Poker Stars

At a Glance

Visit Poker Stars
Sign-up Bonus0%
Max Bonus$0.00
LocationCosta Rica
Founded2000
Web SitePoker Stars
SoftwareDownload
U.S. PlayersYes

Ratings

Software10
Competition7
Game Variety9
Cash Game Traffic8
Tournament Structure9
Tournament Traffic10
Rake Amount8
Sign-up Bonus1
Player Bonuses6
Promotions7
Support8
Cash In/Out10
Average Rating7.75

Pros

  • Biggest tournaments online
  • Variety of tournaments
  • Sit-n-go tournaments fill fast
  • Good cash game traffic
  • Excellent lobby for finding games

Cons

  • Support by email only
  • No sign-up bonus
Visit Poker StarsSummary - Avg. 7.75  PokerStars has high traffic, good software, and responsive support. In variety and number, the tournaments are unsurpassed. You can find buy-ins from $1 to several hundred dollars, and fields from a few score to a few thousand. The cash games range from soft players to online pros.
Visit Poker StarsSoftware - 10  PokerStars' software is fast, stable, easy to look at, and easy to use. With recent improvements, the lobby is one of the best in the business, providing features that make it easy to find the game, tournament, or event you want to play. For cash games, you can see the average pot, the percentage of players seeing the flop, and the hands played per hour. For tourneys, you can see tabs that show the various tourneys in these classifications: All, VIP, Regular, Satellite, Special, Freeroll, or Private. The only substantial feature missing in the lobby is a waiting list for any table in a given limit: you must join the wait list for each table individually.

Action at the tables moves along smoothly. A time bank prevents slow players or slow connections from continuously slowing down the game. Chat, notes, statistics, and tournament information are all available as notebook tabs on the table. Making and reading notes here is easier than on other sites. Players can upload avatars (images) that show at their seats and, for some eyes, clutter the table, but you can set an option to show user names only without the avatars. You can play on as many as ten tables at the same time. Hand histories are provided in a pop-up window. If you were in the hand yourself, a hand history shows the mucked cards to you.

In tournaments, players can make pay-out deals at the final table, reserving an additional set amount, $10,000 to $20,000, for the winner. A live director monitors the deal-making and other behavior in the tournaments.
Competition - 7  In the past, PokerStars always had a reputation for tougher players. However, recent promotions and the publicity from WSOP champions associated with PokerStars have vaulted the site to the top of traffic rankings. When you have 85,000 to 100,000 players in a poker room, you have an abundance of soft players. The typical percentage of players seeing the flops is generally 5 to 8 percentage points lower than other sites. But this does not necessarily mean tougher games, especially if you like to play with fewer maniacs and less variance in your bankroll.
Game Variety - 9  The games offered are Texas Holdem, Omaha, Omaha HiLow, Stud, and Stud HiLow. PokerStars seats 10 at limit tables and 9 at no limit and pot limit tables. The variety of tournaments is unsurpassed on the Internet. You can find high-dollar tournaments, big guarantees, freerolls, low buy-ins, and satellites to major casino events. The Sit & Go tournaments range from $1 buy-ins to $5,000 heads-up matches.
Cash Game Traffic - 8  With total traffic peaking over 100,000 in evening hours lately, you can expect to find plenty of cash game players. As with all sites, the highest traffic is in Texas Holdem, but you can find more Stud and Omaha action here than on most sites.
Tournament Structure - 9  The multi-table blind structure is fair in smaller buy-in tournaments and good in larger buy-in tournaments. The smaller have 15-minute intervals for blind increases, the larger buy-ins, over $200, 20-minute intervals. Sit & Go tournament start with $1,500 in chips and the blinds escalate every 10 minutes. The blinds do not increase so fast that you are forced into all-in moves early on. If you win more than one satellite to an event, you can convert the extra wins into entries for other tournaments.
Tournament Traffic - 10  The traffic for tournaments is the highest on the Internet. At almost any time of day, you can find tens of thousands of tournament players on PokerStars. Tournaments with low buy-ins or very high guaranteed prize pools usually have a field in the range of 1000 to 3000 entrants, sometimes more. But you can find smaller fields, especially in tournaments with buy-ins of $50 to $200.
Rake Amount - 8  PokerStars has a very good rake structure with a maximum of $1.00 on the smaller limits and $3.00 on the higher. For no limit, pot limit, and limits of $2/$4 and higher, the maximum rake is reduced to $1.00 for 2-3 players, and $2.00 for 4-5 players.
Sign-up Bonus - 1  There is no sign-up bonus at this time but PokerStars does have periodic reload bonuses.
Player Bonuses - 6  PokerStars gives Frequent Player Points (FPP) for both cash games and tournaments. You can use the points to buy into satellites for major events online and live, you can buy into FPP tournaments, and you can spend the points for merchandise in the FPP store. Additionally, you can earn VIP Player Points (VPP) that provide faster FPP accruals, VIP freerolls, and buy-ins to the Caribbean Adventure, the European Poker Tour, and the main event of the World Series of Poker.
Promotions - 7  Watch for periodic reload bonuses of 20%, up to $120 on a $600 redeposit. There are freerolls every day. PokerStars is a leader in offering satellites to major casino tournaments. Each year, PokerStars offers the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), a series of events with high pay-outs.
Support - 8  The only support is by email. You can expect fairly quick responses. And most importantly, you can expect PokerStars to address any important issues that you may have.
Cash In/Out - 10  Neteller (no charge for InstaCASH–minimum deposit only $25), eCheck, FirePay, CentralCoin, Visa, Visa Delta, Visa Electron, Prepaid Visa, Mastercard, Prepaid Mastercard, Diners Club, Solo/Maestro/Switch (UK customers), cashier's check, money order, bank draft.


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