PokerStars Review

PokerStarsWhile doing research for this guide, I read hundreds of pages of 2+2’s PokerStars Improvement Thread and played tons of hours of online poker at PokerStars.com. I’ve also been in the online poker industry for well over a decade, from before PokerStars ever got started. With that said, let’s get started on the PokerStars review.

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PokerStars Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Secure and Safe Online Poker Site.
  • Massive Opportunity for Gaming.
  • Quality Customer Support.
  • Great promotional opportunities.

 Cons

  • Low US Player availability.
  • No Live Chat Support.

About PokerStars.com

Since 2006, PokerStars has reigned as the most popular online poker room in the world – and not only has it been in the lead, it has dominated its competition.

For instance, according to PokerScout.com, PokerStars’ cash game traffic at its lowest hours is still twice as high as its nearest competition’s traffic at peak hours. At the time of writing, PokerStars has about 19,000 cash-game players online while the second busiest site (888 Poker) has about 3,000.

Not one competitor comes even close to PokerStars. But for how long?

Is PokerStars legit? Safety and security

When choosing an online poker room, players want a place that is safe and secure. At PokerStars, only the latest technology is used to ensure that gameplay is fair, player data is secure, and all financial transactions are safe. When it comes to fairness, PokerStars has game integrity experts who work to ensure that no player has an advantage over another. Software security is in place as well, to keep the quality of gameplay at the highest level.

PokerStars also holds their licensing within the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. This commission was created in 1962 and ensures the regulation of online gambling activities. With this backing and the standards PokerStars upholds, players can rest assured they are going to experience legit game play.

Opening your PokerStars account 

With our PokerStars review, you can easily learn how to open a new account. Below you will find  step-by-step instructions to get you started.

  1. Download the online poker software from PokerStars
  2. Open the software via the quick-start icon, should be labeled “PokerStars”
  3. Once opened, choose ‘Create a new account now”
  4. From here, you will be able to set up your Stars Account

PokerStar Bonus 

Bonuses are readily available at PokerStars, especially for new members. To begin, new players to the site can access $30 in Free Play. Deposit $20 or more with the bonus code THIRTY to earn this extra bonus cash. The $30 in Free Play includes Spin & Go Tickets plus bonus cash.

Another option for new players is the 100% deposit bonus worth up to $600. This bonus can be accessed by using the code STAR600 and depositing via three qualifying deposits within a 60-day time frame. After depositing, players will need to play real money games. During gameplay, redemption points are earned. Players will earn 5 redemption points for every $1 paid in rake or tournament fees.

Player Traffic and Tournament Prizepools

Even though the recent changes have been unpleasant (to say the least), PokerStars is lightyears ahead of others when it comes to cash game player traffic and tournament prize pools. Volume makes a huge difference and PokerStars has ten times the volume of its closest competitor. For a poker player who cares about the art of game selection (as any winning player should), there’s no better place to play at than PokerStars.com.

While there is a high level of traffic at PokerStars, the game quality is among the poorest in all of online poker. Grinders play a dozen or more tables at a time. There are also problems with bum-hunting, meaning serious players will only go up against weaker ones. Some of the recent changes have tried to combat this, but it has not been effective.

PokerStars real money deposit and withdrawals  

Now that you have your PokerStars account created, its time to learn about deposits and withdrawals. There are options for players to enjoy PokerStars via desktop and mobile, so game play can be enjoyed at home or on the go. PokerStars bitcoin, WebMoney, Visa, MasterCard and many more options are available for deposit and withdrawal depending on your location.

  • Desktop Cashier
    • In the desktop version, you will need to open the software and click on Cashier then the Make a Deposit tab. Select the deposit option you wish to use and click Deposit. Enter the amount and use a bonus code if it applies. Click submit and once your transaction is processed, you are ready to play.
  • Mobile Cashier
    • Log in to the PokerStars app via your mobile device using your Stars ID. Be sure you log in via the real money tab. Choose the Deposit button to open the cashier. With an iOS device you will find the Cashier button at the bottom of the screen. On Android, you will need to choose the navigation menu at the top left corner to find the cashier. Choose your payment option, preferred currency and amount of deposit. Follow the instructions to complete your transaction.

 

When choosing your payment method, you will need to choose an option available to your country. PokerStars offers varying financial methods based on location. Players in one location may have access to more deposit and withdrawal options based on their home country. Be sure to check what options are open to you and select the preferred method when depositing.

Software Quality

For several years now, I’ve ranked PokerStars’ software as the second best in the world, right behind Full Tilt. For me, Full Tilt had something special, but PokerStars has always had good software as well which obviously appeals to plenty of people. Full Tilt was folded into PokerStars in May 2016, leaving PokerStars as the top software in the online poker industry.

What’s so good about the software, then? Well, for one, it works (or at least worked before the latest major update). It’s easy on the eye, and even more importantly, it’s easy to use. Online poker has been around for over 15 years now and it’s mind-boggling how few online poker rooms still have a top quality software, and PokerStars happens to be one of the rare sites who do.

Playing on PokerStars on your mobile device 

With our PokerStars review, we wanted to cover mobile device use as most players want to take their online poker gaming on the go. The very same features and support can be found on mobile, allowing players to move from desktop to mobile with ease, never missing out on poker opportunities. With the mobile cashier, players will be able to manage their bankroll, making deposits via the Mobile poker application.

To get started, players will need to download the application on their mobile device. PokerStars offers mobile gaming via iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. Once downloaded, players can log in and begin able to enjoy poker cash games or tournaments from anywhere!

The big benefit of mobile gaming is being able to play at any time from anywhere. You are no longer tethered to your desktop computer and can log on anywhere you like.

PokerStars Customer Support

You don’t get to be the top online poker site in the world by providing bad customer support. PokerStars is a professional online poker operation and they will treat you that way. They’re also active in online gambling communities by answering to members’ questions, solving their problems and asking for feedback.

The customer support personnel aren’t to blame for the decisions the directors of the company have made regarding the recent (mostly negative) changes. If anything, their job has become harder since people are surely complaining more nowadays.

I have no complaints regarding the customer support department (except for the lack of phone support which could come in handy). But the way PokerStars takes care of its customers as a company (again, referring to the recent changes) has changed for the worse and that bothers me (and judging by all the comments made online, bother a lot of other people too). With that said, it is still among the best in terms of how it handles player complaints and support issues.

Amaya Acquisition

…the ability to fight off the ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency. When these corporate cancers metastasize, even the strongest of companies can falter.Warren Buffett

Only time will tell if Amaya is making smart business decisions. But I can tell you something right now: plenty of PokerStars customers are disappointed by 2 major changes, first, it has cut back on costs and second, Amaya increased fees. These changes have lead to a worse user experience.

How the Amaya acquisition has affected PokerStars

Not only is it more expensive to play at PokerStars due to the increase in rake fees in both cash games and tournaments, and the decrease in the VIP benefits, they now seem less and less willing to promote poker by cutting out affiliate marketers and terminating contracts with Team PokerStars Pros all the while launching online casino games and sportbooks.

They’ve also decreased the quality of the playing experience. When it comes to significant software updates in any business, you’ll have long-time users who aren’t fond of the changes but it eventually grows on them. In this case, lots of players started experiencing significant lags after the software update from what’s called PokerStars 6 to PokerStars 7. Players are now reporting continuous lags, sometimes to the point where the tables are frozen for several minutes while multi-table tournaments are running (the lags seem especially bad for multi-tablers).

But why is this happening?

If the rumors on poker forums are to be believed – not always a good idea – Amaya has also cut back on server costs which, in turn, has caused its customers to experience significant lags. A PokerStars representative took part in 2+2 forum’s discussion with the following quote:

Unfortunately, lags have continued long after the tournament was held. And it was a weak response either way since we’ve already seen PokerStars host the biggest tournaments online ever. If the problem is on server-side, then the server-side isn’t what it used to be.

And that, in turn, is in line with the rumors. Amaya Gaming has since changed names to Stars Group to reflect its largest holding.

Conclusion

PokerStars may still be the best option for online poker players around the world (US players are prohibited) but its quality has gone downhill recently. However, it’s hard to argue against the massive amounts of player traffic and tournament prizepools which tower over all of PokerStars’ competitors, in addition to other types of promotions that PokerStars is better-equipped to offer than its significantly smaller competition.

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  • 10+ years with a strong reputation
  • $2,500 deposit bonus
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PokerStars rated 4.4 /5
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