PokerStars is the leading poker site within USA and one of ten largest poker sites in the world in terms of traffic volumes in ring games and tournaments. PokerStars won leading position within US after release of October 13, 2006 legislation that wiped the majority of its competitors out of the market. However, it was a very powerful and famous poker site even before release of this legislation – PokerStars hosted last three annual World Series of Poker tournaments and provides plenty of online qualifiers for the majority of events during every WSOP. World Series of Poker is not the only attractive event for visitors of PokerStars that offers juicy ring games and plenty of daily schedule and sit-and-go tournaments with many high-stake games, weekly free-rolls, etc. This site is one of most attractive for both experienced and novice players willing to practice their skills due to incredibly huge volumes of traffic and plenty of newbie players attracted with TV and web campaigns and top positions of PokerStars in search engines. Site statistics show up to 16,000 players in real money ring games and up to 120,000 players in real money tournaments at peak hours. Lowest activity hours show not lesser than 12,000 and 90,000 accordingly. Basically, PokerStars offers a 100% bonus from first deposit (up to $50), however players that will download poker software from this site will also get $25 after reaching 100 player points and enjoy plenty of free-rolls.
Ring game traffic
Just as in the majority of sites, ring game traffic is much lower than in tournament games. At the same time, PokerStars wins traffic competition over all opponents within US market and holds one of leading positions in world top list. One of remarkable features of ring games in this poker room is plenty of players from Australia and Western Europe that keeps gaming tension around the clock, therefore allowing you to find plenty of opponents at any time. Daily statistics show up to sixteen thousands of players in real money ring games at peak hours and not lesser than twelve thousands at lowest activity hours.
PokerStars offers wide selection of most wanted games with leading volumes of traffic in most popular games, such as Seven Card Stud and Omaha (both Hi and Hi-Lo). Other games available in this poker room are Texas Holdem, no limit, fixed limit and pot limit Omaha (both Hi and Hi-lo), 2-7 Triple Draw, 5 Card Draw, Razz, Horse and Hose. Players with tight budget will enjoy micro-limit tables available for Omaha Hi and Texas Holdem games. Besides of micro stakes ($0,01\$0,02), hands played on micro-limit tables are not raked. Unique approach to sit-and-go tournaments with 10 minute increase in blinds and $1500 in chips distributed among players gives outstanding odds to good players and more play poker for the money. One of most remarkable features (and advantages) of PokerStars is that they maintain tournaments for all games available in this poker room, unlike the majority of other rooms that offer tournaments with one-two top games only. To be brief – PokerStars obviously offers widest variety of both ring and tournament games with most attractive stake limits and conditions among US-accepting poker sites and probably the second position for game variety among world poker sites.
The majority of low-stake and micro-stake ring game tables show very soft competition with flop percentage in 40s, 50s and 60s, however, one shouldn’t look for soft competition on high stake, over $1-$2, tables, where competition is really though with flop percentage held between 25 and 30. However, due to plenty of novice players attracted by promotional campaigns and from search engines, all games, including some high-stake games grow softer month by month, so any player will find enough opponents matching his skill level. Soft competition in tournament games is very similar to ring games – much softer in low-stake tournaments, and tougher in high-stake tournaments, especially sit-and-go tournaments with high stakes. Nevertheless, even some high-stake sit-and-go tournaments may be very soft due to great influx of wild, but low-skilled players. To be brief – there are plenty of both ring and tournament games with softer competition that grows tougher just in some high-stake games.
PokerStars offers a frequent player point reward program for loyal members that allows collecting player points in ring and tournament games and redeem them with various buy-ins to weekly and monthly tournaments and various merchandise available in site’s store. One player point is earned with each raked hand and five player points are earned for each dollar paid for tournament buy-in. In addition to basic, PokerStars offers a VIP reward program divided in several levels – the lowest is Bronze, and then Silver, Gold, Platinum and the highest is Supernova. Player status is defined proceeding from quantity of VIP player points earned during a month or year. VIP status offers plenty of benefits to its owner including increased player points rate (more player points for same actions).
PokerStars has efficient and fast support, well knowledgeable and really friendly. Poker site support is available 24/7 via e-mail, however website FAQ will give answers for the majority of questions that you may have.
Deposit and withdrawal options
PokerStars accepts payments from citizens of the US. Players can deposit money with VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, instaCASH, CentralCoin, Diners Club International, Cashier’s Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, FirePay, eChecks.
Players can withdraw money through NETeller, CentralCoin, eCheck, FirePay.
Software and graphics
PokerStars has probably most attractive software in the industry. Cute design and lots of graphical and sound effects make you feel like in a real poker room. Besides of great appearance, it’s fully customizable allowing you to adjust your playing environment down to the minutest details – background image, layout colors, three styles of playing cards, etc. Room’s software is also remarkable for smooth performance and stable connection (not considering stability of your internet connection). Regarding the fact that this poker site is the leading provider and host of tournaments, there are some specific tournament features implemented in room’s software including table balance control, extended time bank and other features that perfect playing and prevent players from using various “time traps” and other unfair things. Thanks to such features and other promotions made by PokerStars, there are plenty of tournaments with over thousand players and several tournaments involving up to five thousands players. Statistics functions are as good, as other features of this software. Starting from detailed hand statistics for all played games and up to calculations of per-hand efficiency, best and worst played hands and much more. Extended statistics will help you to better feel and understand the game, thus improving your skills each time you analyze them. In tournaments, players have great position overview with statistics of played games and number of games left to the top. The lobby will inform you about flop percentages and tell lots of useful information.
As it was already mentioned, PokerStars is the leading host of poker tournaments on web. Plenty of real money poker tournaments involve from 90,000 and up to 120,000 players at peak hours and not lesser than 50,000 during the day. Separate tournaments involve from 1,000 and up to 5,000 players. Overall, tournaments hosted by this poker site are always thrilling and lucrative due to plenty of games and lots of low-skilled newbie players attracted by promotional campaigns and from search engines. Besides of weekly and monthly tournaments, there are several fascinating annual events. For instance it’s a world famous “World Championship of Online Poker” that attracts thousands of both experienced and novice players from whole world.
The rake is a bit lesser than its average rate in the industry. As well as in the majority of other poker sites it is slightly lower at micro-stake games and slightly higher at high-stake games. The average rake for all games is about 5% depending on type of the game and stakes, but is usually not higher than $3 in no-limit games. Rake in fixed-limit games depends on number of players at the table and set limits.
Basically, each player gets 100% of deposited money up to $50. Then each player gets $25 after earning 100 player points and $50 after earning 500 player points. Also $3,000 free-roll tournaments are played involving players that reached 100 player points for the first time. And finally, $15,000 free-roll available at World Poker Tournament. Note that some bonuses may have time limits, or other conditions required to get them. Read more about available bonuses and promotions right after signing up, or contact support to get detailed description of available bonuses in details. One of remarkable features is that the bonuses never expire and get frequently reloaded allowing you to enjoy them again and again.
Besides of basic bonuses available for newly registered players, PokerStars offers plenty of promotions for its players. Basic promotions are available for all regular players and special promotions and loyalty bonuses are offered to loyal members. Most attractive are frequent re-deposit bonuses that add 20-25 percent of deposit. For instance depositing $500, player gets $100 or $125 bonus. Besides of cash prizes, there are plenty of events, such as satellite tournaments to land-based events including WPT (World Poker Tour) and WSOP (World Series of Poker).
PokerStars has top secure billing that guarantees safety of your personal data. No single case of successful attack, or distribution of data took place with site’s servers. Regarding the fact that PokerStars is the largest US accepting poker site and one of largest poker sites in the world, financial security is one of most developed and constantly monitored aspects.