PokerStars is considered by most to be the best of the best in the online poker world. They got huge back in 2003/2004 when they saw Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer take down the World Series of Poker Main Event. The site just continued to grow from there and they began added featured professional players. Back in 2007 they had made the rise to the largest online poker room in the game, and at that time they were allowed United States players. After Black Friday hit though, Stars did end up losing all United States players, but they recently have made some major strides and continued to build back up their traffic. Their recent purchase of Full Tilt Poker is one to watch as well, as the site just continues to build their own traffic and remain as a constant juggernaut.
Bonuses and Promotions
The site features massive guaranteed tournaments, constantly running cash games, and much, much more. For players starting at a new account at PokerStars, you are going to receive a bonus of 100% on up to $600. The play through requirements that come along with PokerStars are very nice as well as they don’t make it too tough for you to earn your bonus. They give you a good amount of time to clear the bonus as well (typically around 6 months) so you won’t have to stress too much about clearing the bonus. Before doing anything with your bonus though be sure to read the terms and conditions just so that you fully understand everything about it!
As far as the promotions go at PokerStars, you are going to find that they run a few different things throughout the months. Probably the biggest and best of the promotions at PokerStars though has to be the WCOOP, or the World Championship of Online Poker. This is an annual tournament series that features a massive number of prizes, and guaranteed tournament money for the series. It is typically somewhere around $10 million for the series, and is broken down among many different tournaments, and styles of tournaments as well. They also have their Frequent Player Point promotion which runs year round, and can give you points to earn towards tournaments, satellites, freerolls, and also to buy things from the PokerStars store.
Tournament Play and Competition
PokerStars has quite a few reasons why players love their site, but the tournament play is one of the biggest. This site is one of the best out there for tournament players, mainly because there are tournaments galore throughout the day each day of the week it seems. Not only are there big tournaments, small tournaments, and single table tournaments, but there are also some great satellites to some of the biggest and best tournaments out there. They have weekly guarantees that range up to a million dollars or even more for some events. As far as the standard poker tournaments go, you are going to find some great tournaments with buy-in’s between $10 and $50 running daily and the tournaments can draw in a good number of players and some big prize pools as well. There are different styles of tournaments as well, and you can search through the lobby to find the tournaments that best fit your style of play.
For players who are fans of playing in sit-n-go’s and smaller tournaments, PokerStars makes sure to cater to this type of player as well. All sit-n-go’s fill up very quickly as well so you are going to get stuck sitting and waiting for the tables to fill up before you play. The sit-n-go tournaments are going to range quite a bit in buy-in, but if you are a high stakes player there are even games running for your level of play as well.
Many people feel that the players at PokerStars are simply going to better than the rest. There are some very good players on the site, but the most important thing is that the play is just tighter by many players. I wouldn’t necessarily call the players better than the rest of the site, but the best way to put it is simply tighter. Players are still going to be calling stations at the lower limits and can be a bit crazy. The most important thing is to take notes on the players and you’ll be able to get a feel for the rest of the table and how those specific players play. You can check out the stats at specific tables before you play as well, which can help you note things such as how many hands per hour are being seen.
Software and Customer Service
To say that PokerStars excels in the software department would be an understatement. They say that they have the best software out there, and it’s a true statement. It’s not a massive step ahead of all of the other sites, but their software does have many things that players seem to love. You can do the standard online poker options like resizing, tiling, stacking and all of that with your poker tables, but you can also put whatever picture you’d like as your avatar which is a nice touch. There are a ton of different graphics for players to choose from to make their table look however they’d like. The hand history at PokerStars is excellent as well, and it’s very easy to use, and you can see all of the hole cards at the table, which helps you get a feel for your opponents’ play and also the types of strategy that they use as well. The speed of play is fast and things run well there, so you won’t get stuck sitting and waiting on hands.
While the customer service at PokerStars is strong, they do only offer the option for email responses. Their responses are prompt and they do a great job of handling your issues through email, but most people prefer to be able to contact someone through the customer service team through an instant option such as live chat or telephone, which PokerStars does not offer currently.
Ring Games and Tournaments
We’ve covered a good amount about the many tournaments that are offered through PokerStars, and the ranges are going to be wide for all level of players. They make sure to cater to both small stakes and high stakes players in terms of tournament action. For cash game players you can find different games on top of the popular Hold’em and Omaha options, such as Stud, HORSE, and Draw games. All of these games do get some traffic as well, so if you are a fan of these games then PokerStars can be a great option for you. The limits for Limit games are 2c/4c through $100/$200, and for No Limit games it is 1c/2c through $100/$200.