In this review we'll be taking a good look at the world's favourite, largest and most famous online poker room - we're talking of course about PokerStars. Stars is an independent poker site that launched way back in 2001, making it one of the real old-timers in the relatively new and modern world of online poker. It's a great site for everyone, no matter how much or little poker you play, or how big or small the stakes are. It features the best customer service you will find anywhere, the best rewards, the biggest games and the largest amount of player traffic. There is so much to like about Stars it's hard to know where to start but let's first have a look at their bonuses.
There are absolutely tons of things to love about PokerStars, and one of these is the very generous first time depositors' bonus for new players. Depending on which country you live in this is either $600 or £400 and is a great reward for playing on a truly great poker site.
The way the bonus is earned is very simple - you need to play poker (of course!) and in doing so earn yourself VPPs - that means VIP Player Points. I will be telling you more about how these and their reward scheme works later in the review.
The key principle though is that the more you play, the more you earn, and therefore the faster the bonus pays out. The rate depends on your currency, as follows:
GBP - 260 VPPs equals £10 of bonus (maximum bonus £400)
USD - 170 VPPs equals $10 of bonus (maximum bonus $600)
EUR - 220 VPPs equals €10 of bonus (maximum bonus €465)
You also have the option of earning the bonus based on the first three deposits you make in 90 days (to a total maximum of the above). Thus, depositing 3x$100 would mean your total bonus on offer would be $300, and so on.
Although there is now stiff competition elsewhere as other sites and networks finally get their act together, right now we'd say PokerStars offers the best poker software in the business, anywhere in the world. The Stars client has been tweaked and redesigned over the years they've been in business to make it the most user-friendly, smooth piece of kit you can get for playing online poker on.
It's highly customisable and comes with several themes installed for you to choose from (my personal favourite being the 'PokerStars Black Theme'. If you don't like the table background, an absolutely cracking feature is that you can upload a graphic from your hard drive so you can have whatever you want on there. There's also three different card decks to choose from - plus you'll find plenty of third party websites offer PokerStars 'mods' so you can always choose to buy themes, card decks and chips elsewhere.
In addition to that, you have the option to upload your own graphic to be your 'avatar' at the table.
Multi-tabling works like a charm on Stars, with initial support for 24 tables to be played at once (and you can request more should you need to - however for all but the most hardcore grinder that should be more than enough!) and you can tile, cascade or stack your open tables on your screen.
Recently pokerstars introduced zoom poker, which is an accelerated poker format when you can play hundreds of hands per hour.
All in all it's a beautiful piece of kit; it's smooth, it's well designed and it's highly reliable.
Recently PokerStars also launched PokerStars Mobile, which is a fantastic addition to their arsenal; it means you can now play online poker via your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android mobile device. And it runs like an absolute charm - the same smooth, slick poker experience you'd get if you were playing on a PC. PokerStars Mobile offers Hold'em, Omaha, real money and play money via SNGs, MTTs and cash tables. It's a lot of fun playing on a mobile device and means you can now play poker at Stars anywhere you want, all you need is an internet connection!
The Stars loyalty scheme is legendary in the online poker community. Whilst they don't offer rakeback, they don't need to because they make up for it with THE most lucrative, generous, flexible reward scheme there is. The potential rewards are truly massive, especially for elite professional players who can obtain the world-famous 'Supernova Elite' status.
It's called the VIP Club - everyone is eligible, from the entry level 'Bronze Star' right up to the afore-mentioned 'Supernova Elite'. Let's take a look how it all works:
Frequent Player Points (FPPs) - these are earned for you playing poker on the site (real money poker only, that is). These are what have the actual value to you and can be exchanged later.
VIP Player Points (VPPs) - These are also earned during play but these dictate how high your status is within the VIP scheme. There are monthly VPPs (reset every month) and yearly VPPs. They are non-redeemable.
When it comes to spending your points (FPPs that is), just head over to the VIP Reward Store (accessible from the Stars lobby). What you'll find here is everything you could ever want and probably more! There are gadgets, tournament entries (both on and offline), cash bonuses, even a Porsche Cayman up for grabs, and everything in between!
Each level of status gives you better and better features, including monthly and yearly rewards (which are over $100,000 for Supernova Elite players!)
You'd expect nothing less from the world's favourite poker site, and Team PokerStars has some of the biggest names from the global poker circuit playing on their site. This means you have the chance to play against them - where else would you find the likes of Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Viktor Blom, Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand Grospellier and dozens of others of the world's elite?
It's great because as well as being able to actually play against them (if you can afford the stakes!) it makes for a great spectator sport as you can sit back and observe any of their tables, be it the 'nose-bleed' high stakes cash games or the very largest buy-in tournaments. Sit back and enjoy the show!
Stars has the best and busiest games you'll find anywhere online. Hold'em, Omaha, Stud, 8-Game, HORSE, Triple Stud and other Mixed games are on offer with every single stake you could ever want available. Notably, traffic is excellent at all levels of stakes, and with plenty of pros online this is true even at the highest of stakes.
The most famous PokerStars game though has to be the weekly Sunday Million, where thousands of players compete to take home their share of that huge prize-pool.
Both depositing and cashing out of PokerStars is an absolute breeze and a great feature is that you can have within your account multiple currencies (for example I have Great British Pounds and US Dollars in mine). In terms of what methods they accept these are as follows:
Local Bank Transfer
Skrill (this used to be called Moneybookers)
Online Bank Transfer
Their minimum and maximum limits depend on how you're funding the account but deposits start at just $10.
Playing on Stars is pretty intuitive and straight-forward. However there will always be times when you have a burning question or perhaps a concern about something. In the first instance go to the PokerStars Support FAQ section of their website - this is comprehensive and covers pretty much any topic you can think of, from the software, password issues, to submitting feedback and suggestions.
But, if you can't find what you need, just click on the Contact Us link and you can email their support team 24/7.
Frankly their dedicated customer service team is, hands down, the best in the business. They are also probably the quickest in terms of providing a response, as well as ensuring that any reply they do send is polite, friendly and provides a full answer to your query. In short, the world's best poker customer service from the world's favourite poker site.
Stars is, by a huge margin, THE busiest, most popular online poker room in the world. Not even its nearest competitor, Party Poker even comes close. To give you some idea, this review is being written at 1800 GMT on a Tuesday and there are a staggering 171,500 players online right now. When you consider that Stars doesn't take USA players any more, this is just a huge cut of the market and it clearly demonstrates how popular the site is.
So one of the things you can absolutely guarantee by playing on PokerStars is that you'll never be kept waiting for a SNG to start (often literally seconds), plenty of cash games full of players, and MTTs featuring the biggest prize-pools on the planet as they have so many players buying in to them.
Visit Pokerstars now.
Given recent changes in gaming in the USA and internationally, it is not easy to know which are currently the top online poker sites. The stated mission of BestPokerSitesList.com is to do all the ground work for you, so that you are presented with a list of the best sites to choose from.
Things change fast in online poker as we were reminded with the Full Tilt Poker debacle. Therefore our information is always updated with the most recents promotions and most reputable poker sites.
We select the sites in our list first and foremost for their reputation and security. You already have enough to worry with making money playing poker, so you should not be concerned if your poker bankroll is secure or not. This is why you will only find top notch poker sites listed here.
Our list is short because we only include the finest. These sites have been offering fair online games for many years and they are here for the long-term, unlike some of the new sites that come and go. And they all offer attractive bonuses for joining and lucrative VIP Clubs once you become a regular players.