PokerStars is the absolute leader in the world of online poker. Although their numbers have declined from the absolute peak, PokerStars is still the number one room in terms of the player traffic and the best choice for tournament players, at least in terms of versatility and game selection.
PokerStars was launched back in 2001, making them one of the sites that have been around for longest. Initially a privately owned company, they were bought by Canadian company Amaya in 2014. This transaction changed the general direction of the company quite significantly, but they still maintained their number one position in the world of online poker.
The PokerStars software is by far the best out there, offering a great stability, very pleasant graphics, and plenty of useful options. The room offers all sorts of cash games and tournaments across various levels, making it a good choice for professionals and recreational players alike.
PokerStars sticks to a simple but effective welcome package, giving all new players up to $600 in bonus money. The minimum required deposit to claim this bonus is $10, and whatever amount you decided to deposit, it will be matched 100% by the room. To activate the bonus, players need to use the code ‘STARS600’ when making their first deposit.
Like most poker bonuses, PokerStars welcome bonus is released in increments. Players release $10 of their bonus funds every time they accumulate 180 redemption points. These points are earned at the rate of $1 paid in rake or tournament fees = 5 redemption points.
So, every time you generate $36 in rake, $10 will be released to your main account, the maximum amount available being $600.
Get Started with a Small Deposit
If you’re looking to kick-start your poker bankroll with just a small deposit, PokerStars gives new players this chance as well. Deposit just $20 and use the code ‘THIRTY’ when depositing to get $30 worth of free play. The $30 package consists of:
- 15 $1 Spin & Go tickets, spread across your first three days
- $5 free cash bonus on issued on the 4th day after you make the deposit
- 5 more $1 Spin & Go tickets on your 5th day
- $5 free cash on the 6th day
This is a better option for players looking to make a small deposit, because they’ll get more value from all the free play than they would from the 100% match. Those looking to deposit bigger and spend some time playing should definitely take the first option.
Software & Graphics
As mentioned, PokerStars software is by far the best of all online poker software choices out there. They’ve been the leader in this regard for years, and not that long ago, the room released a brand new software version, giving it even fresher looks and more functionalities.
The software is divided into several key parts. At the top, players can easily switch between different game formats, such as cash games, tournaments, sit & go’s, spin & go’s, Zoom, Beat the Clock, WCOOP, etc. This kind of a division makes it very easy to quickly filter out the games you are interested in. Additionally, there are also detailed filters where you can further determine buy-in levels, the number of players per table, tournament speed (regular, turbo, hyper), and more.
The bar on the right site gives players a quick access to some useful tools, allowing them to check for news, find out their positions on various leaderboards, get involved with challenges, see the status of their bonus points, etc.
Tables themselves look very nice and modern, and players can choose between various backgrounds and card types, tick boxes to preset their actions (check, fold, call), etc. All in all, the PokerStars software offers everything anyone could expect from a poker client, and it is definitely one of the main reasons the company managed to maintain its position at the top for so long.
PokerStars also has one of the best mobile solutions out there, offering apps for iOS and Android users alike. Their mobile app offers a pleasant and smooth gaming experience, with plenty of options and the ability to play multiple tables at once. This is something most other apps are struggling with, but PokerStars came up with a system that makes playing multiple tables on your mobile device simple and enjoyable.
Tournament & Cash Game Action
PokerStars is, by far, the leader when it comes to online poker tournaments. The room hosts World Championship of Online Poker, the mega-popular WCOOP, which is the biggest festival of online poker tournaments on the planet. Usually taking place in September, this series attracts professional players and amateurs alike, all looking to score big in one of many events with big guaranteed prize pools. Since 2017, the room has also stared offering mini-WCOOP with smaller buy-ins and guarantees, looking to cater to players with smaller bankrolls.
Apart from this, the daily tournament schedule at PokerStars is probably the richest out there. There is a new tournament starting every few minutes, and buy-ins range from as little as $0.01 all the way up to $1,050 and more on special occasions.
Sunday is by far the busiest day for the tournament action, with many of the major events taking place on Sundays. Some of the best-known PokerStars tournaments include:
- $215 Sunday Million – taking place every Sunday at 14:00 ET, with $1,000,000 guaranteed
- $11 Sunday Storm – Sundays at 13:00 ET, guaranteeing $225,000
- Various Big and Hot tournaments, enjoying great popularity with the players
Tournaments aren’t restricted to just Hold’em events, but there is also plenty of Pot Limit Omaha action, as well as other Omaha variations, Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw, and many mixed-game tournaments.
When it comes to cash game action, games on offer range from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $200/$400 for Hold’em and Omaha. There is usually plenty of action to be found up to NL1,000, while higher games are somewhat scarce. The highest buy-in tables don’t go off very often, but games do get started from time to time.
PokerStars offers various deposit and withdrawal methods, as one would expect from the room leading the way in the world of online poker. The availability of methods depends on the players’ place of residence but some of the options include: Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, Neteler, entroPay, Paysafecard, direct bank transfers, Instadebit, AstroPay, WebMoney, etc.
Players have an option to maintain their account in several different currencies, including EUR, USD, CAD, and GBP.
Withdrawals are very fast, provided your account is in good standing. You can usually expect your PokerStars money to land within 48 hours, and those using e-wallets will usually receive their withdrawals within a couple of hours.
PokerStars is an absolute leader when it comes to online poker, especially in terms of their tournament offer. Although the room has lost some of its original traffic, it is still the number one room in terms of the player numbers.
A generous welcome bonus, great software, and an excellent selection of games all speak in favor of PokerStars, making it one of the must-have rooms for serious and recreational players alike. If you want to enjoy safe and entertaining poker, than you won’t go wrong with PokerStars.