Pokerstars Review 2022
If you are looking for the most popular online poker site, look no more. PokerStars is the giant of online poker. They were one of the first online poker rooms and have seen strong growth over the past 5 years, largely because of their success in new markets where the popularity of poker was growing. Also PokerStars have signed up some the most impressive names in sport, such as tennis players Rafael Nadal and Boris Becker, as well as successful pokers players such Daniel Negreanu.
Moreover, PokerStars are sponsors of the European Poker Tour, one of the most popular series of live poker tournaments, which is played each year at 10 locations around Europe.
Although PokerStars software might at the first sight seem rather old-fashioned, we can assure you that it in fact provides all the key features that one would wish for in an online poker platform. In addition, you now have the option to modify the “look and feel” of the software, changing the background and layout to suit your own preference.
It is a little disappointing that PokerStars, as a leading operator, provides customer support only though e-mail. Responses are quick and helpful, but we miss some other options which would enable players to get more immediate help.
For all new poker players, PokerStars offer a very nice free $20 poker chip with no deposit required. In addition they will match your first deposit with 100% bonus up to $600, which is one of the better bonuses in the industry.
For further details, please read our in-depth review below.
At the busiest hours at PokerStars you can see as many as 120,000 players logged-in. So you can be confident that whatever limit or type of game you wish to play, there will always be a game and a seat waiting for you. Because of the large volume of players there is a wide variety of playing styles, with a tendency towards quite tough competition.
One of the strengths of PokerStars is their large online poker tournaments with high guaranteed prize funds. They also run many qualifiers to their larger tournaments, giving players the chance to qualify for as little as $1.
Our experienced poker team have tested the competition during four days of poker playing, both cash games and tournaments. Our verdict on cash games is that they have become quite tough. If you intend to play cash games at PokerStars we recommend you to be very firm on your table selection. You should make notes on your opponents and their style, so that you will know whether and how to play against them in future.
In PokerStars tournaments the competition is much softer than in cash games. Especially in the qualifying tournaments with a small buy-in, people tend to play more recklessly, perhaps because they are less experienced poker players. This makes the action in these tournaments relatively soft.
PokerStars run their own poker network with their own poker software, which has maintained more or less the same look and feel since the start more than 10 years ago. Compared with the latest offerings of some of their competitors, it may seem a little old fashioned. However, the system is reliable and the PokerStars technical team work continuously to make sure that its security remains of the highest standard, and that it offers all the features that poker players are most likely to need.
Quick fold and re-seat. PokerStars provides the popular function of quick fold and re-seat function, which gives you the chance to fold and instantly receive a new hand at new table.
Multi table function. One feature for which PokerStars are well-known and much appreciated is their impressive multi-table function, which allows the user to play at a large number of tables at the same time. For example on 24 inch screen, you can easily fit 20 tables at the same time. Some of the more seasoned pros actually add a second screen which enables them to play more than 30 tables simultaneously. This is however not something we would recommend: it takes a lot of practice to play poker well on more than one table at a time.
Player notes. The more you play poker, the more need there is to keep track of your opponents. PokerStars makes this very easy for you. You can make notes on each player you are playing, either at the cash game tables or at the tournament tables. You can also assign each player a special colour according to your assessment of their play. Using these colours you can instantly can identify the stronger and potentially weaker players, if you have met them before.
Private tables. One useful feature that is growing in popularity at PokerStars, is that you are able to create your own tournaments and private tables for you and your friends to play among yourselves.
One of the reasons that PokerStars has grown so large is the wide range of poker variations that they offer. Some variants are especially popular in certain countries or with particular groups of players, and when expanding into new markets PokerStars has taken care to offer the poker games that will appeal to that market.
PokerStars offers the following games on a regular basis:
* Texas Holdem
* Omaha Hi/Lo
* Seven Card Stud
* Five Card Stud
* Five Card Stud Hi/Lo
PokerStars runs attractive tournaments in a range of formats.
Sit & Go (SNG). One of the more popular tournament forms at PokerStars are their Sit & Go tournaments, which normally have from 5 to 10 players at each table. The most common games are Texas Holdem and Omaha. The buy-in fees range from $1.50 up to as much as a few thousand dollars for a game.
Freerolls. As you would expect of the largest poker site online, PokerStars is always able to offer some of the largest freeroll tournaments. Here there is the possibility to win cash, tournament buy-ins, vacation packages with buy-ins to live-tournaments and much more. The software features “Freerolls” tag which can be used to find what is available at any particular time.
Satelites. PokerStars run numerous satellites to some of their larger online poker tournaments. There are also qualifiers for live poker events such as their own European Poker Tour. The buy-ins range from a few cents to a few thousand dollars, so there are satellites suitable for every poker wallet.
Multi Table Tournaments (MTT’s). At no other online poker site will you find larger prize pools then at PokerStars. Every day you will find large MTT´s with guaranteed prize pools up to $80,000. As at most other poker sites, the whole of every Sunday is filled with tournaments with large guaranteed prize funds. For example their Sunday Million is $215 buy-in no limit Texas Hold’em tournament with a cold $1,000.000 guaranteed prize fund. For all these large MTT’s you can qualify to play by winning Sit & Go’s or smaller MTT´s.
At PokerStars in cash games the rake is only charged if the hand reaches a flop or further. To keep it simple they have a fixed rake % depending on which game or limits you play. This makes it very straightforward to keep track of what is being paid in rake. Also there is a set cap, as shown below, which limits the amount of rake that is paid per hand. Comparing to other poker sites, PokerStars is actually one of the sites that charges the lowest rake per dealt hand. In other words, if your aiming to play multi-tables, on a daily basis – then PokerStars would be a wise choice looking at the cost of playing.
Rake for No Limit and Pot Limit Games.
|Stakes||% Rake||2 Player Cap||3-4 Player Cap||5+ Player Cap|
|$0.05/$0.10 to $0.08/$0.16||4.50%||$0.50||$1.00||$1.50|
|$0.50/$1 to $3/$6||4.50%||$0.50||$1.50||$2.80|
|$5/$10 to $10/$20||4.50%||$0.50||$1.50||$3.00|
|$100/$200 and above||4.50%||$2.00||$5.00||$5.00|
Rake for Fixed Limit Games.
|Stakes||2 Player |
% / Cap
|3-4 Player |
% / Cap
|5+ Player |
% / Cap
|$0.02/$0.04||4.5% / $0.01||4.5% / $0.01||4.5% / $0.01|
|$0.04/$0.08 to $0.05/$010||4.5% / $0.04||4.5% / $0.04||4.5% / $0.04|
|$0.10/$0.20||4.5% / $0.10||4.5% / $0.10||4.5% / $0.10|
|$0.25/$0.50||4.5% / $0.16||4.5% / $0.16||4.5% / $0.16|
|$0.50/$1||4.5% / $0.40||4.5% / $0.40||4.5% / $0.40|
|$1/$2||2.0% / $0.50||3.0% / $0.70||4.0% / $0.80|
|$2/$4||2.0% / $0.50||3.0% / $0.70||3.0% / $1.25|
|$3/$6 to $5/$10||2.0% / $0.50||3.0% / $2.00||3.0% / $3.00|
|$10/$20||2.0% / $0.50||2.5% / $2.00||2.5% / $3.00|
|$15/$30||2.0% / $1.00||2.0% / $2.00||2.0% / $3.00|
|$20/$40 to $100/$200||1.0% / $1.00||1.0% / $2.00||1.0% / $3.00|
|$150/$300 and above||1.0% / $2.00||1.0% / $5.00||1.0% / $5.00|
Most of the poker rooms we have reviews owe their success in large part to their generous introductory bonuses, which have attracted large volumes of new poker players. PokerStars has taken a different approach and focused more on large guaranteed prize pools in their online poker tournaments. Indirectly, this has also attracted many players.
PokerStars offers all their new players a 100% first deposit bonus up to $600. In addition will receive Frequent Player Points (FPP´s) which you can convert into player tokens or PokerStars merchandise in their web shop.
As mentioned to have the bonus released, you will need to redeem VIP Player Points. For every $1 you spend in tournament fees, or in rake contribution at the cash game tables, you will receive 5.5 VPP´s (VIP Player Points). For every 200 VPP´s you have collected, $10 will be released directly to your player account. The total bonus amount that will be available is based on your first deposit, thus if you made the full $600 first time deposit, PokerStars will match it with 100%, and you would have a $600 bonus pending in your account.
PokerStars is well known to have one of the best customer support teams in the online poker industry. However, our poker team are a little disappointed that responses to support questions are only provided by e-mail. We would have hoped and expected that as the largest online poker room, Pokerstars would also offer more immediate options such as phone support or live-chat support from within their software. It is only this limitation that prevents us from giving PokerStars customer support a top rating.
PokerStars has a large security department which monitors all game play on their poker platform, as well as all financial transactions between players and all deposits and withdrawals. You can be assured that all your transactions take place on a secure platform and all your details are kept safe in an encrypted database.
PokerStars have now their license in Malta, so European poker players should be able to receive their winnings free of tax. However we advise you to check your own country’s tax rules relating to online poker to confirm that you don´t need to pay any taxes.
PokerStars is truly one of the most popular poker rooms online, and it meets nearly all the requirements a poker player might have. We cannot say that it is perfect in every respect. Our Poker Team is disappointed that the customer support is only available by e-mail support, and it must be admitted that their poker software, though effective and very rich on features, looks a little old-fashioned compared to some other top poker sites.
However, for playing poker tournaments PokerStars is a superb option, where you have the chance to convert a small buy-in to a large cash win.