CardsChat Editor RatingRegardless of whether you are new to online poker or an accomplished player, PokerStars.com, the world's leading poker site, has ring games and tournaments perfectly suited for your skill level and bankroll.CardsChat.com™ Reviews Editor
Regulated by: the the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
When it comes to raw appeal, nothing in the gambling domain can match up to poker. It is not just the prospect of winning huge sums of money that draws people in, but the fact that a player can use his or her own skill to outwit other players. At PokerStars, playing poker can be generously rewarding, because it places skill front and center.
Our comprehensive PokerStars review will show you that this is a site you can trust, with it rightfully ranking as the No. 1 online poker platform in the world.
PokerStars software and user interface is impressively intuitive
We recommend PokerStars.eu not only because it has longevity on its side, but also for the enthusiastic endorsement it gets from respected, internationally famous poker pros. These experts, who certainly ought to know what makes for a top-level poker brand, rate this site second to none with regard to quality of the software and range of games available. Numbers also speak volumes, with more than 50 million registered players; PokerStars 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 any more incentive to play at this online poker powerhouse, but you get it in the form of a PokerStars welcome bonus, which is thrown your way as soon as you sign up and use code Marketing Code CCPS. A strong loyalty rewards program and promotions galore keep the playing incentives high, while around the clock ring games and tournaments will keep the competition in full flow. Putting it simply, playing at PokerStars allows anyone to master the power of the cards!
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 its overall security, general fairness, and randomness of the games.
All PokerStars 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 - for 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 provide further assurance of the site's credibility.
Bringing plenty of action to the tables, PokerStars has certainly upped the ante!
|Poker site name||PokerStars|
|Years in operation||18+ years|
|Number of games||9|
|Games offered||Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, Five Card Draw, Badugi, Mixed Games, + more!|
|Number of players||100,000+|
PokerStars' mobile apps have been optimized specifically for Apple iOS and Android devices, so they won't work on every device in existence - sorry Windows phone users. 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 leading sites, as they've really been able to steal a march on the competition in this department.
In order to be able to use your mobile phone or tablet to play at PokerStars, 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, including any poker jackpots, can be made with your mobile device if you so desire.
Depending on what type of device you own, you will need to choose the appropriate app to download. Once again, the PokerStars app is available for use on:
Owners of Apple iOS devices can download the iOS App from the App Store. Android device owners can download the app for Android 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 you to have an active Internet connection.
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, track and chat with other players, review your hand history and withdraw your poker jackpot.
Many online poker rooms and casinos turn to outside providers - and sometimes a combination of providers - for their software needs. However, PokerStars uses state-of-the-art software developed in-house by its own experts. 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.
PokerStars gives you a choice of two convenient ways of accessing its games: downloading the software onto your computer or using your iOS or Android mobile device. Surprisingly, this site doesn't offer a no download, instant play Flash version. 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 trade-off for the convenience of being able to use your mobile device to play anytime, anywhere, is a very limited selection of games. That isn't the situation at PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu, as 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 download the appropriate app for your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android smartphone or tablet, it won't matter at all in terms of your playing options. 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.
Offsetting the above-mentioned area, where PokerStars does fall 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.
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 that's no problem either. PokerStars.eu, probably more than any other poker room on the Internet, gives you a tremendous selection of games from which to choose. First, you need to decide whether you want to play for virtual 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 away at the game of your choice.
Besides all of the obvious games, as you may be aware, another variation of poker that seems to be all the rage lately is fast-fold poker. At PokerStars.com, fast-fold game is called Zoom Poker, but the premise is the same. 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, so take that into consideration before you start playing
Any player who loves the excitement of tournament play will love the seemingly endless list of options that PokerStars has to offer. You will find that not only are there tournaments taking place at all hours of the day and night, but at a very wide range of buy-ins, from micro-stakes up to hundreds of dollars. Or, if you prefer, you can play risk-free in a freeroll or with virtual 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 virtual funds. 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. And then it’s just a case of winning that big poker jackpot!
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. Look out for some massive poker jackpots in these tournaments.
Finally, there is a specific tournament variant at PokerStars that is likely to catch your eye. One of the most popular tournament formats on offer is the new Spin & Go variant. Spin & Go is a Hyper-Turbo Sit & Go tournament limited to 3 players only. Buy-ins range from $1 to $100, while the prize pool also varies, but can be as much as 10,000x the buy-in. Payouts are randomly determined by a spinner in the center of the table.
See the website for more information about special events open to PokerStars players. Check out our Spin & Go strategy article for more details.
PokerStars has a long and colorful history. When the site was launched back in 2001, poker was nowhere near as popular as it is today. Yet 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 a sudden, everyone from professional poker players to business executives, blue-collar workers, and housewives who had never played the game before fantasized about becoming the next poker multimillionaire.
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 legalized in New Jersey. When New Jersey online gambling was officially launched on November 26th, 2013, Resorts Casino, which had chosen PokerStars to be its online partner, hoped to be one of the participants. 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.
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 the 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. During 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 customizable features and the same wide range of games and tournaments as desktop players. PokerStars' mobile platform is now considered one of the finest in the industry.
Just as you would expect, based on the fact that PokerStars.com is the largest online poker room in 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, so you could be spending your poker jackpot before you know it!
*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 require 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. So, just to clarify, should you run into trouble at PokerStars, you can contact the customer support team through the following methods:
All new PokerStars 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-day time frame, the second and third deposits will also count. Then you can still receive the full €/$600 PokerStars deposit 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 PokerStars welcome 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 the promotion.
In order to clear this PokerStars 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 at PokerStars, €/$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.
PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu reward players with two types of points, VIP Player Points (VPPs) and Frequent Player Points (FPPs). The VPPs were already mentioned in connection with clearing the PokerStars welcome bonus, but actually, these points serve double duty because they also determine your ranking in the seven-tiered VIP program. The seven levels are:
All players start out at the Bronze 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 allows 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, as cash prizes, freerolls, satellites for seats to major events are the kinds of opportunities being offered that you won't want to miss.
Poker is anything but a one-dimensional game, something that PokerStars certainly understands. Choice is often the call of the day when you choose to play the cards, with PokerStars spreading the action across cash games, tournament play, and more.
PokerStars is considered to be the No. 1 poker site in the world, with it not just living up to critical expectation - it actually surpasses it. The sheer number of games and bonuses give this brand the edge over the competition, and that's without mentioning the stellar mobile play options also provided. Anyone that has a passion for poker – or is simply after a casual game – needs to look no further than PokerStars, as this online poker site is undeniably the industry leader!