Overview: PokerStars was launched in 2001, and rose to become to the most popular and widely used online poker site worldwide. It sets the standards for other online poker sites and works independently, not as part of any network.
The Competition: Daily traffic on PokerStars averages around 15,000 players at any given time, and this number can usually rise much higher. It has previously recorded an astounding 120,000 players on the site simultaneously. PokerStars is so massively popular that players can find any game with any skill level of player they prefer. Competition is usually pretty soft for the small stakes games but the higher stakes games come with much more advanced competition, with players observing that they’re much tougher than they used to be. While many of the players on this site are beginners or recreational, it has a surprising concentration of excellent and difficult to beat players, often professionals.
Cash Games: Pokerstars offers the standard choice of Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Omaha High/Low, as well as a host of other games ranging from 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, Triple Stud, 5 Card Draw, 5 Card Omaha, to Courchevel and Badugi. Most games are offered in 2, 6 and 9 seat versions, Stud games limited to 8 seats, while some fixed limit games offer 10 seats. Sit’n’Gos are offered with buy-ins starting at pennies up into multiples of $10,000.
Tournaments: Dozens of multi table tournaments are offered by PokerStars every hour. The weekly Sunday Million tournament has a guaranteed whopping $1m prize pool, with a $215 buy-in. The Sunday Warm Up has a similarly impressive prize pool of $400,000. Through PokerStars, players can qualify to live poker events on the circuit every year, including the European Poker Tour (EPT) and the UK & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT)
Promotions: PokerStars offers a 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus to new players, and continuing players can earn Frequent Player Points, and VIP club members can win rewards with accumulated points.
Software: Software is available for Windows and Mac, and is able to play in a wide selection of local currencies and languages. The PokerStars client runs smoothly and is exceptionally easy to use; the lobby is functional and informative. As far as features go, the site is fairly impressive across the board, but there are no player avatars for players to use which is something of a pity.
Banking: Easy, quick and secure real money deposits with a wide selection of options, plus fast cash-outs or you can play for free.
Customer Service: PokerStars customer service is quite strong, it’s available via email 24/7, 365 days a year. Emails tend to have a fairly informative response. There is also a contact support online feature in the client and customers are able to email and request a telephone correspondence
Why Join?: PokerStars boasts a top notch security team, strong user friendly software and is more than twice as popular as its nearest rival. It’s hard to argue against the sheer amount of traffic and prizepools which surpass over all of PokerStars’ competitors, in addition to other promotions that PokerStars is better-equipped to offer than its competition. Its annual World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is the top annual online poker tournament in the world.
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