Poker Stars Poker Room Review & Rating
PokerStars is the largest poker site in the world, offering massive volume in cash games and tournaments 24 hours a day. It sets the standard in the industry for tournaments as well with an unmatched selection and sit-and-gos at all stakes starting up virtually every second.
If you’re looking for a downside, though, it’s probably the inconsistent competition. Because of the huge player base there are some very fierce opponents on the site if you wander into the wrong game.
If you like more obscure poker variations, PokerStars is for you with a wide spread of games offered – Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Seven-Card Stud in all versions, H.O.R.S.E., H.O.S.E., 2-7 Triple Draw, Five-Card Draw, Razz, 2-7 Single Draw Lowball, Badugi, 8-Game, Mixed Holdem and Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo. By the time you read this, they’ve probably added more.
Bottom line, PokerStars is one of the best poker sites in the world and if the competition wasn’t so tough at the higher stakes, it would be tough not to rank PokerStars higher.
In 2011 PokerStars was forced out of the U.S. market but its doors are still open to anyone outside of the U.S. and it remains one of the biggest online poker sites in the world.
Real-money player statistics as of May 2011 show 22500 ring-game players at peak hours and 155000 tournament players at peak hours.
PokerStars offers loyal players a great loyalty program with two types of points earned for real-money play:
1) VIP player points (VPPs)
2) Frequent Player Points (FPPs)
VPPs determine your VIP level and can’t be exchanged for cash or prizes. FPPs can be used to buy merch, electronics, etc. in the store, can be turned into cash or used to play in special points tournaments. The higher your VIP level, the faster your FPP accumulation, the better perks you get, etc.
Players achive Silverstar status at just 750 points and it’s possible to progress all the way to Supernova Elite, which is one of the most highly sought after achievements in online poker.
1-3 FPPs are awarded per raked real-money hand depending on total rake; 5 FPPs are awarded for each $1 in tournament fees.
Starting Jan. 1, 2010, PokerStars introduced Stellar Rewards, which offer cash bonuses based on a player’s VPP level. At just 750 VPPs players qualify for their first payout of $10.
The program offers up to $1,000 in bonus cash if a player makes it all the way to Supernova status.
PokerStars is the biggest online poker site in the world and is, hands-down, the place to go for tournaments. The high traffic ensures anyone looking for a tournament will find one that suits both his wallet and his game preference.
Most events have low to medium buy-ins and run often and the smaller buy-in tournaments tend to be quite loose and juicy. For the high-stakes players there are plenty of $500 or more buy-in tournaments, with prize pools often passing the $1 million mark. The bigger buy-in events, however, tend to have some very tough competition and are not very easy to win or cash in.
Thankfully, the opposite is true for the smaller buy-in tournaments offered – these can see thousands of beginners battling it out, making some of the small guaranteed events very profitable for skilled players.
For example PokerStars runs 45-player and 180-player multi-table sit-and-gos that get running whenever they have enough players – generally, they start up every few minutes, so you never have to wait long. These are some of the softest tournaments on the Web.
PokerStars also hosts the biggest guaranteed tournaments in the world, including the renowned PokerStars Sunday Million.
For those looking for the ultimate in tournament online poker series the World Championship of Poker (WCOOP) and Spring Championship of Poker (SCOOP) are compelling arguments for PokerStars. Each one has offered a staggering $30 million guarantee in the past with the main events awarding over $1 million to first place.
Aside from the guaranteed tournaments, PokerStars runs the most satellite tournaments to major live and online poker events, like the World Series of Poker, the PokerStars.com
European Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, Latin America Poker Tour and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, to name just a few.
PokerStars is always expanding its tournament offerings based on player feedback. Some of its latest additions are the “Double or Nothing” SNGs, in which half the field doubles their money, and multi-day events for special tournaments like the WCOOP Main Event.
Poker Software and Competition
The PokerStars software supports advanced multi-tabling with resizable tables and up to 24 cash games possible at a time. An unlimited amount of tournaments and sit-and-gos is also possible, basically letting the user decide how many tables he can play before he reaches his limit.
PokerStars has also added a hand replayer directly in to the software, allowing players to revisit recent hands without leaving the table.
They also offer a Mac-compatible version of its software.
Ring games at the higher limits tend to be pretty tough at PokerStars.
With a steady influx of new players there’s never a problem finding suitable competition for all skill levels. There are mostly strong players in high-stakes sit-and-gos and the main fixed schedule events.
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