You can play real-money poker on PokerStars during the coronavirus pandemic. Well, kind of. The world’s largest poker site offers a private home game option that’s available, even to players in the US. Grab your friends and start up a game to help pass the time by while stuck at home.
The first sentence in this article is only partially true, and admittedly a bit misleading. But, even if you live in the US, you can use the PokerStars platform to play cards for money. However, the transfer of money must be done elsewhere, as the poker site won’t facilitate those transactions for your home games.
What is a PokerStars Home Game?
Online poker home games are becoming more popular since the coronavirus pandemic closed most live poker rooms around the world. They are most popular in jurisdictions where online gambling is illegal.
The games are played on the site’s play money platform. Each player, upon signing up for an account, receives 35,000 play money chips. You can get 15,000 more for free every four hours if you’re logged in. You will need these chips to enter the home game tournaments and cash games. Should you run out, PokerStars will sell you more at the rate of $2.99 for 1 million chips.
Once you’ve found a group of players, it’s time to get the game going. The first step is to create a private group by clicking the “Home Games” tab on the bottom right of the PokerStars play money software. You then click on “Create a Poker Club” and enter the Club Name (name of the group) and an invitation code that the members will enter — along with a private password — when they join.
You can create tournaments or cash games. Each player uses their play money balance to enter the games. Group managers can choose the type of game (NLH, PLO, etc.) and format when they create the games. It’s so easy to set up a game that even the technologically deficient poker players could figure it out.
Turning it into a Real-Money Poker Game
Chances are you’re going to want to play a home game for money, even if only for a small amount. That’s possible, despite US players only having access to the play money PokerStars software.
Most online poker home game organizers use Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal to collect money. It’s best if you designate one player as the money collector. This individual will be responsible for ensuring every player pays and that winners are paid out following the completion of each game.
You should be cautious about who you allow to play in your home games. At the very least, if you have an untrustworthy player in the game, we’d suggest you never let that individual enter any game until they’ve paid up.
With the live card rooms closed and the online poker scene in the US lacking, PokerStars home games can serve as the perfect alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.