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Far better known for poker than games like roulette, blackjack or baccarat, you might well wonder what set of circumstances could lead to us writing a PokerStars casino review.
At the end of 2014, PokerStars announced that they would begin to incorporate casino games and real money sports betting on their main site. Coming just a few months after being acquired by Amaya, there was no doubt that this move was designed to encourage a more free flowing online gambling experience that allows players to enjoy poker, sports betting and casino action all in one place.
The move was unpopular with some members of the PokerStars team, but most industry experts acknowledged that the move would very likely be a shrewd business decision for PokerStars and Amaya. It has, indeed, turned out to be just that.
PokerStars isn't the first online poker provider to offer casino games in tandem with their poker games but it's probably the biggest name on the scene to do so. We fired up our computers, set the PokerStars casino download going and set to work finding out whether or not this site is worth your time.
You'll notice pretty quickly that there's no option to play a PokerStars casino Flash version—you'll have to download their client (available for both Mac and PC) if you want to play with PokerStars.
However, if you're a Mac user, you'll soon observe that the only game you have available is poker. Unfortunately, PokerStars haven't yet gotten around to offering their real cash casino games on Mac. A bit disappointing, for sure, but not something that will bother you if you're a Windows user.
Those of you who are able to access the PokerStars casino will find a pretty comprehensive range of games available:
A decent selection of games by anyone's account! There's also a live casino – featuring baccarat, blackjack, casino hold 'em and roulette – with live dealers/croupiers if you find yourself missing the distinctive sights and sounds of a land-based casino.
While you may find yourself some other bigger name slots, such as those owned by Microgaming or IGT, there's plenty to keep you interested here. The animations and so on of the slots and table games are slick, and easily look as good as or better than most other casino software providers on the market.
The lack of a PokerStars casino Flash/no download alternative might put some users off but, generally speaking, this is a very good offering if you're able to get a PokerStars casino download to work for you.
You can download the PokerStars casino mobile app from the Apple App Store or for Android. You might find that surprising because so few online casino sites offer dedicated apps for smartphones and tablets, instead choosing to create a responsive version of their site that can be accessed using mobile browsers.
Using the PokerStars app, you can play the following games on the go:
The PokerStars website promises that more games are on the way, which is good as the collection of games currently available is a bit lacking. Still, PokerStars is one of few sites out there to offer their live dealer games on a smartphone or tablet. This is something a bit special, and they can be a lot of fun. Still, it's probably best to play these on WiFi as they can be a bit data intensive!
Other sites have done a great job of porting their core sites for use on mobile devices but we have to say that, even though the selection of games isn't incredible, it's a real breath of fresh air to be able to download and use an actual app specifically designed for this purpose.
The PokerStars online casino has a huge range of payment methods available for both deposits and withdrawals, so you're virtually guaranteed to be able to find an option that will work for you.
Exactly which of the following you're able to use may vary slightly depending on your location, but the site has a useful tool to help you determine which of the following methods you can use to deposit and withdraw real money in your location:
Many of these above methods also support "Fast Deposits", which enable users to place deposits directly from a table/game if they choose to set up a payment account as their Fast Deposit Account.
If, for any reason, you don't trust yourself not to keep feeding real cash into your account you can set weekly deposit limits (if you wish), which is a nice touch. As long as you feel in control, there's no need to add these limits.
You will, however, find that there are cashout limits associated with each of the payment methods. You can view these by visiting the Cashier area in the PokerStars casino app and selecting the payment method you wish to use.
If you've ever played poker with PokerStars, you'll know that they have all sorts of guaranteed tournaments, offers and daily freerolls. There's never a shortage of deals to be had, and the same is true of the PokerStars online casino.
At the time of writing, PokersStars is heavily promoting their 1st birthday giveaway. This features a giveaway of $1 million, including three shootout prize draws worth $20,000, 3,000 winners every week and various other giveaways that will be going on throughout the month of November. Get there quick!
Additionally, PokerStars' casino bonus is available to new players making their first deposit. This welcome promotion is a 100% match bonus up to $300/£200/€275, which is pretty good (if a touch on the low side) for any online casino and will definitely help you to stretch your bankroll.
The bonus is unlocked by accruing FPP (frequent player points), with between 4 and 6 FPP – depending on the currency you're using – unlocking 1 unit of that currency. Segments of the bonus are released every time you hit £/$/€10.
Be sure to note that the amount of real cash you'll need to wager to unlock 1 FPP varies massively depending on the game you're playing, from 6-10 dollars on most slots titles to a whopping $145 on Double Deck blackjack. If unlocking your PokerStars casino bonus – which you have 60 days to do after making your first real money deposit – is important to you then don't forget to check out how many points playing your favourite game will unlock.
PokerStars' online casino, as well as their poker offering, has 24/7 support available via email and boasts a comprehensive self-service FAQ section with answers to just about every question you could ever think to ask.
There are also sections to help you polish up your gambling skills and expertise, including articles on proper blackjack strategy, the rules of various games and so on.
PokerStars has a separate service, DAD (Deposit Assistance Department), for issues relating to deposits and withdrawals, which is reassuring as issues in this area are more likely to worry players and demand immediate attention.
Additionally, players can access live chat support from within the app after finishing their PokerStars casino download. We've always found this service to be efficient, useful and quick.
For all of the reasons above, our review is generally a very positive one. Despite a couple of disadvantages, mostly relating to what and how you can play, we rate PokerStars very highly.
Certified by Gaming Labs, licensed and regulated by the UK gambling commission and a member of the Interactive Gaming Council, we know that PokerStars is definitely a legit place to play.
But, almost as important, it's a fun place to play with real money and enjoy a great range of casino games as well as sports betting via BetStars and poker. You might find more games at other casinos but, for a truly integrated experience with many types of gambling under one roof, it's pretty hard to beat PokerStars.
All in all, the work that Amaya (and PokerStars themselves) have put into expanding the core PokerStars offering has really paid off, and we think you're sure to enjoy your time here if you sign up.
PokerStars does not allow no-download play – its software has to be downloaded in order to play and this can be a disadvantage for some players. In addition, poker is the only game available to Mac players which is quite a disappointment. However, these points aside, PokerStars offers a huge selection of diverse games to Windows users, with fantastic variants of all the old favorites. Its mobile app is also well-stocked in terms of games, and runs very smoothly on all devices that it is compatible with.
PokerStars accepts almost all payment methods: Visa, Ukash, Neteller, and they even allow you to set limits on your deposits, for your own good. That and the fantastic bonuses helps you make sure that you always have money in your PokerStars account. The fact that poker, slots and sportsbetting are all on the same account also increases PokerStars’ reputation. Generally, this is one very successful, reliable and pleasant online casino to bet at.