PokerStars

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PokerStars Review

PokerStars is the largest poker site on the planet with some 150K players online at any given time. Deposit bonus of 100% up to $600, countless free rolls each week and solid VIP program.

Overview

PokerStars is a giant among giants. Over the last decade they’ve toppled all would be kings such as Party Poker and Full Tilt Poker. They’ve risen to the very top of the online poker world by offering players a consistent gaming experience while maintaining the highest level of support and security.

Of course, quality service and games alone won’t get you to the top.  In addition to the welcoming players lobby and easy deposit options, you almost certainly know a few of the Team PokerStars members. These ambassadors of the game are known around the world and consist of WSOP Champions such as Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem, a good mix of sports icons and celebrities (Boris Becker and Jason Alexander), as well as online players like Dusty Schmidt (Leatherass9).

It’s that large stable of players and celebrities that helped launch PokerStars into the number one slot among online poker sites. If you’re looking for a wide range of game selection and a player base ranging from complete newcomers to the highest stakes online players, you’ve found it with PokerStars.

Software

The iteration of years of development based on real world feedback from players and software engineers alike, the PokerStars software is truly world class. Fast game play with solid graphics and a user friendly interface allow for a seamless gaming experience. They also offer a Mac only client for the Apple owners out there.

In terms of customization, the sky is almost the limit here. You can change table layouts, background, and even upload your own picture for your avatar. Conversely, you can go old school and choose a simple table layout with a black background if you so choose. When multi-tabling you can lay the tables out in a grid or choose to tile them (one on top of the other, which is particularly handy if you’re using only one monitor).

Games

Of course Texas Holdem and Omaha are the go-to games at PokerStars. The supporting cast is made up games such as Seven Card Stud, HORSE, HOSE, 2-7 Triple Draw, Five Card Draw, RAZZ, 2-7 Single Draw Lowball, Badugi, 8-Game, and several other mixed-game variants.

Loyalty Program

Since you can’t receive Rakeback at PokerStars, they’ve really upped the ante on their Loyalty Program. When playing real money hands, tournaments, and Sit N Go’s you’ll earn two types of points: 1) Frequent Player Points (FPPs) and 2) VIP PlayerPoints (VPPs).

FPPs are essentially currency that can be used to buy merchandise from the PokerStars store as well as entry into online events and land based tournaments such as the WPT, WSOP, and WSOPE.

VPPs are points that count towards your “status” at PokerStars. The first tier is Silverstar and is awarded once you’ve accumulated 750 points (which coincides with a cash payout of $10.00). There are several tiers beyond this and if you really want to be king of the mountain shoot for Supernova Elite. If you ever happen to achieve this level you’ll find yourself in rare air. Less than 1% of players at PokerStars ever reach this level and the highest degree of discipline is required to get there.

Cash Games

Game selection here is akin to going to a Vegas buffet – everything you could imagine is there for the taking. Be careful though, many players at Stars are regulars and earn a decent living playing limits as low as $1/$2 (albeit while multi-tabling up to 24 tables). There’s still plenty of fish in the sea however and by learning the ebb and flow of games at PokerStars you can still find a reasonable table stake that will satisfy your needs. The key here is to decide if you’re playing for recreation or pure profit. By monitoring the action and doing a little research using Shark Scope or other similar online poker databases, you’ll find your sweet spot.

Tournaments

It should go without saying that the largest online poker site in the world offers the most tournaments. It’s tough to NOT find the game you’re looking for in terms of tournaments at PokerStars. You can choose to sort through the range of games manually or use the simple filtering option to find micro limit Sit N Go tournaments for a dollar or if you prefer big game hunting there are events such as the Sunday Million with its 1.5 Million Dollar Guaranteed prize pool.

Satellite events are taking place daily that could turn you into the next Chris Moneymaker. Even players that go bust can participate in these as some of them have buyins of just 15 FPPs. Some events send players to big online tournaments such as the Sunday Million yet others are for live events such as the EPT.

Security

With encryption technology that likely rivals some financial institutions, you can rest easy knowing that your money and your player data is very safe with PokerStars. In addition, they employ proprietary fraud monitoring software that can tell if you’re being cheated by other players (typically collusion). On top of that there are lots of human eyes watching the games and also replays of games that come into question. If there’s ever an allegation of cheating the PokerStars Team is generally very quick to look into your issue with a personal touch (no automated responses here).

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In summary, you simply can’t go wrong having an account at PokerStars. However, I’ll list a few bullet points below for your consideration:

Good

  • More players online than any other site and plenty of games to choose from
  • Established name with secure, friendly gaming atmosphere
  • Some of the richest tournaments online held weekly

Bad

  • The high number of players means that there are also many sharks waiting to bust you
  • The best games sometimes have waiting lists

Ugly

  • Tough to come with up any traits that qualify as ugly for these guys!

Why play at PokerStars?

  • Most online players, any time of the day
  • Big variety of great tournaments
  • Huge signup bonus
  • Covers any deposit method
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