Video Review Part 1: See the main benefits of playing at the world’s largest poker site?
PokerStars offers new players from CardsChat a bonus of 100% up to $600 free when you sign-up using PokerStars marketing code CCPS and at the cashier using bonus code Stars600. Your bonus is released as you play for real money and earn VIP Player Points (VPPs). ? Bonus is good on 3 deposits within 60 days of 1st deposit. You have 4 months from each deposit to earn that bonus. You will receive $10 in your real money account each time you earn 200 VPPs until the entire bonus is cleared.
Few gambling games have as much appeal to as many people from all walks of life as poker. It is not just the prospect of winning huge sums of money but the fact that a player can use his or her own skill to outwit other players, that contributes to the universal popularity of poker. The ideal way to play this competitive game is in a brick and mortar poker room where you are face to face with your opponents. However, the busy schedules and other obligations of many poker players could make frequent travel to these locations impractical or impossible, particularly if the casino or cardroom is situated a long distance from home. So it is no surprise that two alternative ways of playing: online poker and, most recently, mobile poker, have become tremendously popular.
Nowadays virtually anyone with a computer or mobile device who wants to play poker can do so, but just as the sites which offer real money casino gambling vary greatly in the quantity and quality of their games, the same is true of the sites which offer poker. In other words, if you simply pick any site at random and hope it will be a good one, you’re taking a big chance. However, our comprehensive PokerStars review will show you that this is a site you can trust. We recommend PokerStars.eu not only because it has longevity on its side, but also for the the enthusiastic endorsement it gets from respected internationally famous poker pros. These experts, who certainly ought to know, rate this site second to none with regard to quality of the software and range of games available. Numbers also speak, and www.PokerStars.com, with more than 50 million registered players, is No. 1 in player traffic. While many of these players are pros and aspiring pros, the site also attracts large numbers of recreational players who enjoy the game and are hoping to improve their skills.
Not that you need more incentive to play on this site, but you get it in the form of a generous Welcome Bonus as soon as you sign up and use PokerStars Marketing Code CCPS. A strong loyalty rewards program and promotions galore keep the incentive high to continue playing, and ‘round the clock ring games and tournaments will provide many opportunities to win.
PokerStars.com has a long and colorful history. When the site was launched back in 2001, poker was nowhere near as popular as it is today. However, two years later, when amateur poker player Chris Moneymaker astounded the poker world by winning the WSOP Main Event, the game began to attract interest like never before. All of the sudden, everyone from professional poker players to business executives, blue collar workers, and housewives who never played the game before fantasised about becoming the next poker multimillionaire. They figured their best shot was to join www.PokerStars.eu where they would have plenty of opportunity to practise and hone their skills in preparation for the next big event.
Seemingly overnight, PokerStars became the biggest poker site in the world, and many of its players were from the U.S. However, on April 15, 2011, the day that will be forever known in the poker world as "Black Friday", the ability of Americans to play on the site came to a crashing halt. On that infamous day, the U.S. Government shut down PokerStars.com to all American players. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice and PokerStars settled their differences, but the site still remained off limits to Americans. PokerStars, through its then parent company, The Rational Group, received permission to purchase the assets of another similarly affected site, Full Tilt, and issue refunds owed to American customers of both sites. However, both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker remained closed to U.S. players in spite of the settlement and, as of this writing, that situation has not changed.
Meanwhile, state-run online gambling, including poker, was legalised in New Jersey. When New Jersey online gambling was officially launched on 11/26/13, Resorts Casino, which had chosen PokerStars to be its online partner, hoped to be one of the participants. However, the New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement objected to PokerStars and the license was denied. Subsequently, both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were purchased by Amaya Gaming, and PokerStars was finally officially approved to operate in New Jersey. However, the site is still not open and is not expected to be until 2016.
Interestingly, the continued absence of American players has not kept PokerStars from maintaining its position as leading poker site in the world. The integrity of the site was clearly exemplified by returning money to the people who could no longer play there. The state-of-the-art PokerStars software and tremendous variety of games and tournaments are other features that have continually attracted players to the site. Yet another big draw has been the PokerStars mobile platform. In January, 2012, PokerStars.com introduced its first downloadable mobile app for Apple iOS devices, and followed that up in February, 2012 with a second app for Android devices. Since then, there have been significant improvements in both apps, making it possible for mobile players to take advantage of many advanced customisable features and the same wide range of games and tournaments as computer players. The PokerStars mobile platform is now considered one of the finest in the industry. You can learn more about the excellent PokerStars mobile platform in the Software section of this PokerStars poker room review.
Nothing is more important when you are playing for real money online than the security and fairness of the site, and at www.PokerStars.com or www.PokerStars.eu you can relax on both counts. For starters, the fact that this site has been online since 2001 along with its ability to recover from the setback in 2011 and reestablish itself as the leading legal poker site in the world deserves mention. These impressive accomplishments would not have possible had the company been acting in a less than aboveboard manner.
PokerStars.com is licensed in the Isle of Man, a jurisdiction known for its strict standards. In addition, the site continues to be reviewed by independent auditors on a regular basis with regard to both its overall security and the fairness and randomness of the games. And just as the site itself operates with integrity, it demands no less from its players. There is zero tolerance for any instances of irregular playing practices or player collusion.
All real money players, including high stakes players, can fund and withdraw from their account with no worries. All players’ deposited funds are kept in a separate account apart from that used for the site’s operating expenses. In addition, the use of advanced encryption methods, both online and for mobile play, ensures the complete protection and privacy of every account. On the other hand, if you are new to the game or haven’t played in a while, you are welcome to play for free until such time as you are comfortable playing for real money.
Last but certainly not least, the endorsement by internationally known poker luminaries like Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein, provides further assurance of the site’s credibility. What a thrilling experience it must be, too, getting the chance to to play at the same table as members of Team PokerStars.eu and learn from the best. This illustrious group now also includes some world famous sports figures who have become accomplished poker players. The same intensity, determination, and competitiveness that have made Neymar Jr. and Christiano Ronaldo international football (soccer) stars, they bring to poker as members of Team PokerStars.
Many online poker rooms and casinos turn to outside providers, and sometimes a combination of providers for their software needs. However, PokerStars.com uses the state-of-the-art software developed in-house by its own experts. The PokerStars software is continually being updated and improved upon, taking advantage of the latest innovations in online and mobile gaming technology to bring you new games and advanced features that keep this site ahead of the competition. We give it additional high marks in our PokerStars online poker review for not letting these technological enhancements get in the way of either the ease of navigating the site or the security of the site and fairness of the games.
PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu give you a choice of two convenient ways of accessing the games: downloading the software onto your computer or using your iOS or Android mobile device. Surprisingly, this site does not offer a no download instant play flash version, which many people find convenient because when they are away from home, they can still play, using any browser. Without this option, unless you are home or in a place where you can use your laptop, mobile play is your only alternative. Ordinarily, the tradeoff for the convenience of being able to use your mobile device to play anytime, anywhere, is a very limited selection of games. However, at PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu, you don’t have that problem. Virtually all of the games and advanced features that make playing on the computer a fun and exciting experience are also available on your smartphone or tablet.
Whether you choose to download the PokerStars software onto your computer or to download the appropriate app onto your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android smartphone or tablet won’t matter at all in terms of what your playing options are. It is very likely that at least some of the players at your table will be using a mobile device if you are using your computer or using their computer if you are using your mobile. Either way, downloading is quick and easy and the instructions are clear enough that you should be able to follow them without a problem, even if you are new to this type of play. You can also switch back and forth between playing online and using your mobile device. Even if you are on your computer in the middle of a tournament and have to step away, you can pick up practically where you left off on your smartphone or tablet!
Customer Support, if you need it, is limited to the FAQ section of the website and email. At CardsChat.com, we believe that our readers appreciate reading completely honest reviews, pointing out not just what is great about a particular gambling site, but also what its weaknesses are, and this PokerStars review is no exception. Poker players should be able to get immediate answers to any question or problem at any hour of the day or night that the information might be needed, and that means access to a knowledgeable person via live chat or phone. It should not be necessary to wait for an email response which might very well come at a time when you are not playing and can’t play. The same applies to any other game or account related issue that you might encounter. The FAQ section is very thorough and well put together, but it cannot possibly address every possible situation that might arise. The good news is the email support is fantastic and very friendly.
Offsetting the above-mentioned area where www.PokerStars.eu falls short, this site is not only buzzing with activity 24/7, but packed with advanced features that can make a big difference to anyone who plays poker often. What makes these additional options even better is that they are available to online and mobile players alike. The following are some of them.
The PokerStars mobile apps have been optimised specifically for Apple iOS and Android devices, so they won’t work on every device in existence. However, assuming you own a supported device, you should be very pleased. The PokerStars apps are much more advanced than those offered by many other sites. The only appreciable difference between playing on your mobile and playing online is that if you are using a phone, the small screen size might make multi-tabling and tournament play difficult. However, that problem can be solved if you use a tablet.
In order to be able to use your mobile phone or tablet to play the PokerStars games, you will need to register and set up an account. You can do so either on your computer or through the web cashier on the downloaded mobile app itself. In fact, all of your deposits and withdrawals can be made with your mobile device if you so desire. For more information about the site’s mobile platform and specific instructions for getting started, go to www.pokerstars.eu/mobile.
Depending on what type of device you own, you will need to choose the appropriate app to download. Owners of Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) can download the iOS App on the App Store. Android device owners can download the app for Androids directly from the PokerStars website. Downloading and using the PokerStars mobile apps is free, but, with the exception of the PokerStars Clock (see below), they do require your having an Internet connection.
It is important to note that the PokerStars.eu mobile apps will not work with all iOS and Android devices, so if your device is very old, unless you can upgrade it, the apps will probably not work. Your iOS device needs to be iOS 7 or higher, in which case it will work on any of the following:
Android devices will work with Android 4 and above with a minimum screen resolution of 800X480.
If you are new to mobile poker play, we recommend you look at the onsite tutorials specifically designed for handset and tablet users. As mentioned, you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the options open to you as a mobile player. In addition to using your mobile device to do all of your banking, you can access all of the same bonuses and promotions as computer players, play in the same games and tournaments, too, and even review your hand history, and track and chat with other players. But if you’re looking for an app that can do even more and you own an iOS device, you are really in luck. PokerStars.com has made the following three additional apps available.
All new PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu real money players, including mobile players, receive a generous Welcome Bonus, up to €/$600 when you sign up with Marketing Code CCPS. The bonus consists of a 100% match of a maximum of three deposits made during your first 60 days of play. If you can afford to deposit the entire €/$600 on day 1, you should do so. But if you would rather make a smaller deposit initially and make another deposit or two later, as long as it is within the 60 days time frame, the second and third deposits will also count. Then you can still receive the full €/$600 bonus or whatever your total qualifying deposits add up to if less. Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to deposit €/$600. If you prefer to deposit less, you are free to do so and you will still get a bonus, but a smaller one requiring less playthrough to clear.
IMPORTANT: When you first sign up make sure to use marketing code CCPS and when you make your first deposit, use the bonus code Stars600 in order to claim this bonus.
In order to clear the bonus, you will need to earn the necessary number of VIP Player Points (VPPs), which you do every time you play with real cash in a ring game or tournament. For every €/$1 that you contribute to the rake in a ring game or pay in tournament fees, you earn 5.5 VPPs. You won’t have to wait until you have cleared the entire bonus though to start receiving some of it. Each time you earn 200 VPPs, €/$10 of the pending bonus is released. You are given four months all together to earn enough VPPs to clear the bonus in its entirety.
If you wish, you can forego the regular Welcome Bonus and simply deposit $20 or more and use the bonus code FREE20 to receive $20 in free play. You cannot take both the free play and the Welcome Bonus so at the time of your first deposit, you will have to decide which you want. To ensure that you get the bonus, don’t forget to enter the correct bonus code, either STARS600 for the regular Welcome Bonus or FREE20 for the free play.
PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu reward players with two two types of points, VIP Player Points (VPPs) and Frequent Player Points (FPPs). The VPPs were already mentioned in connection with clearing the Welcome Bonus, but actually, these points serve double duty because they are also determine your ranking in the seven-tiered VIP program. The seven levels are Bronze, Chrome, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Star, and the two highest tiers, Supernova and Supernova Elite. All players start out at the Bronze Star level, but with the opportunity to keep advancing to a higher level. Each successive level requires a certain minimum number of VPPs that must be earned each month (or year for the Supernova and Supernova Elite levels) both to qualify for and maintain that status.
In return, each higher tier not only brings with it bigger rewards, but allow the player to earn points faster towards even more rewards.
FPPs are also based on play, but unlike the VPPs, these points can be redeemed for cash or used for tournament buy-ins or poker gear and other merchandise from the VIP store. Players earn one or more FPPs for each VPP, depending on their tier.
Higher Tier Rewards
In addition to the monthly rewards that all players receive, end-of-year Stellar Rebate rewards are handed out based on total number of VPPs. Higher tier players also receive invitations to exclusive VIP tournaments for players at their level and higher. While it takes a minimum of 100,000 yearly VPPs to achieve Supernova status and 1,000,000 VPPS for Supernova Elite status, these players are treated exactly like the VIPs they are. Their exclusive benefits include personal concierge service, prioritized support, invitations to live events, a Porsche Cayman S, massive bonuses all year long, and VIP yearly milestone rebates.
In addition to the above-mentioned loyalty rewards, PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu show their appreciation for all of their players with lots of special promotions open to everybody. Some of these are short term promotions, so be sure to check the website often Cash prizes, freerolls, satellites for seats to major events are the kinds of opportunities being offered that you won’t want to miss.
If the game choice on this website is going to present any problem at all, it is not going to be that you can’t find the game you want to play, but in deciding which of the many, many games available (both cash games and tournaments) to play first. If limit or no limit hold ‘em is the only game that interests you, simply choose your stakes from micro-stakes to high limit, and at any hour of the day or night, you will be seated immediately. But if you would rather play something else, no problem. Poker Stars.eu, probably more than any other poker room on the Internet, gives you a tremendous selection of games from which to choose. But first you need to decide whether you want to play for play money or real money. Then you will be asked to define your search further. For example, if you wish to play in a real money cash game, you need to specify the type of game, fixed limit or no limit if applicable, and the stakes you want to play for (Micro, Low, Medium, or High). You can also click on the Quick Seat button and be seated right way at the game of your choice, which can include any of the following:
Besides all of these games, as you may be aware, another variation of poker that seems to be all the rage lately is fast fold poker, and at PokerStars.com, the fast fold game is called Zoom Poker. You don’t have to wait for your turn to fold your hand; you can do so beforehand, and soon as you do, you are immediately moved to a new table with a completely new set of players. Zoom Poker can be played in tournaments as well as in cash games, and even heads-up. However, it is strictly for low stakes.
You are probably wondering about the caliber of players on this site. Contrary to what you might think for a very high traffic site, fish will be hard to come by, except perhaps at the lowest stakes. Even the 1-2 no limit games are filled with serious grinders. Beginners should tread lightly.
Any player who loves the excitement of tournament play will love the seemingly endless list of options that this site has to offer. Once you have signed up using PokerStars.eu Marketing Code CCPS you will find not only are there tournaments taking place at all hours of the day and night every day and night, but at a very wide range of buy-ins from micro-stakes to hundreds of dollars. Or, if you prefer, you can play risk free in a freeroll or with play money. In fact, this site even offers what it calls super-size stack tournaments, which give the illusion of being played for big money except that instead of real money, they use play money. First time players might find the incredible number of tournaments overwhelming, but the variety is so extensive that whatever your skill level, format preference, and bankroll, you should have no trouble finding a tournament that is tailor made for you.
If you want to know what tournaments are taking place at any given time, simply click on the Tourney tab in the lobby or type “Weekly” in the tournament filter, and you will see the complete list. As you might expect, No Limit Hold ‘Em is the primary format, but if you would like to try something different like Omaha or Stud, there are tournaments offered in those games as well. Also, you don’t necessarily have to be a high roller to play in a higher priced tournament; most of the expensive tournaments give you the option to try to win your way in via a freeroll or low cost satellite. There are far too many tournaments at PokerStars.com to mention all of them, but here are a few examples, from which you can get a good idea of what is available.
See the website for more information about these other special events open to PokerStars players.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Just as you would expect, based on the fact that PokerStars.com is the largest online poker room in the world and its players come from all over the world, you have plenty of choices in ways to fund your account. The basic methods which should be available in most countries are listed below, but depending on where you live, other options might be open to you as well. You can check the information on the website regarding precisely which methods are accepted for players in your country. Except where indicated otherwise, the same method can be used for both deposit and withdrawal. Keep in mind that for your added convenience, you can also make your deposits and withdrawals using the built in web cashier on your mobile device.
*Cannot be used for withdrawal
Accepted currencies include USD, EUR, GBP, and CAD. Deposit limits vary depending on deposit method and level of play. However, if you wish, you have the option to set your own limits. Withdrawal processing time also varies depending on the method, but is usually 72 hours or less, while the time for the money to actually reach your account generally ranges from 3 to 10 business days. While withdrawals could be faster, you do have the assurance, regardless of which banking method you choose, that your funds are fully protected. PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu use the most advanced encryption technology available to ensure the complete security and privacy of every player’s personal information and financial transactions.
Banking is the one area of service where if you have any questions or problems, live chat rather than just email is available to help you. If for any reason your deposit is not accepted, the Deposit Assistance Department (DAD) can offer assistance via live chat in multiple languages. Whether or not DAD will assist you with other banking related issues is not clear.
Other than the limited live chat support offered if you need deposit assistance, Customer Support at PokerStars.eu is confined to email. As already mentioned elsewhere in this PokerStars poker room review, we find the lack of 24 hour phone and live chat support to address any legitimate player question or concern most disappointing and in need of correction as soon as possible. Although in fairness, the level of support provided by email is excellent and PokerStars' support representatives are known for being thorough, interesting and even funny and personable.