PokerStars is the world’s largest poker site. It is home to many of the best poker players in the world including WSOP Main Event champions Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, and Peter Eastgate. The site also has the backing of famous cash game professionals Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein. Along with their stable of big name professionals, PokerStars also has the highest player traffic found online. That traffic has allowed PokerStars to expand both their cash games and tournaments, bringing in a large variety of games and limits.
PokerStars’ tournament schedule is second to none. There are plenty of tournaments for players of all skill levels. Every Sunday PokerStars runs a few major events including the $215 Sunday Million with a $1,500,000 guaranteed prize pool. On top of their weekly schedule, the World Championship of Online Poker, or WCOOP, is run every year. The tournament series attracts a huge amount of players and contains multiple $5,000+ buy-in events. PokerStars also runs the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), which is geared more towards players of all levels, with tournaments starting as small as $5.
Even with a large tournament schedule, PokerStars is better known for their variety of cash games. With limits as small as $.01-$.02 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Omaha, PokerStars makes it possible for everyone to play at their site. Those with bigger bankrolls can play all the way up to $200-$400 No-Limit and $1000-$2000 Limit. Besides Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, PokerStars offers a large variety of uncommon games. Their mixed games lobby offers 5-Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, Badugi, and many combinations of the games. One of their more popular formats is 8-game which is a rotation of NL Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold’em, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud Hi, Stud Hi/Lo, and Razz.
The PokerStars SNG system is also one of a kind. From $1 to $5,000, players can pick and choose a variety of games, structures, and limits. Those looking for a cheap thrill should try the lower stakes turbo SNGs. The turbo SNGs finish in less than half the time of a normal tournament, which is great for those with little time of their hands. PokerStars also has double-or-nothing SNGs which pit ten players against each other, paying the top-5 players double their buy-in money.
Besides having great games PokerStars also has the best support and security in online poker. Their support staff is courteous and always responds in a timely manner. In 2009 PokerStars started using a RSA Security token which guarantees account safety. They are licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and their RNG has been approved by numerous independent organizations.
PokerStars takes pride in keeping its software ahead of the game. Their lobby and games are constantly updated to make game play easier. In fact, PokerStars is one of the few sites which seem to take their players suggestions seriously, altering numerous aspects of their software to make their games even better.
The lobby is simple and easy to use. Players can choose from two different lobby themes, a sleek black-theme or their classic green and yellow theme. Players can navigate to the game of their choosing by using buttons such as “Hold’em” or “Tourney” at the top of the screen. The Cashier (found at the bottom right of the lobby) contains information about your account including your balance, VIP Status, History, and Bonus Status. The Cashier also contains a button for the VIP Store which offers everything from cash bonuses, electronics, and even a Porsche!
There are many options available to players once seated. First of all, if you like to multi-table you will want to take advantage of a few options. The “preferred seat” option automatically sits you in the same position no matter which seat you choose. This can be very helpful when playing a lot of tables. Those who like to keep their stack topped-off to the fullest should look into the “Auto-Rebuy” section found under the options tab in the lobby. Finally, there are a few other options found under “Advanced Multi-Table Options” which can make playing a bunch of tables a lot easier.
There are two ways to sort your tables on PokerStars. Most players use the “tile” option which organizes your tables on your screen without any overlap. On most monitors the most tables you can tile is 9; however, on some bigger screen 12 or more is certainly possible. Players using the “cascade” option will have their tables sorted from top to bottom and left to right on their screen, with a large amount of overlap. This strategy is great for those playing more than 9 tables even though there is overlap, as their tables will still remain a larger size.
PokerStars does not have a bet-pot button; however, they do employ a slider which makes betting certain amounts easier. Players can also type a specific bet size in as well. For those who have trouble discerning suits, the four-color deck can be extremely helpful. When it is your turn you will be presented with three buttons: check/fold, call, and raise/bet. There is a time bank which, depending on the type of table you are playing, can be up to 120 Seconds. You must act before your allotted time is up, or your hand will be automatically folded.
To view your past Hand Histories click the top left of each table. PokerStars recently introduced a hand history replayer which is walks you through each action of the previous hand in a visual manner. You can also grab a text version of your hand history to share with your poker friends. PokerStars is compatible with all major tracking software, including PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager.
There are many more options available at PokerStars. Spend some time poking around the lobby to make your game and PokerStars a perfect fit.
If you are looking for action, PokerStars has you covered. They are by far and away the largest poker site online today. At any given time there are always more than 50,000 people online and there will be more than double that during peak weekend hours. No matter what game you want to play, there will always be someone waiting for you. Even the $5,000 Heads-Up SNGs and $100/$200 NL Hold’em run regularly.
Tournament players will also be surprised by just how many multi-table events run throughout the day. The tournament schedule is full of players looking to play for $1 or $200. Also, make sure to check out their 180-man events. The turbo 180-mans are a great way to get a tournament feel in about 90 minutes. Finally, the low-stakes SNGs run like wild fire, with 30+ at each level starting every hour during peak times.
As one might expect with the world’s largest site, there are plenty of fish to go around. Even at the higher stakes the sheer amount of action all but guarantees bad players. While you can find plenty of fish on PokerStars, the games are not as easy as European sites. Ever since the UIGEA in 2006, PokerStars and other American sites have become tougher, causing winrates to drop and more and more players to rely on bonuses and VIP rakeback.
The micro and low stakes games are still very fishy. However, the mid-stakes games have been flooded with multi-table grinders who play tight and are on the majority of the tables at $2/4 through $5/$10. Those games are still beatable, but the difference between 2006 and 2010 is huge.
For a long time PokerStars was way behind the times with their $50 initial deposit bonus. Frankly, with such a great site they did not have to use a big deposit bonus to lure players from other networks. However, as poker legislation changed the game, PokerStars was forced to start offering a 100% up to $600 initial deposit bonus which rivals other major POKER sites. By using the links on this page and the Marketing Code GPSTSPROMO when registering at PokerStars, you will not only become eligible for the $600 bonus but also opt to receive the $20 FREE up front bonus!
The bonus is simple and easy to earn. When you are depositing make sure you use the Bonus Code STARS600 and your account will automatically be credited with 100% of your deposit up to $600 in pending bonus dollars.
Or you can choose to enter the PokerStars bonus code FREE20 to receive a $20 bonus which is immediately available to you.
As soon as you deposit you will begin to clear your bonus, which is converted into real money in $10 increments. In order to earn your bonus you must pay rake in real money cash games or fees in multi-table tournaments and/or SNGs. Depending on how much rake/fees you pay, your account will be credited with a certain number of VIP Player Points, or VPPs. To clear $1 in pending bonus you must earn 17 VPPs. Therefore to clear $10 worth of your bonus you have to earn 170 VPPs playing real money games.
Earning VPPs in tournaments/SNGs is easy. For every $1 you pay in fees you will earn 5 VPPs. For example, playing a $30+$3 SNG will earn a player 15 VPPs because of the $3 fee. Cash games are a bit more difficult to calculate. There is a “standard VPP award scheme” and as well as what is often referred to as a 5x scheme. On the standard tables, 1 VPP is awarded when the rake reaches $.40 at stakes $1/$2 and lower, and $1 for all other games. A 2nd VPP is awarded when the rake reaches $3 ($2 on 6-max tables). Finally, a 3rd VPP is awarded when the rake reaches $5 when you are playing a hand.
The newer way of awarding VPPs is often referred to as the 5x scheme, or 5x tables. It is called this because on the following tables, 5 VPPs are awarded to the table per $1 in rake collected (fractional points are also awarded). The tables that use this method are all Heads-Up tables, Full Ring Limit tables up to $.25-$.50, Full Ring No-Limit tables up to $.05-$.10 and all 6-max tables. The VPPs are then split equally among all players who were dealt into the hand.
VPPs not only help to clear bonuses, but they also move you through the ranks of PokerStars VIP Program. There are six different levels of the program, all of which have different perks and bonuses. VPPs are converted into Frequent Player Points once they hit your account. Depending on your VIP Level you can earn as many as 5 FPPs for every 1 VPP you earn. The ultimate VIP Level is Supernova Elite which is earned after paying at least $200,000 in rake/fees throughout a calendar year. While SNE is only achievable for a handful of players, the other levels are quite attainable and offer some nice benefits.
The VIP Store contains a wide variety of cash bonuses, electronics, clothing, and even cars! You must be a certain VIP Level to take advantage of some of the great deals in the VIP Store. Those at lower levels will be able to earn small cash bonuses, books, electronics, and gift cards. As you move through the ranks you can receive large cash bonuses up to $4,000, tournament packages, and many other great prizes.
Be sure to keep up to date with PokerStars bonuses, as they typically offer 2-3 reload bonuses through out the year which can help pad your bankroll.
PokerStars has one of the best support staffs found online today. Unlike other sites which make you wait an eternity for a response, PokerStars never keeps you waiting more than a few hours. Their site is committed to fair and responsible gaming. If you feel like there are any issues with their software or fairness of games, feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those worried about account security should look into the PokerStars RSA Token which forces a player to enter an additional code (separate from their password) when logging in to their account. This is a great tool because it does not allow anyone to access your account from a remote location. Also, if you need a break from poker, you can use the “Responsible Gaming” option under “Requests” in the Lobby to block yourself from PokerStars for a specific amount of time.
For more great online poker promotions, we recommend visiting Poker-Bonus Code.co.uk – these sites are geared towards UK and European poker players (sorry, US players not accepted).
You can also visit gpsts.org for more online poker information and reviews.