Pokerstars welcomes you to the largest online poker site in the world. As expected of the worldwide leader in online poker, you can play all types of poker games, tournaments, satellites, and freerolls. Games are starting every second of the day!
But, there’s so much more to this legal online poker room than just two welcome bonus offers. My expert review covers it all at PokerStars, even breaking down the details of bonuses, best value tournaments, and a handy guide on setting up private poker home games.
- Great welcome bonus
- Switch from poker to casino
- Award-winning software
- The biggest variety of games
- Slow response from customer service
- Confusing rewards program
PokerStars Welcome Bonus Offers
Sign up for a new PokerStars account, and the online poker site greets you with two great welcome bonus offers to choose from. Previously, most people assumed that you could only choose one offer. Here at PlayingLegal, the secret is now out. You can use both welcome bonuses and stack them or choose one, depending on your preference.
Without further ado, here are the two PokerStars bonus offers:
- Bonus Code: Stars600 awards 100% up to $600 on the first three deposits within the first 60 days
- Bonus Code: FREE30 gives you $30 in Free Play with a minimum of $20 deposit.
At present, if you are an existing or previous FOX Bet player and made a deposit, your PokerStars player account will not be eligible for the above bonus offers.
Free Play Bonus
To receive the $30 Free Play, you need to make a first deposit of $20 or more into your PokerStars account and use the bonus code FREE30. After your deposit has been approved, you will receive your $30 Freeplay Bonus in stages. After your deposit, PokerStars gives you an added bonus, a Depositor Freeroll Ticket, and 1M Play Money Chips.
- The first $10 of your bonus money will be credited to your account within 36 hours of the deposit.
- Then for the first 3 days after the deposit, you will receive Spin & Go Tickets worth $10
- Day 1 = 3 $1 Spin & Go Tickets
- Day 2 = 1 $2 Spin & Go Ticket
- Day 3 = $5 Spin & Go Ticket
- The final $10 of your $30 Free Play will be credited to your account seven days after your deposit.
Deposit Match Bonus
Above all, to receive this 100% Deposit Bonus you need to make a real money deposit using the bonus code STARS600 (minimum $10 deposit, maximum $600). Now, the deposit bonus is released as you earn redemption points in real money games on PokerStars.
For each time you earn 140 redemption points, your account gets credited with $10 cash! In most games, 5 redemption points are earned for every $1 you pay in tournament fees or rake.
Most importantly, this bonus expires after 4 months after each qualifying deposit.
How to Claim
- Install the PokerStars desktop client or mobile app to claim your welcome bonus.
- Create and register your PokerStars account and confirm your details.
- Go to the Cashier and make a minimum deposit of $10.
Bonus Terms and Conditions
- You must be 21+ years old and physically located in a state where PokerStars is legal.
- The deposit minimum of $20 credits to your PokerStars account over 7 days for the free play bonus.
- Most importantly, this first deposit minimum of $10 and a maximum of $600 for a 100% match is released in $10 increments.
- Earn 5 points for each $1 paid in cash game rake or tournament fees.
- Expires in 4 months.
Ongoing Poker Promotions
As a matter of fact, PokerStars constantly runs promotions and special offers for existing players.
Currently, PokerStars offers:
- PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship: Live high-roller event with lots of players qualifying.
- Spin & Go Saturday: $1 could turn into $1 million on Saturdays!
- The Cardex Challenge: Opt-in, and the Cardex reveals your poker card. Get dealt your selected card and progress to the next card. Complete all five reels to win!
- Multi-table Tournament MTT Leaderboard: Finish in the top 60 and share the T$7,500 prize pool. First place is worth T$1,500.
Poker Games at PokerStars
PokerStars offers a wide variety of poker games for all types of poker players. With its wide variety of gaming options, PokerStars separates itself from the rest of the competition. Without further ado, I invite you to join me for an in-depth analysis of what the most well-known online poker room in the world truly offers.
PokerStars offers the biggest tournament guarantees and fields plus prize pools of any online poker site in the world. However, players in the United States can't take part in worldwide tournaments. Yet, that's not to say that there is no variety of games here in the US.
Tournaments, satellites, and freerolls start every few minutes. Below, here are the highlights of the best multi-table tournaments, including Sunday majors.
Sunday Majors Schedule
No doubt about it here. If you enjoy multi-table tournaments, you can't miss Sundays at PokerStars.
|Sunday Warm-Up $50||$8,500||16:00 ET|
|Sunday Storm $10||$4,500||17:00 ET|
|Sunday Special $200||$45,000||18:00 ET|
|Sunday High Roller $500||$15,000||19:00 ET|
|Sunday Supersonic $75||$5,000||22:00 ET|
Special Tournament Series
In addition to the large variety of poker tournaments available daily, PokerStars offers several Annual Series where big money is up for grabs.
For example, over a million dollars in guaranteed prize money runs through multiple events in April of most years. In fact, the highlight of the New Jersey Spring Championship of Poker (NJSCOOP) is a $100,000 guaranteed main event. For Pennsylvania, look for the equivalent with even higher guarantees, PASCOOP.
The Daily Bigs
|Big $5||$500||16:00 ET|
|Big $30||$1,000||17:00 ET|
|Big $50||$2,000||18:00 ET|
|Big $10||$1,000||18:00 ET|
|Big $20||$1,500||19:00 ET|
The Hot Turbos
|Hot $10||$1,000||20:00 ET|
|Hot $5||$500||21:00 ET|
|Hot $50||$2,000||22:00 ET|
|Hot $30||$1,500||23:00 ET|
Known as a Progressive Super Knockout, all players have a bounty placed on them. So, if you eliminate someone, you get their bounty, which is a cash prize. For each player you knockout, your own bounty increases.
|KO Fever $10||$1,000||13:30 ET|
|KO Fever $5||$500||19:30 ET|
|KO Fever $50||$3,000||20:00 ET|
|KO Fever $15||$1,000||22:30 ET|
The nightly PokerStars tournament guarantees $10,000. Buy-in directly for $100 at 19:00 ET.
This is a late-night poker tournament with a hyper-turbo format, which means blind levels only last 3 minutes—buy-in for $20 at midnight ET with a guarantee of $1500.
Are you looking to play something else besides no limit hold’em? Then, this is the tournament series for you! Choose from Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, or Stud.
|Change-Up PLO H/L $5||$500||17:30 ET|
|Change-Up PLO $20||$1,000||19:30 ET|
|Change-Up Stud $15||$500||21:30 ET|
|Sunday Change-Up $100||Max. $5,000||19:30 ET|
Sunday Major Comparison
|Poker Room||MTT Name||Buy-in||Guarantee|
|BetMGM Poker||Sunday $35k||$215||$35,000|
PokerStars falls right in the middle in this tournament comparison. However, the buy-in for the Sunday Special is the lowest amongst the three online poker rooms. Thus, when making these types of comparisons, it is important to consider all factors. The fact that PokerStars buy-in is the lowest but that the guarantee is not the smallest means a healthy player pool.
Obviously, Sunday major tournaments and player traffic will fluctuate depending on the special series and time of the year, so I would like to make another comparison in the future.
At PokerStars, you can choose to either fill a single table or up to three tables for sit-n-gos. Also, you have a choice between NLHE, PLO, and PLO8. Then, you can pick between 6-max or heads-up. Available stakes range from as low as $0.25 up to $500. Obviously, the micros and lower stakes will have a better chance of filling versus the high limits.
Spin & Go
Known as PokerStars’ tournaments with their own unique spin, these tournaments tend to be more popular than the traditional sit-n-gos.
Tickets for these tournaments range anywhere from $1 up to $25.
The format is three-handed, and the spin on the prize pool can range anywhere from 2x to 1,000x your buy-in. The spin begins as soon as the tournament fills. Typically, you will receive a spin of 2x.
Quickly fold or fast-fold your hand and move on to a new table. Essentially, you join and are placed at a table. As soon as you fold your hand, you are moved to a new table where a new hand immediately starts. In this manner, you don’t need to wait for the hand to play out. Thus, there is no waiting.
Although Zoom poker is popular on PokerStars’ international market, it doesn’t seem popular here in the US yet. Possibly, if the shared liquidity or a player pool comes to pass, this poker format could catch on.
Private Home Games
Never miss out on poker night with your friends again by making sure your poker home games keep running! Moreover, you can choose from a variety of game formats like private cash games or tournaments. Lastly, you can even choose to enable leaderboard standings for bragging rights amongst friends.
With so many different cash game formats offered at PokerStars, it easy to be overwhelmed. For this reason, here are some important details regarding traffic plus stakes:
- Micro stakes are set as low as $.01-$.02 blinds. For high stakes, games are spread up to $100/$200.
- No limit hold’em at PokerStars is by far the most popular cash game choice. Don’t expect to see higher stakes running often. Typically, NLHE runs up to $1/$2.
- Find Omaha tables easily, particularly during high traffic hours around the .25/.50 range.
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- NL H/L
- Limit H/L
5 Card Omaha
- Pot Limit
- Pot Limit H/L
- Limit H/L
- PL Courchevel
- PL Courchevel H/L
- Limit Courchevel H/L
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud H/L
- NL 5 Card
- PL 5 Card
- Limit 5 Card
- NL 2-7 Triple Draw
- NL 2-7 Single Draw
- Limit Badugi
- No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha
PokerStars Mobile App
Altogether, PokerStars allows you to take your poker game anywhere with their mobile app. After all, the convenience of playing poker on-the-go just can’t be beaten.
Currently, the PokerStars mobile app is available on iOS or Android mobile and tablet devices. At present, download the PokerStars mobile app directly from the main website.
Additionally, the vast majority of features, such as customization and filtering, are available. However, there are two options that I found lacking:
• Vanilla is not available as a deposit option on the mobile app.
• PokerStars Home Games are not accessible via the mobile app.
On the whole, the mobile app is capable of multi-tabling more than one poker table. However, this process feels more limiting due to your mobile device's screen size rather than through any fault of PokerStars software itself. Definitely, still, I consider it by far one of the top online poker mobile apps for playability.
How to Download the Mobile App
- On your mobile device, head to the PokerStars website with your browser.
- Click on ‘Download.'
- Now, the website automatically detects your Android or iOS system.
- Finally, follow the instructions for installation.
PokerStars Desktop Client
That is to say; the PokerStars desktop client is easy to download whether you are using a Windows or Mac OS. To demonstrate, the PokerStars download and installation begins automatically and prompts you through the process.
Overall, some of PokerStar's best software features are color schemes for various tournaments, hotkeys, auto re-buy, game filters, and a preferred seat selector.
In fact, PokerStars NJ boasts its software is industry-leading plus simple and intuitive. Truly, the amount of customization plus personalization is to be expected from the largest online poker room.
How to Download the Desktop Client
Download and install the PokerStars desktop client in three easy steps:
- Navigate to the PokerStars main page and click ‘Download.'
- Select ‘Run' when the pop-up box appears.
- Finally, after the installation completes, sign-up for a PokerStars account.
Ultimately, even with PokerStars mobile banking, you can deposit and withdraw with ease. Don’t believe me? Just check out the 10 different deposit options along with 6 withdrawal options. Besides, deposit limits and withdrawal times are also listed.
|Withdrawal Method||Processing Time|
|Bank Transfer||3-5 Business Days|
|VanillaDirect||3-5 Business Days|
Generally speaking, PokerStars offers a Fast Deposit, so you are never interrupted or forced to leave your game. Nonetheless, this feature is only available through Skrill, Bank Transfers, Mastercard, and Visa.
Featured Payment Method
Try out the PokerStars Play+ card, which is automatically paired up to your player account for easy and safe deposits and withdrawals. You can use this option as a Fast Deposit, and the Play+ card is accepted everywhere that Discover cards are accepted.
Legal and Licensed
|PokerStars Company Review|
|Parent Company:||Flutter Entertainment|
|Software:||Rational Intellectual Holdings Limited|
|International Licenses:||Isle of Man, Malta, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Estonia|
In short, PokerStars is a fully licensed gaming operator in the state of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Thus, PokerStars is a legal and regulated online poker site.
In reality, this ensures compliance through monitoring and auditing by relevant state regulatory agencies. PokerStars accounts, customer service, and wager payouts are all legal and legitimate.
Overview of PokerStars in the US
PokerStars launched in September of 2001 with a play money only site and quickly moved to real money wagering in December of 2001. While it is one of the top online poker sites ever since its inception, PokerStars gained true notoriety in 2003.
Surprisingly, a massive boom followed after Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Markedly, Moneymaker holds the title as the first WSOP ME Champion to qualify for the Main Event through a satellite via an online poker site, PokerStars.
PokerStars is owned by The Stars Group, which merged with Flutter Entertainment. In detail, Flutter Entertainment is a global gaming operator and, while based in Dublin, owns many other big-name gaming sites.
The Moneymaker Effect
In this case, Moneymaker proved that anyone could be a WSOP ME Champion. The win which was covered extensively by media outlets like ESPN kicked off the dawn of the online poker boom known as the “Moneymaker effect” with PokerStars leading the way.
PokerStars and Black Friday
In 2006, U.S. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Then, the U.S. Department of Justice shut down online poker for American citizens on a sad day known as “Black Friday.” To clarify, PokerStars, along with other online poker operators, were forced out.
A favorable memorandum issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2011 paved the way for US states to legalize online gambling.
As a result, the Garden State led the way in legalizing online gambling, and PokerStars NJ officially launched in 2016. Then, PokerStars in Pennsylvania launched in 2019. In fact, PokerStars PA officially holds the title as the largest online poker room of legal operators in the US.
Next, look for PokerStars to launch in Michigan in 2021. Besides, West Virginia is also on the radar as the state has legalized online poker.
PokerStars Game Integrity Team
Most importantly, the safety and security of PokerStars players are of utmost importance. In fact, a group of 60+ computer programmers, analysts, and ex-professional poker players monitor games against cheating around the clock.
Using super-computers, powerful machine algorithms, and even access to every single poker hand dealt (over 200+ billion) to monitor PokerStars game integrity and fairness at the tables. Should cheating be suspected or detected, the team's efficiency ensures that the vast majority of honest players aren’t disrupted and disturbed during gameplay.
Rather, suspected cheaters are first flagged with their account and funds frozen until the investigation is complete. Once there is confirmation of cheating, the account is completely banned from PokerStars with the possibility of all funds forfeited.
In addition to its strong security, PokerStars commits to responsible gaming. To summarize, the parent company, The Stars Group, includes a priority to protect against the negative aspects of gambling in the mission statement.
In this case, by including self-exclusion tools and setting your own self-imposed limits regarding time and deposits, PokerStars adheres to the industry’s highest standards of responsible gaming.
Other PokerStars Products
PokerStars Loyalty Rewards Program
Technically called the Stars Rewards program; it is really different from other online poker rooms. Mainly, it revolves around earning points to unlock chests. Firstly, each chest contains some cash, which equates to rakeback or even Spin & Go tickets. Secondly, depending on your Chest Level color, cash prizes can range from as little as $0.50 up to $700.
- Blue Chest: Prize $0.50
- Bronze Chest: Prize range from $0.60 up to $12
- Silver Chest: Prize range from $1.50 up to $30
- Gold Chest: Prize range from $5 up to $100
- Diamond Chest: Prize range from $12.50 up to $250
- Black Chest: Prize range from $35 up to $700
How to Earn Star Rewards Points
Based on a 28-day cycle, you need to earn 10 chests to move up levels over that time period. Moreover, these chests also don’t just award cash prizes, but also, you are awarded StarCoins. Then, these StarCoins award additional tournament dollars and tickets or to freerolls. Additionally, check your progress bar to see how close you are to earning Chests.
Also, you don’t just have to earn points at poker; earn them while playing in the PokerStars Online Casino and FOX Bet sports betting. However, you earn 100 RPs for each $1 in ring cash game rake or Zoom poker for poker specifically. For tournaments, you earn 45 RPs for each $1 paid in fees.
Even so, excluded from earning points are no-limit and pot-limit higher stakes games such as $5/$10 and higher. For limit and 8-game, blinds of $20/$40 and higher are excluded as well.
Individual Progress Bars
Finally, each player’s progress bar is different, so it is tough to determine how much rakeback or cashback you’re actually earning.
Certainly, this truly a disadvantage to the Stars Rewards program. To date, PokerStars has not released any information regarding what exactly determines individual progress bars. On the other hand, certain players enjoy the thrill of opening PokerStars Chests rather than knowing the actual amount of cash back earned.
Truly, a negative of PokerStars is customer support or rather the lack of options to get in touch with customer service. Unfortunately, they do not have a live chat option or phone number to call. Thus, the only way to get help for an issue is by sending an email.
How to Contact
Now, to send an email, go to the ‘Help’ tab and then select ‘Contact Us.’ Then, a form appears to fill out.
Next, choose a category and then, sub-category to further define your issue. Finally, fill in a detailed message. To emphasize, the response time is not immediate and generally takes around 12-24 hours for any response. Yet, you may request a call through the form between the hours of 10 AM – 10 PM.
Fear not; all is not lost. To be sure, PokerStars has a pretty thorough and extensive FAQs section. Indeed, you will find questions and answers to many common issues.
Fortunately, PokerStars really does not have many issues. After all, remember that PokerStars is a leading online poker room. In the final analysis and my experience, when issues occur, they are resolved but, patience is needed.
In conclusion, PokerStars is definitely the industry leader when it comes to poker game variety. However, there are some downsides, like how long it takes for customer support to respond and the lack of options for contacting support. Moreover, the rewards program is confusing. Yet, tournament guarantees and special series that run are reason enough to play at PokerStars.
PokerStars Review FAQs
What welcome bonuses are available for PokerStars?
Currently, PokerStars offers a welcome bonus package. As a new player to PokerStars, you are eligible for a deposit match bonus along with Free Play dollars. Now, the Free Play dollars typically include casino games and are not exclusive to just poker games.
How do I play on PokerStars out of state?
Unfortunately, you cannot access PokerStars out of state where it is licensed. Due to each licensed state requiring geolocation, you must be physically located within the state's borders. Geolocation is a requirement of each state that legalizes online gambling.
What is PokerStars?
PokerStars is a legal and licensed online poker room. Here in the United States, it offers a wide variety of poker games. Worldwide, PokerStars is known as the world's top online poker room. In fact, PokerStars is known for its award-winning software.
Can I play online with friends at PokerStars?
Yes, you can easily create and play private poker games. PokerStars calls private poker games and tournaments Home Games. You can form your own Poker Club. Also, there are leaderboard standings for your Club. Finally, you can even choose to pick lesser-known poker games to play with friends.
What is the PokerStars schedule for tournaments?
PokerStars has a huge schedule of multi-table tournaments. In fact, tournaments and poker games are always available, starting every few minutes throughout the day. Sundays are the biggest tournament guarantees. Also, special series often run that boost the guarantees.
Specification: PokerStars Review