PLEASE NOTE: THIS WEBSITE NO LONGER ACCEPTS US PLAYERS. IF YOU ARE FROM THE US AND YOU WANT TO PLAY POKER ONLINE, WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING POKER SITES THAT STILL ACCEPT US PLAYERS:
In the sea of online poker, PokerStars is truly the leviathan. Entered in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007 for the most players simultaneously playing online with an astounding 151,758 players, these days you’ll find well over 250,000 players online at peak hours, completely dwarfing the competition. A byproduct of this massive volume is an enormous number of cash games and tournaments and action at virtually every level 24/7.
Undoubtedly the poker Cinderella story of the century, PokerStars is home to Chris Moneymaker, an unassuming accountant from Tennessee who turned a $40 entry into a PokerStars satellite tournament into a $2.4 million victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker. This victory truly changed the face of poker, attracting millions of people to the game with the knowledge that with a little skill and a lot of determination they too can realize their dreams of limitless wealth and glory.
Over the course of the past year, PokerStars has made noticeable push in marketing bringing in some of the biggest names in the live and online poker world into the fold of Team PokerStars. In addition to Chris Moneymaker, members include; Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Venessa Rousso, Joe Hachem, Dario Minieri and Ivan Demidov just to name a few.
Huge volumes, big name stars, truly exceptional software and massive action all combine to make PokerStars home to one of the premiere online poker experiences in the industry.
With over a quarter of a million players playing online at peak hours, there are no words to describe the action on PokerStars other than friggen redunkulous! The sheer volume of online poker players means that you will find every type of player from the Kuwaiti sheik looking to squander your hard earned gas money to the pro looking to grind you to dust to your average every day Joe with $40 and a dream.
Americans are not known for their soccer and can’t play rugby for a damn. Basketball and poker; however, are a different matter. PokerStars is one of the few online poker sites accepting American players, as such, you are sure to find players at the middle and upper levels with serious game and big granite balls.
PokerStars hosts a variety of different poker games including:
• Texas Hold’em
• Omaha Hi/Lo
• 7 Card Stud
• 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
• 5 Card Draw
• 2-7 Triple Draw
• H.O.R.S.E (Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo)
• H.O.S.E (Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo)
• 8-Game Mix
As expected, PokerStars offers games with a variety of stakes ranging from micro-limits to ridiculously high sums of money so that all players are sure to find something to tickle their fancy.
As expected from the biggest online poker site in the world, the size and depth of the tournaments offered on PokerStars is simply staggering. Pokerstars has tournaments running around the clock with buy-ins as low $0.01 to as high as $10,000 and prize pools surpassing the $1.5 million mark. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or 10th Dan poker black belt; regardless of whether your money goes jingle jingle or it folds PokerStars has tournaments to suit your style.
It is not just the sheer number of tournaments that sets PokerStars apart; it is the diversity of the tournaments as well. Where on most sites you’ll find Texas Hold’em and Omaha tournaments exclusively, on PokerStars you’ll find Stud, Five Card Draw, Razz, H.O.R.S.E. and 2-7 Triple Draw running regularly as well. There is also a wide variety of different tournament types from which to choose including Sit & Go’s, Multi-Table Tournaments, Satellites, Rebuy Tournaments, Deep Stacks, 6-Max Tournaments, 4-Max Tournaments, Turbo and 2X-Turbo tournaments.
PokerStars is home to two of the premier online online poker series; the World Championship of Poker and the Spring Championship of Poker. Each of these tournaments have had prize pools as high as $30 million in the past, awarding well over $1 million to first place finishers.
In addition to their guaranteed tournaments, PokerStars offers both paid and free roll satellite tournaments to many of the live and online poker events including, the World Series of Poker, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
As with their round table games, the skill level of players in the tournaments is quite high. Stiff competition in the PokerStars tournaments is not just restricted to the high-stakes tournaments; you’ll find plenty of excellent players trolling around the free roll satellites looking for all expense paid packages to live tournaments in warm climes and exotic surroundings.
For The Beginner
This is one area where PokerStars is an excellent place to begin one’s journey into the fast-paced, exciting world of poker. While they do not have an online academy per se, PokerStars offers a series of video tutorials hosted by Team PokerStars Pros, written instruction regarding play strategies and a variety of video podcasts to get the beginner on their way.
Offering plenty of “play money” games, free roll tournaments and micro-limit tournaments running regularly at all hours of the day; PokerStars grants ample opportunity for the beginner to get their feet wet. In addition, the games hosting TeamPokerStars Pros are easily found from the lobby offering a first-hand view for the beginner as to how the heavy-hitters get down.
As with all of the large online poker sites, especially those available to the American market, the beginner has got to be aware of the fact that the competition even in the middle limits is fierce. One might realize a certain level of success on the micro level, be lulled into a false sense of security and take it up a notch only to find themselves up against trolling, grinding, pros whose mission in life is to smash an over confident sophomoric beginner, leaving them down-trodden and penniless lying in a corner in the fetal position whimpering for their mommy!
Software Graphics and Features
With state of the art random number generators and shuffling techniques, crisp graphics, highly customizable user interface, hand data analysis and easily understood and logical design; PokerStars software offers it’s members the highest level of online experiences.
Some of the limitless features include:
• Clean graphics
• Smooth play
• Unloadable Avatar option
• Supports 24 cash game simultaneous play
• Unlimited tournament and sit-and go play
• Automatic tile or cascade of all open tables
• Editing and saving of custom game profiles
• Callback of last 200 hands
• Player notes
• Statistical analysis
• Recalculated pot size after each player’s action
The sign-up bonus for new players on PokerStars is excellent. They will meet the initial deposit of new players with a 100% sign-up bonus up to $600! The bonus is released in $10 increments at a rate of 17 VPP (VIP player points) per $1 bonus. Players may make a total of 3 deposits in total to claim up to the full bonus; however, additional deposits must be made within 60 days of the first deposit.
PokerStars has a great loyalty program offered to its members earned from real money play:
• Frequent Player Points (FPPs)
• VIP Player Points (VPPs)
As regards FPPs, 1-3 FPPs are awarded in real money hands depending on the rake and 5PPs are awarded per each $1 in tournament fees. FPPs can be used to buy a variety of different merchandise on offer in the PokerStars online store, transferred into cash or used to play in special tournaments.
VPPs are used to determine one’s VIP level. The higher one’s VIP status, the faster FPPs are accumulated. In addition, the PokerStars Stellar Rewards program offers cash bonuses based upon a players VPP level. At Supernova status, a player may earn as much as $1000 in bonus cash.
In addition to a generous loyalty program, PokerStars offers a variety of different ongoing promotions including:
• Battle of the Planets- Sit & Go tournament challenge with chance to a share of over $3,000,000 in cash prizes.
• Million Dollar Challenge- Qualify to win a shot to take part in the Million Dollar Challenge TV show where you get to play heads-up for $1,000,000 against celebrities and Team Poker Stars Pros.
• Turbo Takedown- With a buy-in of 3,000 FPPs or entry via satellite you can take a shot at the $1,000,000 prize pool, a brand new Audi TT for the winner as well as a variety of different bonuses.
• Meet Joe Cada in Las Vegas- Play for free for a chance to win an exclusive prize package that includes flights, accommodation, cash and a day with the 2009 World Series of Poker winner, Joe Cada.
• PCA Ladies Weekend- Women players are offered the chance to be a part of the most exciting poker festival in the world, the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. In addition to free flights and accommodations, winners will gain entry into the $1,000 High Heels Poker Tour Grand Final as well as cash and other prizes.
PokerStars offers neither telephone nor online chat support. They do offer email support and their support staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. In addition, their system of FAQs is fairly thorough and well organized.