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Reviewed by PokerStop . Updated Thu, Jan 18

PokerStars Review

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Bonus Code: STARS600

Poker room score
4.5 Star Rating: Recommended

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100% up to $600

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About Bonus Offers US Accepted
Software Tournaments Support Tournament Schedule...

About PokerStars

No 2019 review of PokerStars can be complete without mentioning the major VIP changes introduced towards the end of last year, which had the high stakes players of the site up in arms and resorting to a boycott.

PokerStars is, as of 2019, the biggest online poker room in the world, player traffic-wise. It is certainly host to some of the most popular high stakes STTs and MTTs and its cash tables aren’t short of players either. PokerStars first went online in 2001, but it truly made a huge impact with the public when Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer scored back-to-back main event victories in the WSOP. What was so special about that? Both these guys had earned a spot in the WSOP main event via an online qualifier hosted by PokerStars. The online poker popularity explosion that followed was only surpassed by the scores of players rushing to PokerStars to possibly become the next in line for a WSOP championship. Because it’s such an immensely popular poker room, you’ll find competition at any stakes and any poker variant you desire to play, and you’ll be faced with players running a wide spectrum ability-wise. That means – if you’re a reasonable player – you’ll probably be able to squeeze some juice out of PokerStars’ tables.

PokerStars were one of the poker rooms directly affected by online poker’s Black Friday. Since then, they have been locked out of the US poker market, and they haven’t been allowed back to this day, not even to the handful of states which have recently legalized the games, despite their best efforts. Because they had broken US laws for so long, their future in the US is murky at best.

As poker regulation expands all over Europe though, PokerStars have been the poker room which had the resources to secure a legal foothold everywhere, so traffic-wise, the US ban barely fazed them.

Deposit Bonus:

100% up to $600

PokerStars Software

PokerStars is an independent poker room and as such, it features its own online poker client. It is indeed one of the best pieces of poker software on the internet, and it’s updated regularly to keep up with the requirements of the public. These updates seldom result in any downtimes though and they only take a few seconds to install. The program runs smooth and fast despite the fact that it has to cope with over 120,000 players at peak hours. The PokerStars client has recently been launched for Mac as well, so users of that platform no longer need to fumble with windows emulators. The featured statistics are intricate enough to keep even the most die-hard poker maniac satisfied, and at the same time they provide a wealth of useful data. Multi-tabling is the accepted way to play at smaller stakes these days, and PokerStars is apparently fully aware of the trend. While the number of simultaneously open cash game windows is a “mere” 8, there are no such limitations for tournament tables. This attracts some of the world’s craziest tourney players who play at more tables simultaneously than anyone would believe possible.

The PokerStars software is now available for just about every mobile device out there, through their dedicated apps, and they have a fast-folding poker variant too, called Zoom Poker.

PokerStars Promotions and Best Bonus for 2018-2019

The sign-up bonus offered to new players at PokerStars used to be the Achilles’ heel of the operation, since it wasn’t exactly in the same league with what other operations used to offer a few years ago. Since then though, a lot has changed in the global online poker landscape bonus-wise. The maximums on the bonuses have been quite dramatically reduced, and PokerStars have overhauled their offer as well, so now they’re among the best in this respect too.

The deal they currently offer is a rather standard one: first deposits are rewarded with a 100% match, up to a maximum of $600. This bonus is released in $10 chunks, one for every 200 point-batch that players accrue through real money action. No fewer than 3 deposits can be made within a 60-day period to take full advantage of the deal.

Alternatively, players who make a $20 deposit (or more – in which case they will not get more bonus money anyway), get $20 in free play, plus $20 more. The first $20 bonus-batch, which is essentially the equivalent of a 100% match deal, up to a maximum of $20, is transferred into players’ bonus accounts immediately. Over the following month, every week, players will be able to unlock additional $5 bonus-batches, which will amount to another $20 at the end of the promotional period.

As far as promotions are concerned, PokerStars are without a doubt the center of the online poker universe. All their promotions carry massive value and their live event qualifiers make it clear that when it comes to making a career out of the game, PokerStars is THE place to be.

PokerStars Tournaments 2018-2019

PokerStars is the undisputed tournament heaven of the online poker world. Just one fact to back that claim up: there are now over 135,000 players at its tournament tables in peak hours. That much traffic means several things: on one hand, you’ll probably never have to wait too long for an STT table to fill up no matter what poker variant you play, on the other hand it means there are probably a whole bunch of fish in the game (especially at lower limits). Most of the tourneys are low to medium buy-in ones but high-rollers are sure to find their own games too without too much fuss. There are plenty of MTTs in the $500 buy-in range and that has to be rich enough even for the most money hungry players as the prize pools on these tournaments often exceed 1 million dollars.
Quite naturally though, higher buy-in games feature more skilled opposition, while the fish tend to congregate at lower stakes. The PokerStars Sunday Million is quite probably the biggest online poker tournament in the world, with a guaranteed prize pool that was initially set to $1 million, but lately – because of its immense popularity – it has exceeded 2,4 million.

PokerStars Special Offers 2018-2019

Being the largest poker room in the world, everything is quite unique at PokerStars. There are some outstanding features however, which you have to know about. First off: their rake structure is one of the more advantageous ones in the online poker industry.
Sure it is the usual 5% up to a $3 maximum at medium stakes, but even there the rake cap is set to $1 if there are few people in the hand. At micro limits the rake is much milder and at very high limits likewise. While at higher limit Texas Holdem tables ($1/$2 and up) the competition tends to be pretty tight (flops seen are in the 20-30% range) the same is not true for Omaha where there are much looser games. Make no mistake, while tournaments are widely recognized as PokerStars’ specialty, the ring game traffic is also extremely good (about 16,000 players at peak hours). Finding value in lower limit games is not likely to be a problem.

PokerStars Do Not Accept US Players

On April 15, the US DoJ moved to indict 11 people from among the founders and owners of 4 of the biggest online poker sites, effectively forcing these poker rooms out of the US market. PokerStars was one of these poker rooms. Though the site undertook all reasonable efforts to refund its US players (which it apparently managed to do successfully), it is currently not in a position to accept US traffic. While it is still the biggest online poker room in the world, no US players are currently accepted at PokerStars.

PokerStars can no longer accept US players. Since online poker’s Black Friday, they were forced out of the US and despite their best efforts, they’ve failed to return, even to places like New Jersey, where online poker has since been legalized. US regulators simply won’t grant them a license due to the fact that they had for so long acted in defiance of US laws. Even though some New Jersey lawmakers pushed legalization clearly hoping that it would bring PokerStars into their state, that has not yet happened, and the current outlook isn’t particularly promising in this respect either.

PokerStars Support

Support-wise, Pokerstars is praised by all players who ever had any business with their support system. Their email support is said to be very fast, their answers are knowledgeable and they are very friendly. Email confirmation is available and mails are usually answered within 24 hours. The lack of a live chat or telephone option hangs heavily in the balance though. Live chat is by far the best way to provide instant support because it’s free, and available to everyone regardless of where they live. In my book, a site like PokerStars should’ve set up some sort of live support feature long ago. Therefore, no matter how good, fast and knowledgeable their email support is, I cannot give it the maximum grade.

Deposit Bonus:

100% up to $600

PokerStars Resources and Archive

EPT Poker Camp from PokerStars
PokerStars Present EPT Addition for Africa
PokerStars Monkey – VIP Store Madness
End of the year 2008 at PokerStars with World Record Week promotion
Make a deposit and get a 40% match on it at PokerStars
Travel The World at PokerStars’ Expense - Passport Promotion
Time For a Poker Boot-Camp - PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
PokerStars’ WCOOP set to be richer, bigger and more exciting than last year’s
PokerStars doubles the stakes in July
PokerStars Event - World Championship of Online Poker
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PokerStars Event - World Blogger Championship of Online Poker
PokerStars has launched its satellites for the 2008 WSOP Main Event
Double your FPP and VIP points all day on Friday, February 29th, 2008
PokerStars’ World Cup of Poker
PokerStars is sending players to the WPT
World Series of Poker - Satellites and Qualifiers
PokerStars Passport Tournaments
Aussie Millions Event
PokerStars Tournament – The $1 Million Guarantee Turbo Takedown
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