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Pros / Cons
- Very good variety of ring games.
- Very good software.
- Poker player notes.
- Turbo mode in Texas Hold'em.
- Second most trafficated poker network.
- Cash-outs to Visa credit cards.
- Very fast e-mail support.
- Very small sign up bonus.
- Tight competition at ring games.
Don’t let the low score scary you off. Poker Stars is an excellent poker network, the biggest of its kind, but it lacks sign up bonuses and a good system for rewarding loyal players. Instead, this site offers top notch tournaments, software and a great variety of games. If we had to describe Poker Stars with one word, it would definitely be “tournament”. The only but here is the softness of the competition, which is tighter than at most other places. All in all, good games but little value to entry users who seek a large sign up bonus.
The software of Poker Stars belongs to the absolute top of poker clients. To start with, the lobby is superb and very easy to navigate. Some players complain about the graphical theme, but there’s definitely a good feeling to it and we’re not complaining. Stability and speed has always been a high priority and this is a definitely a success as well. The table software is like a mixture of Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and poker. In other words, exotic. It’s fast, smooth and very clear. Software features include player notes, avatars, hand histories and good player statistics. We would like to see more settings in this package, though.
You’re looking at the world’s most trafficked poker network in the world. On special occasions there are up to 30,000 simultaneous connections, although the numbers usually jump down to 26,000. Approximately 80% of the real money players play at tournaments but ring games are picking up pace as well. This number brings brings Poker Stars to an unarguable position as a tournament leader.
Poker Stars host the richest tournaments in the world. First of all, sit ‘N’ goes are extremely popular, ranging from $1 to $5000. This includes single tables, multi tables, super popular heads-up tables and satellites. There’s a large number of scheduled tournaments in the package, too. This of course includes WPT-PCA qualifiers, European Poker Tour qualifiers, Aussie Millions qualifiers and most notably, World Series of Poker. Poker Stars sent 1,200 tournament winners to WSOP in 2005. The only downside is the softness of the competition, which can be quite tough at times.
Guaranteed tournaments of up to $5,000 run daily at Cake Poker, as do bounty tournaments including a nightly $2,000 guaranteed bounty with a $30+$3 buy-in. Cake Poker also runs satellites to live event win prize packages to such major tournaments as the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Game Variety (7)
If you’re looking for variety, you’ve come to the right place. On one hand, Poker Stars lacks Pineapple and other variations of poker. On the other hand, there’s so much more than just crazy mini games that no one plays in general. You can play Texas Hold’em in Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit (including a Turbo mode). If you’re into Omaha or Omaha Hi/Lo, there’s a good variety of tables with active players as well. Even the 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo tables attract some competition. The stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $100/$200.
Soft Competition (6)
Poker Stars belongs to the top in terms of traffic, but this has had little effect on the competition. Most of the opponents are indeed very competitive and will give you a run for the money. Ring games are typically the toughest. Even the low stake games offer some games classed as unusually high. Approximately 25-35% of the players see the flop in most ring games. Fortunately, you can find a lot of fish in the tournament tables. This is where the beginners to poker reside.
Sign Up Bonus (7)
Poker Stars offers a 100% up to $600 bonus. In order to get it you must enter PokerStars marketing code vip2012 when you sign up. As an added perk, you get a monthly $1,000 freeroll. To qualify, simply use our bonus code when you sign up, generate more than 100 FPP for every month and enjoy the action, which takes place on the 7th of every month at 3pm EST.
Loyalty Rewards (6)
The recently introduced Frequent Player Points (FPP) has quickly become a popular way to acquire Poker Stars merchandise. Players accumulate FPP:s by playing poker in real money poker games, multi-table poker tournaments and Sit & Go tournaments that include a tournament fee. To get one point, you need to generate a total of $0.50 for fixed limit poker games with stakes $0.50/$1.00 and lower, or $0.75 for fixed limit poker games with stakes $1/$2. You earn five FPP:s for every dollar included in the tournament fees. In a $5 buy-in Sit & Go poker tournament with only a $0.50 fee, 3 FPP:s (instead of 2.5) will be awarded to each player who played poker in the tournament, however.
Poker Stars was never built to satisfy through promotions. Instead, there is a super package of tournaments and poker celebrities who play regularly at the tables. There are occational freeroll qualifiers to bigger main freerolls with guaranteed cash prizes. Poker Stars usually offer a refill bonus as well, ranging at 25 %.
Poker Stars offer a very fast e-mail support with reply times often as fast as within half an hour. There is no live chat and telephone support available.
Deposit & Cashout Methods (7)
Deposits: eChecks, ePassporte, UseMyBank, Moneybookers, Neteller, Visa, Visa Delta, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Diners Club International, Solo, Maestro, cashier’s check, money order, bank draft, wire transfer, ELV, PaySafe Card and Citadel.
Cash-outs: Visa, Neteller, FirePay, CentralCoin and check.