PokerStars Review

PokerStars is the number one online poker room and they continue to stay on top as they offer their players the best in online poker gaming.

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What's Hot

+ The biggest poker site
+ Good welcome bonus
+ Paid all players after Black Friday

Not Too Hot

- US players are not allowed to play on PokerStars for real money


- 2000
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Top online poker room PokerStars was launched online in 2000 and since that time they have become the industry standard when it comes to poker rooms on the internet.

PokerStars are always ahead of the game as they are always the first to launch new promotions, tournaments and even live events. The site hosts large guaranteed tournaments each week and they also are the host of many land tournament series as well.

Players will find PokerStars offers many gaming options and they have some of the best software in the business. The site has many options on their software including multi table options, fast play time, customization and of course reliability.

PokerStars is also represented by some of the best poker pros in the business. The pros play online as well as in the land events so players can get their chance to compete against some of the best in the industry. Overall PokerStars is number one for many reasons and they honestly are too many to name.

Pokerstars is a superpower when it comes to promotions and special events. Team Pokerstars comprises some of the best pro players out there, and the cardroom has recruited various superstars, including Christiano Ronaldo and Rafael Nadal, as brand ambassadors. Among other celebrities, who partnered with Pokerstars, are Kelly Rowland, Nelly, Gianluigi Buffon, Boris Becker, Kevin Hart and Yuiko Matsukawa.

Poker table swag #DopePic #PokerStars

Публикация от Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real)


Is PokerStars Legit?

Pokerstars is a legit cardroom, registered on the Isle of Man, self-governing territory under the protectorate of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man is officially the 5th richest nation of the World.

Pokerstars hold various licenses, that enable them operate worldwide, the main license is the one issued by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, Rational Entertainment Enterprises Ltd being the official license holder. They also have a license from Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority. These two licenses ensure PokerStars is a crime free and fair facility, where players receive their true winnings.

In addition to that PokerStars obtain national or regional licenses, when possible. In fact, they have more licenses than any other cardroom in the World. PokerStars are licensed in Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Spain, New Jersey, the UK, and some other locations.

Is PokerStars Rigged?

PokerStars is not rigged, and there are two points that prove it.

First, every gambling regulator runs a Random Numbers Generator testing for every license holder. PokerStars have more watchers in this case, than any other cardroom.

Second, PokerStars are a valuable brand, the largest on the market, and they have huge growth plans and opportunities, as many more locations apply poker licensing, usage of smartphones skyrockets, online payments are a widespread technology, etc. The number of online poker players has presumably doubled during the last few years. There’s no reason for PokerStars to cheat players, because tens of competitors will gladly gain on any of the Stars’ shortcomings, particularly, 888poker, who currently sit second, but with the recent influx of Chinese capital want to move up.

You can watch at an interesting short series “Inside PokerStars”, in one episode they tell how PokerStars software shuffles the deck.

Yes, there are lots of reviews and reports in the Internet, stating that PokerStars is scam. The reason is, there are lots of players on the websites, in the apps, many of them are multitabling, so the number of hands dealt is huge, as a result, strange things and incredible outcomes happen.

How Many Players On PokerStars?

There are officially more than 100 million poker players on PokerStars.

Around 55-60% of active online poker players worldwide, presumably, play on PokerStars.

The estimated number of online poker players, cited in many sources since 2016, is also around 100 million. The problem is, the number of online poker players grows rapidly every year, particularly with the introduction of poker gaming apps, it’s just impossible to accurately estimate the number. Just to note, some of the recent academic articles are still based on the data and numbers from 2011 or 2012.

How To Play With Real Money On PokerStars?

Real money poker game on PokerStars is banned for some locations: Israel, Slovenia, and most of the USA. If you happen to be in one of those countries, but you’re registered in another country, your pre-installed PokerStars client will run smoothly, or simply use the VPN software to download the client.

If the address you use in your PokerStars player account happens to be in one of the banned locations, then PokerStars will not let you play for real money on their website. If you have had the money on your account by the time PokerStars decided to ditch your country (happened to lots of players from Israel recently), you will be able to withdraw the money.

For most of the world you will have to deposit real money first, then you will be able to choose between real money and play money games. All the games, including the recent addition Power Up, are available in both real money and play money.


Don’t forget to claim your welcome bonus when making the first real money deposit on PokerStars.

PokerStars in UK

PokerStars are legal in the United Kingdom, they are regulated by UK Gambling Comission.

Players from the UK join international player’s pool and can face opponents from all over the world.

PokerStars in EU

PokerStars hold licenses for many European markets.

Players from most European countries join worldwide pool, while players from Spain and France are merged in a separate pool for the two nations, and players from Italy and Portugal enjoy national sandboxes.

PokerStars Worldwide

PokerStars is available in most countries all over the world, most of the players join worldwide players pool.

Online poker is legal in many countries, Canada and India are often used as a legal hub for US players, who can provide a utility bill from those locations with their name to it (same was with Australia, but they banned online poker recently), it takes some time and, perhaps, help from friends or family, accompanied by a VPN software.

PokerStars is blocked in a few Eastern Europe countries and in China, but the cardroom often seems to accept players from those countries to join the worldwide real money pool.

Can US Players Play On PokerStars?

Players from most of the USA can play in the play money section on PokerStars.

Real money accounts are available only for players from New Jersey so far.

Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada also accept regulated online poker, but PokerStars is not yet available there. 888Poker is available in Delaware and Nevada under local state-bound brands.

Can US Players Have Real Money Accounts On PokerStars?

US citizens, who can provide registration in a country, where online poker is legalized, and have a bank account there, can play poker for real money in PokerStars, deposit and withdraw their funds.

What Are The Cardrooms For US Players?

There are a few cardrooms, that accept US players. However, they don’t offer same quality of software and service, same trustworthiness and same reach in terms of player’s pool, as PokerStars or Titan Poker, Party Poker, 888Poker.

Perhaps, Ignition Casino Poker Room and America’s Cardroom are the best US-friendly cardrooms at the moment.

PokerStars Welcome Bonus

For first time players at PokerStars, the site is offering a very nice welcome bonus. Players can earn a 100% bonus on up to $600 when they make their first deposit. The bonus can be accessed by entering in the bonus code STARS600. Players will then need to collect VPPs that equal 17 times the bonus amount. Players will then earn their bonus in increments of $10 as they collect VPPs. Players have six months from the time of their first deposit to clear the bonus.

Pokerstars first deposit bonus is up to €500 in Europe (use STARS500 bonus code), up to 600 Canadian dollars in Canada (STARS600 bonus code), up to £400 in the UK (STARS400).

The STARS600 bonus code and the $600 bonus is available for the rest of the world.


How To Get Free Money On PokerStars

PokerStars run daily challenges, where you can win real money, from just $10 to thousands of dollars.

Here’s an example of one challenge that is called Jacks or Better Poker Challenge. On a given day the players are encouraged to play Hold’em cash games and every time you win a hand holding a pair of jacks or better, you’ll accumulate points. Once you reach your points target, you will be awarded free money.

How To Get Play Money On PokerStars

Play money is a great option for people, who don’t want to rush playing real money poker without significant experience.

All PokerStars games can be played with so called play chips. Once you join PokerStars, you will receive 500 chips in play money absolutely for free, and you will be able to join the play money section of PokerStars instantly, without any deposit.

In some countries only play money games are available to local players.

What Are The Bonus Offers In Other Cardrooms?

While the 100% first deposit bonus offer of $600, €500 or £400 from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker is generous, some great cardrooms often offer more.

Titan Poker offers a 200% first deposit bonus of up to $2000 or £1200.

On PartyPoker you’ll get a bonus of up to $500, on 888Poker cardroom – up to $400.


How To Win On PokerStars

Real money games and tournaments on PokerStars can be challenging, because many skillful players prefer this cardroom for various reasons (best software, reliable service, regular opportunities to make extra cash, variety of tournaments, etc.). So, lots of folks play on PokerStars not just for fun, but to win and make money. Some of those are multitabling, your opponent can be playing 20 or even 30 tables simultaneously.

To win on PokerStars you need to be a consistently good player.

Luckily, nowadays there are lots of stuff out there, that can help you raise your level. People like Doug Polk share lots of free content on Youtube, and offer more in-depth content, training software, and even personalized coaching.

You can start with free stuff and then move on to paid content if you feel you need it.

Doug Polk shares lots of free stuff, mostly fun or interesting videos, but educational content as well. Doug creates lots of paid content and runs a great training site called Upswing Poker.

Even more cool videos you will find on Conscious Poker Youtube channel run by a pro poker player Alec Torelli (and Alec is something like Doug Polk’s nemesis). Alec offers private coaching for players with large bankroll, the simplest program is available for players with $25 000 bankroll.

There’s also a very interesting channel run by a German pro player Felix Schneiders.

PokerStars also run own poker education project called PokerStars School, where the mentioned above Felix Schneiders is a contributor, along with Daniel Negreanu and other pro players.

PokerStars Poker School

PokerStars Poker School is a great learning resource with lots of free content, if you are relatively new to poker you shouldn’t miss it.

They also have a Poker School Youtube channel, but only a handful of content is there.

You can access Poker School directly from your PokerStars computer client.

How To Make Money From PokerStars?

There’s a school of thought, that you can make money for a living with microstakes poker, if you play effectively and use good bankroll management strategy.

Of course, if you have just $200 or $500 to your name, you start with what you have, and this can work.

However, you will make money enough for a living only if you have a decent bankroll.

To make money from poker you’ll need to put in lots of hours in playing and learning, remember the 10 000 hours rule, go through, well, hell.

And then it might work.

Playing For Play Money At PokerStars

If you are just starting to play poker, don’t rush to deposit real money on the account, and start with play money section.

There’s a small amount of play money available for free to every new player on PokerStars, and you can win more in games and play money tournaments.

Most players who have been in poker for a while consider play money poker as a waste of time, however they often forget, that they started with this stage themselves, as play money was hugely popular 7-10 years ago, when online poker was still something new and iffy.

Use play money game for several reasons.

See if you can be good at poker. If you don’t win a lot and consistently at the play money section, don’t go into the real money game, apart from freeroll tournaments.

See if you like it. Try various games and determine, what you like most. Profitable poker players usually have one or two games, that they prefer most, understand better and are really good at.

Find your way. There are several types of players and various poker strategies, find your style and your way to win in poker.

How To Get More Play Money?

You either win it or buy it.

Can You Buy Play Money?

Yes, you can buy a bundle of play money on PokerStars. $10 will buy you 2 million chips, while 350 000 chips can be added for just $2.

Can You Sell Play Money On PokerStars?

Yes, but you can be banned for that. There is a kind of market for play money, but don’t sell play chips if you value your real money account and don’t want to risk losing it.

There’s a reason for that. Thing is, you can buy play money on PokerStars from any location in the world, including countries like USA and Israel, where real money game is not available. If the cardroom would let you buy and sell play money, it wouldn’t be much different from real money game, so they could have problems with authorities.

Can You Transfer Play Money To Real Money?

No, everything you win in the play money section will stay there.

How To Play Freerolls On PokerStars

Freerolls are tournaments, where you can enter for free and win real money, that will go to your real money account. Unlike other tournaments, where the prize pool consists of the entry fees payed by participants, the prize pool in PokerStars freerolls is on the cardroom.

New players from many European countries on PokerStars get a Start-Up freerolls ticket (allows to enter multiple freerolls), that must be used within 31 days.

I recommend joining PokerStars Poker School, then you will be able to enter the PokerSchool league free-rolls, where the top prize is currently $3000 every month, and even if you don’t get the top prize, you will have a very realistic chance to win something like $50-$100, which should be a good bankroll for microstakes poker.

Apart from the PokerSchool league, there are many more exiting offers and promotions in the PokerSchool section, make sure you don’t miss these opportunities.

Playing For Real Money On PokerStars

No matter, how good you were in play money games or in freerolls, real money games and more serious tournaments are going to be a huge step up.

First, the players in real money game are going to be much stronger.

Second, they will be more focused and disciplined. Good players can visit the play money section or take part in a freeroll, but they will be totally relaxed there and won’t be the usual self. Because the stakes are low.

And moving to real money game, you should start with microstakes poker.

How To Make Money Playing Microstakes Poker?

Microstakes poker is a game where blinds are as low as $0.01 – $0.05. This is a great opportunity to develop poker skills, as you don’t risk losing all your bankroll very soon.

In fact, you can become very profitable in microstakes poker and start building a decent bankroll.

It’s not just about the quality of opponents you face in microstakes, obviously, there will be lots of novice players, more sophisticated players also often play at microstakes tables and tournaments. Without the risk to lose lots of money, they tend to be less focused and apply loose game strategies.

How To Win Real Money On PokerStars?

Most good players find a strategy to win relatively small money consistently, while working on their poker skills and taking part in serious tournaments and winning significant money at the final table. Check this video from Alec Torelli, where he tells, what was the initial strategy for him.

So, what you need to do, you need to find your style, choose your type of poker game, and get some stability, good run of winnings, good run of earnings.

And then learn how to be successful in tournaments.

Also take note, that at some point of your career you will have to use analytical software, something like Holdem Manager or DriveHud.

Holdem Manager has a free trial version, while DriveHud offers a $9/year microstakes version compatible with microstakes tournaments and low-limit cash games.

What Is The Best Cardroom For Real Money?

For a novice player real money games on PokerStars will seem harsh, the player’s pool of this cardroom is the most skilled one, and a real pro poker player by the table with common folks is not a rare thing on PokerStars.

With Full Tilt Poker you will join the same players pool, that PokerStars run.

As a novice player on PokerStars you should start in a Poker School, move to freerolls, then – to microstakes cash games and tournaments. In this case you will be able to enjoy this amazing cardroom and will grow as a player.

888Poker, Titan Poker and Party Poker have smaller pools and are easier places to play real money poker in general.

PokerStars App

PokerStars offers several poker apps for iOs and Android platforms. PokerStars Mobile is available both for play money and real money games.

PokerStars Moblie lets you play with the same players pool as on the computer software, same games and tournaments are available.

You will play with the same account you use for computer software, it’s called Stars ID and works with all the products offered by Stars Group.

By the way, you can switch between devices, computer and mobile, during tournaments, which often comes handy, as tournaments often last for 8 or 12 hours, depending how deep you go.

Mobile poker app is not compatible with poker analysis software, which is a significant downside.

How To Play PokerStars On iPad or iPhone?

For an iOS device simply download the official PokerStars Online Poker Games app from App Store.

How To Play Real Money On PokerStars Mobile For Android?

For Android devices you will have to download the app from PokerStars’ own website.

On Google Play Store you will find only the so-called Lite version, with just play money games available.

How To Deposit Money On PokerStars App

If you downloaded the right app, that allows real money game, you will have Mobile Cashier in it, usually with the same deposit or withdrawal options, that you will find in your PokerStars Cashier in computer software.

Mobile Cashier and Cashier in your computer software give you access to the same bankroll.

Other Apps

There are some other apps developed by PokerStars in both Google Play and App Store.

PokerStars Lite for Android I already mentioned, it offers play money game with the general play money players pool.

PokerStars Live gives you official guidelines, tips, timetables, and all the necessary information for PokerStars Live events.

PokerStars TV brings tons of poker videos to your smartphone, including livestreams accompanied by play-by-play commentary and analysis from poker pros.

They also used to have Play Along app that would let you test your skills almost as if you were playing against the top poker players in live events. Great innovative app, unfortunately, they are not actively promoting or developing it anymore. Hopefully, they will be back to this idea sometime.

PokerStars Reviews

This is a very helpful video from a poker pro Jaime Staples, where he reviews PokerStars computer client and shows some tricks with it.

Doug Polk is not a big fan of PokerStars though, he takes a swipe on them on more than one occasion.

PokerStars Game Variety

Players will find that PokerStars has a wide variety of gaming options when it comes to poker. The site has Texas hold’em in limit, pot limit and no limit play. Omaha players will find the game in Hi and Hi/Lo versions while the site also has Seven Card Stud with Hi/Lo, Razz, HORSE and 8 Game Mix. The site also has Five Card Draw, 2-7 Triple, Single Draw and Badugi.

PokerStars Power Up

PokerStars have recently added a Power Up poker game, which is a mix of Texas hold’em poker and a videogame.

In addition to cards players receive unique powers and energy units. Players take their turns clockwise as in normal poker and can use their turn for both poker actions and power actions. Using powers requires energy, a player can use one or several powers during the turn or use no powers at all.

There are nine powers available, they basically push the luck in your hands. For example, Scanner allows you to see the top two cards in the deck, Reload allows you to change one or both of the cards you’re dealt at the start of the hand, and Disintegrate removes the card dealt on the current street, or one of three cards if used on the flop (it’s like you destroy the cards).

Players receive one new power and new energy units every hand whenever they hold fewer than three (the maximum number) of powers.

We like two things about Power Up. First, it’s fun, try it and see for yourself, if you enjoy this game. Second, currently not too many players are good at Power Up, lots of folks just come and try it, learn how to use the powers, how it affects the flow of the game. Which means, you can become one of the first players to become good at Power Up and reap early rewards! Here’s a good article on Power Up strategy.

PokerStars Tournaments

Tournaments abound at PokerStars. Players will find a large selection of everyday tournaments as well as online weekly tournaments and land tournaments. The tournaments at PokerStars include: Sit & Go, Multi table tournaments, satellites, re-buy tournaments, bounty tournaments, knockouts, deep stacks, 6-Max and 4-Max, turbo, 2x-turbo, guaranteed tournaments and color scheme.

On Sundays PokerStars hosts their guaranteed tournaments which are the Sunday Million, Sunday Warm-up, Sunday Storm, Sunday second chance, Sunday 1/4 million and the Sunday 500. The site also hosts the World Championship of Online Poker, the Spring Championship of Online Poker and the World Blogger Championship of Online poker.

The live tournaments that PokerStars hosts are: European Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, Latin America Poker Tour, Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, Italian Poker Tour, Czechoslovakia Poker Tour, UK & Ireland Poker Tour, North American poker Tour, and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

PokerStars Tournament Payout Structure

The payout structure will naturally vary from tournament to tournament, but in most tournaments held by PokerStars as many as 20% of players win some money. In some tournaments the pay goes to just 16% of the field, which is still generous by industry standards.

In the current Sunday Million series the winner takes home around $150 000, the players within the top 30 get at least $3000, and within the top 100 – at least $2000.

PokerStars Sunday Storm, with an $11 buy-in, will pay the winner around $30 000, and the players within the top 20 get will get at least $500.

Great Tournaments On Other Cardrooms

While PokerStars have many tournaments, biggest prize pools and generous payout structure, there are some other great tournaments in other cardrooms.

Party Poker runs a series of tournaments called Power series. The simplest tournament is called Bootcamp and offers $100 000 in prize pool money each month. Party Poker’s Bootcamp is, perhaps, the most realistic chance to win significant tournament money for a novice player (the first prize is more than $1000). Further on there are 4 more categories, from Featherweight to High Rollers.

Titan Poker offers 7 daily tournaments, with prize pools from €3000 to €10 000, and the Sunday Lineup of 15 tournaments worth €125 000 in prize money.

Full Tilt players will join PokerStars pool in all games, including tournaments.

PokerStars Promotions

PokerStars offer their players many options when it comes to promotions. The site has their frequent player program which is a reward program for players to earn points which can be turned in for merchandise as well as tournament entries.

PokerStars also offers promotions for players to earn seats to the various live events they host. Players can earn seats to the World Series of Poker as well as the Baltic Festival, Lima event and many others. So as you can see, players will not have any trouble finding a promotion that meets their game play needs.

PokerStars Software

The software at PokerStars is as good as the rest of the site. The software was privately developed for PokerStars and it is some of the best software available. The software is highly customizable and caters to multi-table players. The software is very stable and can handle running multiple tables at one time.

The software looks well on just about any computer screen and it runs fast as well. PokerStars is constantly updating their software to accommodate their large number of players. It was just a few years ago that the site added a Mac version of their software.

Players will find that the lobby is easy to use and players can easily select their games and get started. PokerStars software can handle up to twenty four cash game tables at one time and players can participate in an unlimited amount of sit and go’s as well as tournaments.

PokerStars Customer Support

Unlike many poker rooms who offer multiple customer service options, PokerStars only offers one option. Players will find they can email PokerStars customer support to receive the answers to any questions or concerns they may have.

PokerStars Payment Options

PokerStars offer the following when it comes to online payment options:

Deposit Options for Real Money Players: eCheck, VISA (Delta, Electron, Gift and Prepaid), MasterCard (Gift and Prepaid), Neteller, Diners Club International, Skrill, EntroPay, Solo/Maestro/Switch, cashier’s check/money order/bank draft (minimum deposit of $100), local bank transfer, ELV, online bank transfer, Paysafe card, Qiwi, WebMoney.

Withdrawal Options for Real Money Players: Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, Skrill, EntroPay, WebMoney, Qiwi, check, couriered check, direct bank transfer.

How Does PokerStars Cashout Work?

Money withdrawal process with PokerStars or indeed any other cardroom can be rough at times.

To withdraw money, you will have to use the same methods that you have used to make a deposit, if the amount of your withdrawal doesn’t exceed the amount you have deposited for the last 12 months.

If you withdraw more, than you have deposited, you will be able to choose a different withdrawal option.

Most of the withdrawal options (like Skrill, Neteller, Paypal, etc.) are available only if you have made at least one deposit with them for the last 12 months.

And if you choose bank transfer, your bank country must match the country of your registration with PokerStars.

You can covert currencies in PokerStars cashier at no cost and choose the most convenient currency for withdrawal.

I also want to emphasize it here, that withdrawal is created for players, who win money in poker. So, if you deposit money, play a little bit, lose, and don’t feel like staying with PokerStars, they may not let you withdraw the money for security reasons. Money laundering used to be a common thing with cardrooms, and PokerStars have taken heavy actions against it.

Like I said, start with the free money section, take your time in amazing Poker School, win some money in freerolls, become a competitive poker player. Then deposit. Win. Withdraw.

Read the full withdrawal policy here.

PokerStars Withdrawal Time

Typically, 18 – 24 hours, and can take up to 36 hours, if you use Neteller, Skrill, Qiwi, EntroPay, Webmoney, etc.

Typically, 3-5 days and can take up to 12 days, if you send money to your Visa or Mastercard bank card or use bank wire transfer.

When To Cash Out In Poker

If you are not a professional poker player, we suggest cashing out as soon as you win something worthy. Luck can change, so give yourself a credit and go enjoy the money.

Of course, if it’s your intention to build a bankroll, applying a specific bankroll management strategy, you will set yourself another point when to withdraw.

Read more on cashing out at the right time here.


Download PokerStars for free and play for real money!