- Offers a 100% up to $600 Deposit Bonus
- Widest Spread of Stakes Online
- Biggest Rewards in the VIP Program
Full www.PokerStars.com Poker Review
PokerStars is hands down the largest poker site online. They consistently have 125-200,000 players on their site all day, every day. In terms of traffic alone, they outdo their competitors 5 to 1.
And if being known for their traffic wasn't enough, PokerStars hosts the biggest, most frequent tournaments. Their Sunday schedule alone, consisting of tournaments with guaranteed prize pools ranging from $175k to $1 million, is enough to put the majority of their competitors to shame. That's just one day; PokerStars runs tournaments daily.
Simply put -- PokerStars is the biggest and most popular site. There are games, stakes and promotions for everyone. If you could only play for real money at one site, PokerStars should be it.
Playing Poker at PokerStars.com for Real Money
One of PokerStars' few negatives is that they don't accept real money US players. Since their domain seizure in April-2011, US players have only been able to play for play money.
Software is available for all players, regardless of what you use. There is a PC and Mac poker download and software for Android and Apple devices. Choose one or all, it's up to you. Setup is easy and only takes a few minutes.
Once you have an account and have logged in you'll be able to make a deposit. The most used deposit/withdrawal options include: Visa/MasterCard, EntroPay, Neteller, Skrill, Bank Transfer, UKash, PaySafeCard, Check, Wire Transfer, Instadebit, Instant eCheck
You're able to transfer funds to/from your Full Tilt Poker account, too.
PokerStars Bonuses and Rewards
PokerStars has offered the same deposit bonus for awhile now -- a 100% match up to $600.
The great thing about their bonus is that they allow you to make up to 3 deposits to take advantage of the entire offer. You can split the bonus up however you want. The only catch is that you need to make all of your deposits within 90 days.
To clear your bonus you need to earn VPPs in the amount of your bonus times 17 (VPPs). In other words, if your bonus is $100, you'd need to earn 1,700 VPPs to clear it. Your bonus will be released to you in $10 increments and you'll have 6 months from the date of each deposit to complete it.
VPPs are earned at the rate of 5.5 VPPs for every $1 paid in rake. So to earn $100 of your bonus, you'd have to pay $309 in rake.
Other PokerStars Promotions
PokerStars runs so many promotions, it'd be difficult to go over all of them here. So I just want to cover their biggest promo -- their VIP Club.VIP Club
PokerStars VIP Club has 6 different tiers. Here is each tier, along with the number of points you need and the amount of cashback you can earn at each level.
- BronzeStar - All players start at BronzeStar. You can earn between 10-17% cashback.
- SilverStar - To earn SilverStar you will need to earn 750 VPPs monthly. FPPs are earned at a faster rate; 1.5 for every 1 VPP earned.
- GoldStar - To earn GoldStar every month you will need to earn 3,000 VPPs. You can receive up to 26% cashback and you'll earn FPPs at the rate of 2 for every VPP.
- PlatinumStar - To reach PlatinumStar you'll need to earn 7500 points monthly. You can receive up to 31% cashback and you'll earn 2.5 FPPs for every 1 VPP.
- Supernova - Supernova is a yearly level. It takes 100,000 VPPs to reach this level, and once you do you'll have it until (at least) March of the following year. Players that reach this level can receive as much as 50% cashback, or about $70,000.
- Supernova Elite - Supernova Elite is another yearly level. Elite takes 1,000,000 VPPs, but the work is definitely worth it. Reaching this level will pay players up to 78% cashback, or about $130,000+ yearly. That doesn't include your profits, either.
All levels have their own exclusive freerolls, too. Many items in the store are level exclusive as well, which includes the cash bonuses.
Other promotions at PokerStars include:
- Regular reload bonuses.
- Millions in guaranteed tournaments every month.
- Qualifiers to live events.
- $100k depositor freerolls.
The best way to know what's going on at PokerStars is to download the Pokerstars software, create an account with them and check their site (or your game lobby) regularly.
What Poker Games Can You Play at PokerStars?
PokerStars has a large variety of games, formats, speeds and variations. Here is an overview of what's available:
- Games - Holdem, omaha, stud, badugi, triple draw, razz and mixed.
- Variations - Heads-up, 6-max, shootouts, satellites, turbos, hyper turbos, short/deep stacks, multi-table, and more.
- Stakes - .01/.02 to 1/2k cash games, $1,000 MTTs and $5k SNGs.
- Zoom Poker - Once you fold your hand you're instantly dealt a new one.
- Home Games - Create and manage your own private games.
As I mentioned in my introduction, PokerStars runs the most frequent, and largest tournaments online. They guarantee millions of dollars in prizes weekly. Unfortunately, with their player pool you'll hardly ever find a tournament with overlay.
How to Contact Customer Support at PokerStars
PokerStars' customer support is available 24/7/365. I've used PokerStars support several times in the past, and despite their size/popularity, I've always received a response in less than 24 hours. The staff is very friendly, sometimes funny, and are very willing to help.
To reach PokerStars support by email use this email: email@example.com
History of PokerStars
PokerStars was founded in the late 90s when Israeli IBM Canada senior programmer Isai Scheinber began writing the program for a poker site and created Rational Enterprises, originally based in Costa Rica. By 1999, a PokerStars beta program was launched for play money two years later on September 11, 2001. Three months later, on December 12, 2001, the real money version was launched. Scheinberg continues to run the site today with the help of his sons, the more well-known being Mark Scheinberg. The Scheinbergs own 75% of the company; the employees own the other 25%.
In 2002, PokerStars introduced what they hoped to someday be the online version of the World Series of Poker, the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), and they accomplished their goal. The first WCOOP series took place in July, 2002, offered nine events, and paid $730K in total prize money to participants.
One major event in PokerStars history rerouted the direction of the company forever. By the mid 2000s online poker was gaining popularity, but it hadn’t taken off at exponential speeds just yet… until average-Joe online poker player Chris Moneymaker won a satellite seat for just $39 to the WSOP Main Event and went on to win the championship title, pocketing $2.5 million for his win at his first live tournament, instantly making online poker anyone’s game. Moneymaker, who was a full-time accountant and played Internet poker online at PokerStars on the side, became a role model for millions of American amateur poker players who believed they could be the next Chris Moneymaker. This did wonders for PokerStars and the industry as a whole. Everyone benefitted from the “Moneymaker Effect.”
Moneymaker’s satellite win also catapulted the popularity of WSOP satellites. Suddenly online poker sites were vying to offer more WSOP seats than any other site. PokerStars qualified 315 players the following year for the $100K Championship Event, which ended up representing 15% of the tournament registrants. Not only did this present an opportunity for players to play in live tournaments whereas they would never have otherwise had the chance, it also served as an advertisement opportunity for the poker sites. If you were at the WSOP via a satellite, you were decked out in gear from the benefactor of your buy-in.
Dan Goldman, then VP of Marketing at PokerStars, said, “Our players continue to prove that their online tournament poker experience has tremendous value in a live tournament environment. The ease and convenience of playing poker online provides millions of people with tournament poker experience before they ever set foot in a casino or card room.”
In 2004, PokerStars launched the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, originally a stop on the World Poker Tour. The PCA continues to grow every year and is a must-play-in event for many pros and amateurs alike. Also in 2004, PokerStars launched the European Poker Tour (EPT), now home to the PCA. The first EPT had seven stops and was very successful and still is today, opening up the live poker circuit to players across Europe.
After Moneymaker won the WSOP, he became the face of PokerStars and was signed as a sponsored player who would be found playing online at PokerStars with the likes of his fans. The second annual WCOOP ran, offering 11 events and attracting Moneymaker’s flock, who hoped to watch and/or play with the poker idol himself. That year, WCOOP cash prizes totaled $2.7 million. By the following year, the event had grown to 12 events and a cash prize pool of $6 million.
The 2005 WCOOP saw 20,000 participants vie for the $12 million in cash paid out across 15 events. Also, the online poker giant announced that they had hosted more than 10 million online poker tournaments—more than any other poker site. Online poker was officially a world-wide phenomenon and had proven itself to be much more than a fad, and to increase its already exponential popularity, PokerStars announced in November of 2005 that it had signed three WSOP champions as part of the Team PokerStars Pro team: 2003’s Moneymaker, 2004’s Greg Raymer, and 2005’s Joe Hachem.
In that same month, which was a good month for Stars, and they must have been celebrating big, they were named “Best Poker Operator of the Year” at the eGaming Awards, an honor highly-esteemed in the industry. PokerStars had rightly earned the honor, as by this time it had hosted more than 14 million online poker tournaments, awarded more than $1 billion in cash prizes, and dealt more than three billion hands.
Also, in 2005 the company was relocated to the Isle of Man due to the 0% corporate tax and the fact that the Isle of Man has no laws against companies taking bets from US players. PokerStars was granted an eGaming License under the Isle of Man’s Gambling Regulation Act of 2001, regulated by the Isle of Man Supervision Commission.
In the beginning of 2006, the Scheinbergs thought about either floating their company, which was valued at around $2 billion, or selling it. PartyGaming had already gone public, and many believed PokerStars would follow. Others speculated that Stars would merge with 888 Holdings, another Israeli-owned company. However, things happened (UIGEA-see below), and the Scheinbergs decided to keep the company as it was. The family’s plans to float $1.6 billion of the company’s worth, to be carried out in the spring of 2007, would never see the light of day.
The company continued to grow, especially after the then biggest online poker site in the world, PartyPoker, which was at the privy of its shareholders, withdrew from the US market following the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Because the UIGEA made it illegal for banks to process online gambling funds transfers for players residing in the US and did not target the player or the poker sites, many online poker sites including PokerStars made the decision to remain in the US market and reap the benefits of PartyPoker’s exit.
In 2006, the WCOOP continued to develop, consisting of 18 events and $18.7 million in prize cash, and by 2007, more than 40,000 players were attracted by the newly introduced short-handed tournaments and the near $25 million in cash payouts. Players from more than 100 countries participated in 23 events. In 2008, the $40-million series hosted 33 events, and by 2009, the WCOOP broke an online poker record when players from 140 nations played together in 45 events across 18 days and shared the more than $51 million prize pool.
Also in 2006, Stars introduced the weekly Sunday Millions online tournament, attracting 5,893 players that mustered up a prize pool worth more than $1.1 million. In 2011, the event attracted its biggest field at just under 60,000 with a prize pool worth $11.8 million. Today poker pros and online poker players around the world still anticipate this massive event every week.
In 2007, PokerStars signed world-renowned Daniel Negreanu to its Team PokerStars Pro lineup. Negreanu joined an already impressive group of poker pros including Moneymaker, Hachem, Barry Greenstein, and Vanessa Rousso, among others.
Following the success of the EPT, in May of 2008, PokerStars launched the first major poker tour in Latin American, the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) including stops in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Uruguay.
In July of 2008, Stars launched the first dedicated Mac online poker software, opening up the site to Mac players. The PokerStars Mac platform surpassed other online poker systems for Mac users, making PokerStars all the better.
By 2009, the company was netting more than $1.3 million ever day and around $1.4 billion per year.
Continuing to stay on top throughout 2010 and 2011 and incessantly growing, PokerStars, as well as Absolute Poker/UB.com, and Full Tilt Poker took a massive hit on April 15th, 2011, otherwise known as Black Friday in the poker world. On this day, the FBI seized the domains of these three biggest online poker sites serving the US market, as well as player accounts and the money contained in them. Fortunately for PokerStars players, PokerStars was quick to recover the funds of their loyal players, despite the fact that they would no longer be able to play online poker at PokerStars from within the US.
PokerStars.com relocated to PokerStars.eu and continued to serve the rest of the world without their US players and has managed to stay afloat in spite of the gaping hole in their player base, hoping someday to re-enter the US market once legislation for legalized online poker in the US is in place. A previous partnership with the Wynn brand Las Vegas casino, which came up in March, 2001, was quickly dissolved when Black Friday hit only about a month later, but PokerStars still looks toward the future and will eventually come back to the US if at all possible.