PokerStars is by far the most popular online poker casino in the world.
They have achieved this position by providing one of the best online poker experiences with generous bonuses, exciting promotions and world-renowned poker tournaments. PokerStars has something for anyone, and in this review, we’ll see if it deserves its podium position.
Established in 2001, PokerStars is one of the first mainstream online poker casinos. Today, it’s so popular that all the other western online poker casinos combined don’t have the same amount of traffic.
But why is it so popular? What does PokerStars have to offer that differentiates it so markedly from other poker sites? That’s precisely what we’ll show you in this online poker casino review. We took a look at PokerStars’ games, tournaments, bonuses, promotions and customer support so you can decide whether it’s the poker site for you.
Exceptional first deposit bonus
The biggest online poker tournaments in the world
Generous deposit and withdrawal terms
The best cash game traffic
Limited customer support
Pokerstars Welcome Bonuses
PokerStars doesn’t attract more players worldwide only because of its games, but also because it has some of the most alluring bonuses and rewarding promotions. Part of their popularity comes from the wide variety of bonuses and promotions on offer. The more you play, the bigger your rewards.
First Deposit Bonus
PokerStars will very generously match your first deposit by 100% for up to £600. This is one of the highest deposit bonuses of any online poker casino we have reviewed. It will be paid out in £10 increments for every 180 Redemption Points earned. On top of that, you can use the bonus code “THIRTY” to get an extra £30 of Free Play (for a deposit over £20) spread over the next 6 days.
Cash Game Leaderboards
During certain periods, you will be able to choose between a few leaderboards to compete in. Leaderboards are divided according to certain stakes. The player who reaches the top of the leaderboard will receive a grand prize in chips that can range from the millions to 1 billion.
At any one time, there are usually a few other promotions running on the PokerStars casino site. For example, during June/July in 2018, there were numerous football-themed promotions coinciding with the world cup. Keep your eyes open for more ways to win. Most promotions are based on earning reward points to unlock special rewards.
Pokerstars App, Devices and Mobile Experience
PokerStars provides great client software for all major devices and is generally accepted to be one of the best overall experiences from a technical perspective. You can download dedicated software for your platform whether you have a Windows computer, Mac, iOS device or Android device.
The mobile experience is especially good compared to some of the other offerings out there. It feels tailor-made and bug-free. The multi-device support makes it easy to play on PokerStars from anywhere while using the same account.
VIP and Loyalty Programs at Pokerstars
PokerStars has a unique loyalty/reward program called Stars Rewards. It works very differently from most other schemes in which you need to earn points to level up for higher tier rewards.
With Star Rewards, you play real money games to earn reward points ($1 in fees = 100 reward points) that fill up your on-screen reward progress bar. Once it’s filled, you get a chest that’s filled with personalised rewards based on which games you usually play. Each chest will also grant you extra reward points when opened to boost you on the way to your next one.
With every four chests you collect in a day, you will stand in line to earn a better chest with more valuable rewards. There are six tiers of chests in total. It gets harder to unlock higher level chests, so you might find it quite a challenge to go all the way. You always stand a chance of winning a random Featured Reward of significant value.
Lastly, each chest contains a number of StarsCoins which can be used to play for free or redeem rewards in the rewards store.
Pokerstars Online Games
You can expect solid Hold’em action if this is your poker format of choice. There are almost always low and mid-stakes tables with vacant seats on PokerStars. However, most of the high-stakes action takes place in heads-up format. Stakes range all the way from $0.1/$0.2 to $200/$400.
The stakes for Omaha are the same as those for Hold’em. Compared to other sites, there is a lot of Omaha traffic on PokerStars, and you’ll find getting a table is way easier. The most popular Omaha variations like 5 Card and Hi/Lo are also accounted for. Most players stick to low and mid-stakes.
Don’t expect as much activity or as great an experience at the other games. There are plenty of options such as Seven Card Stud, Razz and Badugi. You can also play HORSE (8-games mix) but the stakes are usually very high.
As the biggest online poker casino, you can bet that PokerStars runs an array of amazing tournaments with massive guaranteed prize pools. On top of frequent/weekly tournaments for their players, there are also two major global poker tournaments. Multi-table tournaments are the biggest draw but you can find plenty of other types to suit any taste.
The Spring Championship of Online Poker is not only a great tournament for PokerStars players, but it’s also a global poker event. There is over £75 million in guaranteed winnings up for grabs. It runs during the whole month of May with plenty of sub-tournaments and satellites leading up to the main event.
The World Championship of Online Poker is the biggest online poker tournament in the world and can stand alongside others like WSOP and PPC. The winner of the last main event went home with £1.2 million. It usually occurs during the month of September.
PokerStars has a whole array of weekly tournaments that happen every Sunday. The Sunday Million is the biggest weekly tournament in the world. Here are the most important ones:
– Sunday Warm-up: guaranteed prize pool of £750,000.
– Sunday Storm: guaranteed prize pool of £750,000.
– Sunday Million: guaranteed prize pool of £750,000 with a grand prize of over £120,000.
– Sunday Billion: you can win a share of 1 billion chips.
You can buy-in directly to these tournaments or compete in satellites to win a spot.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is also a series of Saturday Tournaments that resemble the Sunday Tournaments, daily tournaments, Knockout Poker Tournament and the MicroMillions, which are the 14 richest low stakes tournaments in poker.
The list of payment options available on PokerStars is by no means exhaustive. However, there is a decent enough variety to suit almost anyone. Not all deposit methods can be used for withdrawals, and some methods allow for fast deposits, which means you can skip some depositing steps.
PokerStars doesn’t charge any deposit fees for any of their deposit methods. However, there might be a mid-market conversion fee applied depending on your local currency. Deposits are usually processed relatively quickly. £10 is the minimum you can deposit at a time.Any player can deposit, withdraw and play with funds in US Dollars. However, you can also keep funds in Euro, Canadian Dollars or British Pounds.
The same goes for withdrawals. There are no fees and a minimum £10, but your money may be subject to a conversion fee depending on your local currency. All withdrawals are only processed after 72 hours by PokerStars and might then be subject to further delay based on the payment provider. PokerStars also reserves the right to limit withdrawals or to pay out large withdrawals in monthly sums.
Fair or Not?
3 days might seem long to wait for a withdrawal, but it’s relatively good compared to other online poker casinos. A flat £10 minimum for deposits and withdrawals is also convenient. Information on maximum withdrawals on PokerStars is scarce. If this is a concern, contact their support staff to learn more.
On the PokerStars website, you can find highly detailed and easy-to-follow FAQs, help pages and documentation. You should be able to independently solve any minor problems you run into with either your account or the actual gaming experience.
If you need to contact support, unfortunately, the only channel with which to do so is a dedicated support email. This is not ideal. However, in our experience, support staff usually respond promptly and are generally eager to help.
We won’t mince words; PokerStars is simply the best online poker site at the moment. In all categories, they dish up an offering that’s equal to (or better than) anything by any other competitor. The only area in which we felt they could improve slightly is to provide more exciting and rewarding bonuses/promotions. However, their first deposit bonus is one of the best.
Arguably the most convincing reason to go all in with PokerStars is their tournaments. Whether it’s the yearly (and internationally recognised) SCOOP or WCOOP tournaments or the weekly Sunday Millions, it’s the place to go for grand poker competitions with unbeatable guaranteed prize pools. Their unrivalled cash game traffic of about 44,000 players online or 4,000 actively playing at any time means that you’re never left out to dry.