from $0.25 to $1,000. Once 3 players have paid their respective buy-in and joined the table, a prize multiplier wheel is spun that randomly awards between 2-12,000 times the buy-in.

The top prize is $1,000,000. Most Spin & Go prizes are paid out to the winner but at the highest levels are split among all three players at the table. Spin & Gos are available in Omaha and for special prize packages like all-inclusive trips to the PSCA.

PokerStars Zoom Poker

What’s another of PokerStars ultra-popular game variations? The much-copied Zoom Poker - PokerStars' variation of fast-fold poker. When you fold your hand in Zoom Poker you're automatically moved to a new table with an entirely new hand. No more waiting to see a slow hand play out among your tablemates. Just ... zoom. Right to a new table with a brand new hand.

You can even auto-fold to make it even quicker. Sure, you lose reads on your opponent, but the sheer volume of hands you play makes up for it. Zoom Poker is also available in tournament form and Omaha, making it one of the most versatile "gimmick" poker forms. If you're a PokerStars mobile player it's also the perfect format for one-tabling on your phone or tablet.

SOFTWARE & GRAPHICS


Simply put, the PokerStars' software is the standard-bearer for the industry and, for most players, the best poker software. It's fully customizable. When you download PokerStars (Windows or Mac) you can replace the classic look with another PokerStars table theme. And virtually adjust all of the features to your tastes, from the betting sliders to avatars to notes and beyond. 

It has everything a poker player could want and from the lobby to the table to the cashier, everything is impossibly easy to navigate. The launch of the high-speed ZOOM poker and the Jackpot Spin & Gos pretty much completed the total package for poker software. New games are introduced frequently and set a new bar for both game variety and software.

Home Games

The PokerStars home game app is your ticket to non-stop action with your friends. Technically, it’s not a standalone app. In fact, the PokerStars’s play with friends feature is available inside the main platform. However, we’re calling it an app because it’s easy to create your own games or join clubs via the native desktop or mobile software. 

Of all the ways to play online poker with friends, PokerStars offers the best system. You don’t have to contact a member of the support team and wait for them to set up a table. Instead, you can click “home games” (the house picture) and join a club or make one of your own. 

Once you’ve given your club a name and an invitation code, you’ll be able to create cash games and tournaments. Whichever format you choose, the software lets you select any variant, betting structure, buy-in/blinds, and number of players per table. You can even schedule games for certain dates/times, rank the best players, and ban players (if you’re the manager). 

Multi-tabling

Multi-tabling is a breeze. Once you go through the PokerStars download process and get the app for your desktop or mobile, you can play more than 10 tables at once. The software can automatically arrange the tables in a tile or cascade layout. Alternatively, you can arrange them in your own way and save layout. 

PokerStars Mobile App

As you might expect from the industry leader in poker software the PokerStars mobile app is also a cut above. It's available for both Apple and Android users and a great way to play on the go via your smartphone or tablet. Functions and features are great on both phone and tablet making mis-clicks a rarity.

A few customization options from the full desktop version are lost but not enough most players would notice. As mentioned Zoom Poker is also a perfect fit for one-tabling on your phone or tablet as you are moved to a fresh table with a new hand immediately after you fold. Multi-tabling on the PokerStars app (for those so inclined) is also surprisingly easy with a nice tiling option making it possible to play on up to four tables. 

Basically, if you can do something via the desktop site, it’s possible on the app. Regardless of whether you use the PokerStars download option for iPhones or the Android app, you’ll have access to hundreds of cash games and MTTs. 

PokerStars Accepted HUDs and Tools

The PokerStars HUD policy is a bit complicated - but HUDs, trackers, and certain tools aren’t prohibited. Basically, PokerStars has a list of approved third-party software. 

Everyone can get access to their PokerStars hand history via the game client. Therefore, if you like to manually review your own hands, that’s possible. You can also use popular tracking tools such as Hold’em Manager 3, PokerTracker, and DriveHUD+. It’s also possible to use tools such as Table Ninja, PLO Ranger, PokerSolver. 

What you can’t use are poker bots and tools that offer real-time advice. Although you could argue that HUDs offer real-time advice, the reality is that they simply display live stats. PokerStars has pushed back against anything that tells you what hands to play/how to play hands during a game. 

TRAFFIC AND SOFT COMPETITION


As a general rule, you’ll find better players at PokerStars than other sites. This is simply because it offers the best software and games. However, that doesn’t mean everyone is pro. In fact, because there are so many players, there are plenty of soft spots. 

POKERSTARS SUPPORT


Regardless if you’re a newbie, a play money customer, or you use PokerStars for real money, you'll receive the same support. As a licensed US poker site, it’s a regulatory requirement that this operator offers safe, secure, and high-quality products. This means you’ll be able to get instant access to help and support when you need it. 

The PokerStars FAQ should be your first port of call. From our tests, the database provides simple solutions to a myriad of common problems. Naturally, it can’t address every situation, so the PokerStars customer service team is available via an onsite live chat bot. If this artificial intelligence bot can’t help, it will direct you to a human customer service agent. 

Finally, the PokerStars support team is available via all social media channels. You can post messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. As well as help requests, PokerStars social media channels are great to get updates, promo news, and have some fun with your fellow grinders.

POKERSTARS PAYMENTS


PokerStars is the biggest, most established poker site in the world - and fully licensed and regulated in dozens of countries including the USA. It has dozens of deposit and withdrawal options available in every corner of the world it operates. From standard credit cards to local debit cards to pre-paid cards, eWallets, bank transfers and money wires. We'd be shocked if you couldn't find a convenient way to get your money on and off your PokerStars account. It varies by country and you may need to try different methods before you find the most convenient one. 

Operators Deposit Options: Withdraw Options: Max:
BankWire BankWire
Instant

/
PaySafeCard PaySafeCard
Instant
No Available

/
Boleto Bancario Boleto Bancario
Instant
No Available

/
MasterCard MasterCard
Instant

/
Neteller Neteller
Instant

/
PayPal PayPal
Instant

/
Skrill Skrill
Instant

/
Visa Visa
Instant

/
Webmoney Webmoney
Instant

/
ApplePay ApplePay
Instant
No Available

/
Cheque Cheque
No Available

/
echeck echeck
Instant
No Available

/
GiroPay GiroPay
Instant
No Available

/
PostePay PostePay
Instant
No Available

/
Trustly Trustly
Instant
No Available

/
ecoPayz ecoPayz
Instant
No Available

/
Sofortüberweisung Sofortüberweisung
Instant
No Available

/
MuchBetter MuchBetter
Instant

/
Diners Card Diners Card
Instant
No Available

/
Maestro Maestro
Instant
No Available

/
Rapid Transfer Rapid Transfer
Instant
No Available

/
eps eps
Instant
No Available

/
Visa Electron Visa Electron
Instant
No Available

/
Neosurf Neosurf
Instant
No Available

/

Some methods may or may not be available in your country. Some methods may not work for withdrawals or there may be conditions (like having to make a deposit via that method in the past 6 months). Check your local PokerStars site for details.

PokerStars Deposit & Withdrawal Methods:

  • Visa (D)
  • MasterCard (D)
  • Bank Transfer (D+W)
  • PayPal (D+W)
  • Skrill (D+W)
  • PayNearMe (7 Eleven stores) (D)
  • VanillaDirect (D)
  • Cash at the Cage (D+W)
  • PokerStars Play+ Card (D+W)

Fast Deposit

The Fast Deposit feature is an even quicker way to fund your Stars Account and supports Visa, MasterCard and NETELLER. Enable your 'Fast Deposit Account' and you can reload your account and make transactions right at the table.

OUR OVERALL POKERSTARS RATING


PokerStars is fantastic. Regardless of whether it’s PokerStars for Mac, PC, iOS, or Android, the software is superb. Plus there's a wealth of bonuses and more games than any other poker site - there’s every reason to love PokerStars. If all of that’s not enough to tempt you, how about the fact you can play innovative games? Or, what about the generous PokerStars rake structure? Basically, whichever way you look at it, PokerStars is the biggest brand in poker and its US platforms are impressive.

Visiting from the US? Check below:

Highlights:
  • Newbies get up to $600
  • $1 million+ tournament series
  • PokerStars download Mac options, as well as PC and mobile
Info:
Established 2000
Country Isle of Man
E-mail [email protected]
Hits & Misses:

Hits

  • Welcome bonus
  • Mixed games and niche games available
  • Loyalty bonus is underwhelming

Misses

Score:
8/10
Traffic 9
Software 9
Bonuses & Promotions 8
Game Variety 9
Soft Competition 7
Rake 8
Support 8
Payments and Security 9
Support:

Quick email support (no live chat or phone) from knowledgeable, friendly staff. It's pretty fast and also available on mobile.

Deposit & Withdrawal :

Deposit Options: BankWire, PaySafeCard, Boleto Bancario, MasterCard, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, Visa, Webmoney, ApplePay, echeck, GiroPay, PostePay, Trustly, ecoPayz, Sofortüberweisung, MuchBetter, Diners Card, Maestro, Rapid Transfer, eps, Visa Electron, Neosurf

Withdrawal Options: BankWire, MasterCard, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, Visa, Webmoney, Cheque, MuchBetter