Our PokerStars Review 2022

PokerStars Established: 2000
4.4 Full star Full star Full star Full star Half star.
18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply
Compatible with :
Payment method
BankWire paysafecard Mastercard Neteller PayPal Skrill Visa Webmoney ApplePay ApplePay Giropay Trustly ecoPayz Sofortüberweisung MuchBetter Maestro Rapid Transfer eps Neosurf

PokerStars is the largest poker site in the world, offering a massive volume of cash games and tournaments 24/7. It sets the industry standard for how many games and varieties are available. Although other poker sites are catching up in traffic, PokerStars enjoys higher volumes, especially for Sunday events. The flagship Stars Group brand has been around a long time with a solid rep and operates under a Malta Gaming Authority license. Also, worth noting that player funds are separated to protect players. 

What we love
  • Biggest selection of poker variants (both cash games & tourneys)
  • High player traffic at all times
  • Available to players in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  • Many satellites into big live events like EPT & PSPC
  • Sunday Million buy-in just $109 with the same $1m GTD!
  • Unbeatable selection of tournaments and games
  • Mixed Games and Short Deck (6+) Holdem
What we don't love
  • Only offers e-mail support
  • Tough opposition at higher stakes
Top Payment Methods
  • BankWire
  • paysafecard
  • Mastercard
  • Neteller
  • PayPal
  • Skrill
  • Visa
  • Webmoney
  • ApplePay
  • ApplePay
  • Giropay
  • Trustly
  • ecoPayz
  • Sofortüberweisung
  • MuchBetter
  • Maestro
  • Rapid Transfer
  • eps
  • Neosurf
  • View More

About PokerStars

PokerStars is still one of the biggest and most enjoyable operators in the poker industry. The official launch date of PokerStars offering real-money poker games, dates to December 12, 2001. Although they had their Beta-version up and running before, this was the date where it all began. PokerStars was originally a Costa Rican company, led by Rational Enterprises which was owned by the Israeli Scheinberg family. Throughout the years they have been led by a handful of organsations such as Amaya Inc. and The Stars Group. Nowadays they are part of Flutter Entertainment since May 5, 2020.

In 2006 PokerStars overtook their competition to be the biggest online poker operator on the planet and has never looked back until 2021, where rival sites gain a lot of ground in terms of player traffic. Despite that, for an average poker player there is just one real poker operator and that’s PokerStars.

In February 2012, PokerStars acquired a European Union license, granted by the Malta Gaming Authorities. Somewhat which has been very important for their, at that time, position on the market.

Licenses:

Looking for PokerStars in the USA? Try our PokerStars New Jersey review:

PokerStars Bonus Code & Promotions

PokerStars deposit bonus offers tend to change, but as of late you can choose which sign up bonus you want. As with most bonuses, you may need to play PokerStars for real money if it’s a deposit bonus - to clear the full bonus. But it can happen reasonably fast if you play regularly. Make sure you check the terms and conditions before you sign up for any bonus just in case. 

  • Be sure to use the relevant PokerStars Bonus Code: STARS600 or THIRTY 
  • For PokerStars UK players: Use TWENTY.

PokerStars Promotions

The promotions can be amazing with a series of $1 million freerolls a year, for example. Plus, ongoing opportunities to win amazing packages to PokerStars Live events at cheap buy-ins, including Road to PSPC and EPT. 

Aside from the multiple welcome bonus offers and deposit bonus options, you can find promotions for most of their games. Including Zoom poker, S&Gs, and 6+ Hold’em. You’ll play and generate points to climb the leaderboard and win cash prizes and tickets. Don’t forget to enter any PokerStars promo code required when registering. Here are some other promos you may find:

  1. The Deal - turns Stars Coins (loyalty points) into cash rewards
  2. High Roller Club - Daily high-stakes tournaments with millions GTD & leaderboard rewards
  3. PokerStars VR - exotic locations and interactive PokerStars play (hardware required)
  4. Play Money Leaderboards - Earn points from PokerStars free play online

Stars Rewards Loyalty Program

You collect reward points by playing real money poker games and see your progress bar fill up. You’ll get 100 reward points for every USD $1 in scheduled tournament rake or cash games, including high rollers. And 100 points for every USD $1 in Zoom, cash games or other tournament fees. (Translates into 130 points for every £1, 80 points for C$1, and 110 points for €1).

Get enough and you’ll earn a Chest full of prizes, including loaded with rewards you’ll want to use. Including free play, StarsCoin- which you can exchange for cash bonuses and tourney, S&G entries, and qualifiers. Otherwise, you can go shopping in the official Store and Rewards Store for physical prizes and merch. 

PokerStars Loyalty Program.
Your loyalty is rewarded in many ways

There are six different Chest levels of increasing value: Blue, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond and Black. You need to win at least one chest within a 28-day period to retain your level. Meanwhile, if you win more than 10 chests, you get upgraded to the next level.

The most recent addition to this amazing loyalty program is that you can unlock Monthly Poker Challenges worth up to an additional 40% in rewards. Which means you could potentially gather up to 65% or rake back with PokerStars Rewards. Many players blamed PokerStars for removing their Supernova loyalties throughout the years, but so many potentials for valuable rakeback is unheard of. PokerStars focused on their players again and it is visible in every aspect of loyalty.

PokerStars Tournaments and Freerolls

The high traffic here ensures you’ll find a tournament that suits both your wallet and game preference.urnament that suits both your wallet and game preference. Most events have low-medium buy-ins and run often and the smaller buy-in tournaments tend to be quite loose and juicy. 

For high-stakes players, there are plenty of $500+ 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 which see thousands of beginners battling it out. Thus, making some of the small, guaranteed events very profitable for more skilled players. 

Aside from the guaranteed online tournaments, this is the only place to win seats into PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) and APPT events. Not to mention qualifiers for a Platinum Pass (all expenses paid package) to the massive PSPC - Poker Stars NLH Championship.

Sunday Tournaments Still the Greatest

This poker room also hosts some of the biggest guaranteed tournaments. Including the renowned Sunday Million and Billion events with buy-ins as low as $109 - a steal for such guaranteed prize pools. However, if that’s too high a hit to your bankroll, there are countless satellites to enter, starting from 0.01c! But this isn’t the only reason Sunday is the best day to play. It’s also the day with the most player traffic (obviously) and many other major weekly tournaments including:

  • Sunday Warm-up
  • Sunday Kick Off
  • Women Tournaments
  • Sunday Storm
  • Knockouts (KO)

Huge Online Poker Series Pioneers

In 2002, PokerStars ran the first-ever World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) – to recreate the World Series of Poker vibe. That online poker tournament series became a central part of online poker's playbook. Since then, they’ve been going bigger and better every year - even adding a SCOOP (Spring version) with similar prize pools. 

WCOOP, SCOOP & Turbo Series (TCOOP)

Since the initial nine-event 2002 WCOOP, it has continually set the bar, awarding $30 million prize pools. The Spring Championship of Online Poker then started in 2009 following WCOOP’s success, immediately offering three buy-in levels: Low, Medium, High. Both high roller and low stakes players flock to these events every year for the lucrative prizes and glory.

Micro Millions

The Micro Millions is one of the most popular annual online tournaments. Because it has super small buy-ins, massive fields and ridiculously big prizes. Despite the small buy-ins, millions have been paid out in the MicroMillions series. It’s one of the most egalitarian online poker tournament series ever because literally anyone can play, and anyone can win.

Greatest Game Variety Around

We can’t think of anything we’d miss here because there’s literally something for every poker player in the lobby. With 40 variants for tournaments and 30 for cash games, no other poker site can compete with game variety. 

There’s Pot-Limit Omaha and No-Limit Holdem at virtually any stake level and cash games and tournaments on demand.
PokerStars Poker Games
Hold’emMixed Games
Omaha (+Fusion & Showtime)HORSE & HOSE
5-Card Omaha8-game
CourchevelBadugi
7-Card Stud2-7 Triple / Single Draw
Razz

All with No-Limit, Limit and Pot-Limit options, even some hi-lo games for most varieties

Sit & Gos and Spin & Go’s

Besides the biggest guaranteed MTTs in the industry, players are particularly keen on the fast-play, high-reward SnG’s offered. They offer up some of the best and most addictive play online. Just 3 players per game with 500 chips regardless of buy-in - which can be as low as $0.25. With Spin & Go’s, you spin the wheel for a randomized prize every game, then it’s hyper-turbo pace.

Zoom Poker

Zoom Poker is also a huge drZoom Poker is also a huge draw with dozens of games starting up every few minutes. Its popularity is since when players fold, they instantly get another hand at a different table. It's great for action junkies because there’s no waiting and you’re playing more hands per hour. Of course, this is more fast paced so it depends if you’re up for the task or not.

6+ Hold’em

Shortdeck table.
6+Holdem - Shortdeck Holdem - Table

This popular 'short deck' poker format plays like Texas Hold’em, but with 36 cards instead (6 and higher). This means there are a few differences in the hand rankings. For example, flush beats full-house and Ace, 6, 7, 8, 9 is classified as a straight. It’s becoming increasingly popular among pros and recreational a-like, so you’ll find action any time. You can learn and practice for free with play money too. 

KO Tournaments and Bounties

In these tournaments, every player has a cash bounty on their head which increases (progressive bounties) with every player they eliminate. Also, if you eliminate a player, you instantly get a cash reward - their bounty. You can walk out of these with a decent prize even if you don’t make final table. When the bounty Builder events happen, there’s over $25 million guaranteed, so it can be quite lucrative.

Cash Games and Tempest Hold’em

Tempest Poker is another version of All-in or Fold. A unique poker cash game format, played as No-Limit 6-max, with antes that increase until you get to showdown. You also must put in an extra pre-flop blind. The catch is that players have just two options: go all-in or fold. It’s very gambley and not the way to grind long-term, but it is great fun and good for blowing off steam after a bust-out. 

Tempest Holdem cash game.
Tempest Holdem - Cash Games

Otherwise, you’ll easily find cash games for 30 poker game types, multiple buy-ins and max player amounts. Just go to the tab and filter your search. You can even observe a table to get the feel of the action, players and pace.

Software and Graphics

The software is privately developed and is one of the best in the business. Aside from its great feel, stability, and aesthetic, it's also fast, highly customizable, stable, and caters well to multi-tablers. With a constantly growing number of players, the software is continuously updated and improved. The aim is to accommodate over 100,000 real-money players at peak hours and offer a seamless experience. Shortly they have even introduced a new layout in regards of player information during play. It shows once again that PokerStars keeps improving, and based on their software, they are lightyears above every single other poker operator.

PokerStars Table.

The lobby has a Quick Seat tab where you can get to the hottest games, like Zoom, in seconds. You can even save your Favorites in the relevant tab. Otherwise, you pick a variant, then filter your game, stakes and max players, and your perfect poker game is there for you to register. The highlighted table shows the names of the players seated and their stack. 

Interesting Features

Then once you’re playing, you have your regular game info, stats and chats visible. Plus, note-taking function to type reads on your opponents for future reference. But special features are constantly added to keep up with the competitive poker world. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Emotes to throw at other players - including tissues and balls, to blow off steam/ tilt
  • Side-bets within a poker game
  • Hand history - which you can choose to visualize
  • Time banks - how many you have left and which ran out
  • Your Chip Graph - how your chip stack has progressed throughout
  • Early payouts (min cash) for most MTTs
  • PokerStars VR - exotic locations and interactive PokerStars play (hardware required)

Customization and personalization

To personalize the software, players can also upload an image to use as their avatar. Thankfully, there's also the option to block player images and rid your poker table of cats, dogs and the occasional Playboy bunny. The software has several backgrounds and table layouts. With some tinkering, you can make the poker environment look and sound exactly how you want it to.

  • Table theme and felt
  • Four-colored decks
  • Stack size in big blinds
  • Show/hide hole cards
  • Dealing animations
  • Seat preference
  • Bet slider / mouse wheel
  • Hotkeys

Multi Tabling

The software supports advanced multi-tabling with resizable tables and up to 24 cash games possible at a time. An unlimited number of tournaments and sit-and-go’s is also possible, basically letting the user decide how many tables he can play before he reaches his limit. Players can automatically tile or cascade all open tables and custom game profiles can be edited and saved, letting the player customize his entire playing experience.

List of PokerStars HUDs and Tools accepted

  • CardRunners EV 
  • Hand2Note (3.2.5.0+)
  • Holdem Indicator
  • Hold'em Manager 2 & 3
  • iHoldemIndicator
  • Jivaro 
  • Oranges 6Plus Calculator & Oranges Calculator
  • PioSolver 
  • PlaceMint
  • Poker Analytics
  • PokerSolver
  • PokerTracker 4 
  • PSHandler 
  • SharkScope HUD
  • SharkyScanner & SharkyStrator
  • SitnGo Wizard 
  • Table Ninja II
  • Table Optimizer (1.8+)
  • Table Tamer
  • Xeester

PokerStars Mobile App

The PokerStars mobile app features the popular, turbo-paced Zoom Poker, which translates very well to mobile. Just one table of Zoom Poker is enough to keep most casual poker players entertained but you can fire up two tables if you’re into even faster action. Multi-tabling is also an option but limited to four tables on iPad and mobile - perhaps better for your focus too.

Though the product is extremely polished and smooth, we found everything to be just a tad too small. It would be nice if there were a way to enlarge the size to avoid potential mis-clicks. But all in all, we were impressed by how they managed to stuff so many offerings into a mobile app. 

PokerStars Home Games Now on Mobile

Home games have been upgraded to be playable on both Android and iOS with mobile support.

PokerStars home games are a big plus, especially during quarantine. Because you can set up private games and tournaments for real money for just your friends or groups. If you’re playing on PokerStars US, these home games are also available to you, but using play money. 

Multi-device app now supports home games

Players can now choose which tournaments to create, from Hyper (3-min levels) to Slow (15-min levels), with late registration included. And time banks that grow later in the tournaments. Setting up or joining a private club is free and you get game/club management tools and stats. Playing on PokerStars for real money in home games also earns you rewards points.

Playing on PokerStars With Friends

Here are four easy steps on how to play with friends on PokerStars

  1. Sign in to PokerStars
  2. Go to More from the main lobby
  3. Choose Home Games
  4. Join a poker club with club ID if you’ve been invited 
    … Or Create a Club yourself (501 players max.)

PokerStars Awards from PokerListings

See All Pokerlistings Awards Winners

PokerStars Play Money vs Real Money

You can toggle between PokerStars play money and real money games from the client with a similar cash game and tourney schedule. And all the same great games too, which is incredible and something you won’t find everywhere. Some poker rooms will offer very basic play money options for practice. You get a 50,000 free chips bankroll to start with, which you can reload every 4 hours, even if you bust out of everything you play. Alternatively, you can purchase play money chips - 500,000 would cost you less than $3.

Tougher Competition at Times

Ring games at the higher limits tend to be tough at PokerStars. The viewed-flopped percentages at these limits are low - meaning tighter than industry standard for similar limits. On the positive side, there are many games to choose from and plenty of good players know how to exploit the tighter games.

With a steady influx of new players - thousands daily - there's never a problem finding suitable competition for all skill levels. Although tournament player quality varies more than the ring games and tends to be much softer. Of course, there are mostly strong players in high-stakes sit-and-gos and the main fixed schedule events.

You’ll find bad players in the microstakes. However, as soon as you start climbing your way up the ladder, you’ll run into seasoned online grinders waiting for prey. That’s not to say the games are unbeatable but there are some easier sites. There’s a PokerStars school of you need to brush up, but we recommend our extensive guides for beginners and more advanced grinders.

PokerStars Registration Process

  1. Download the PokerStars client on your computer or Android/iPhone Device.
  2. Register an account by filling in all your personal information.
  3. Verify the creation of your account via your e-mail.
  4. Verify your player account by uploading a copy of your ID/Passport/Driver License, and upload a document which confirms your address (Utility bill for example)
  5. After the whole verification has been completed, you are good to go.
  6. Do not forget you are eligible for the welcome bonus!

As said, it may vary per country which options are available to you, this also counts for withdrawals. Deposits go mostly through instantly, which is also the case for withdrawals. PokerStars have gained a lot of respect in regards of the swiftness of their payment systems.

Customer Support

PokerStars offers 24/7 support on all different kind of levels, to be able to assist their players in the fastest and most adequate way.

They are reachable through:

  • E-mail
  • LiveChat
  • Helpdesk Support Center
  • There have been periods throughout the years where the Support team must have been swamped, but since they have been relocating their Support Services, they have gained a lot of ground again based on speed of responsiveness and providing fair and quality support.

    PokerStars Payment Methods

    As PokerStars is already for years the most legit poker client on the world, they also have the most payment methods available, depending on your country. Here an overview of available payment methods:

    Operators Deposit Options Withdraw Options
    BankWire BankWire
    Instant
    paysafecard paysafecard
    Instant
    No Available
    Mastercard Mastercard
    Instant
    Neteller Neteller
    Instant
    PayPal PayPal
    Instant
    Skrill Skrill
    Instant
    Visa Visa
    Instant
    Webmoney Webmoney
    Instant
    ApplePay ApplePay
    Instant
    No Available
    ApplePay ApplePay
    Instant
    No Available
    Giropay Giropay
    Instant
    No Available
    Trustly Trustly
    Instant
    ecoPayz ecoPayz
    Instant
    Sofortüberweisung Sofortüberweisung
    Instant
    No Available
    MuchBetter MuchBetter
    Instant
    Maestro Maestro
    Instant
    No Available
    Rapid Transfer Rapid Transfer
    Instant
    No Available
    eps eps
    Instant
    No Available
    Neosurf Neosurf
    Instant
    No Available

    Responsible Gaming Features

    Responsible Gaming is by today a much more important topic as it was back in 2001 where PokerStars started offering games. The player base is so much bigger at the moment, and this also makes it happen that poker operators needless need to follow guidelines from not only their License Commission, but also the local markets.

    There is a separate Responsible Gambling topic in the lobby available, and the Support team has a dedicated department for anything relevant towards this topic.

    PokerStars is excellent in taking care of their loyal players, in good and bad times.

    Our PokerStars Rating
    PokerStars might have lost some ground on player traffic compared to some strong competitors in the field. They still are the mastermind of big tournaments and professionalism in regards of software and support. The issue wat disturbed us, and with us many players, the most, was the low rewards for their players. Time has changed and so did PokerStars, from one of the lowest in rakeback, they have gone to one of the best sites for regular players and beginners.
    Go to PokerStars

    Pokerstars FAQs

    • Is PokerStars legit?

      PokerStars, part of The Stars Group, is part of Rational Intellectual Holdings limited and operated by TSG Interactive. This is a legitimate poker site licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority. Operations are legal and there are strict measures in place to protect player data under GDPR and EU laws.
    • Can you play PokerStars in the US?

      PokerStars is available in the US as long as players are in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. New Jersey also shares player pools with Nevada and Delaware. PokerStars NJ players can get an exclusive welcome bonus if registering via PokerListings.
    • Can you play PokerStars in the UK?

      Yes, players in the UK can register a PokerStars account, and even deposit and play using GBP. If you first, verify your account according to KYC policy.
    • Can you play PokerStars in Canada?

      Yes, players in Canada can sign up, deposit, and play on PokerStars, even using CAD. Canadian players are also eligible for PokerStars promos and bonuses.
    • What bonuses are available at PokerStars?

      If you register via Pokerlistings, you’ll get a bigger bonus for your first deposit. Pokerstars also host major tournaments and series with massive, guaranteed prize pools. You can also access promos with cash prizes and free tickets, like Spin & Go leaderboards and daily challenges. By playing for real money, you earn reward points and StarCoins to exchange for tickets, big qualifiers, cash and physical prizes in the Stars Rewards loyalty program.
    • What forms of payment do PokerStars accept?

      Players can deposit a minimum of $10 (or the equivalent) faster using Skrill, Neteller, Visa and Mastercard. There are also multiple credit cards, e-wallets and transfer methods to deposit/withdraw, depending on the country you’re playing from. You’ll need to check the table on the Pokerstars website for your available options by selecting your country.
    • How can I get free chips on PokerStars?

      There are big free chip rewards for completing at least one challenge every day of the week. But you also get a certain amount of free chips to play with every 4 hours in play money mode. If you have insufficient balance to enter a play money game, just click Add Chips to get a top up and your 4-hour countdown timer will start.
    • Is it true that PokerStars is rigged?

      It’s easy for losing players to blame the poker room at times, but PokerStars is heavily licensed and uses random number generators which are verified by third parties. Player funds are also segregated. It would be hard for them to cheat players this way.
    • PokerStars, partypoker or GGPoker?

      We identify PokerStars, PartyPoker and GGpoker as industry leaders, and all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking for a great rakeback program, that's partypoker, for newest tournaments GGpoker, but if you’re looking for a bigger game variety and the best software, then PokerStars is for you.