Review : Pokerstars

Pokerstars has been my first online platform where I tried virtual poker and somehow is still one of my favourites. There is no doubt, they are the worldwide leading platform for poker online

Pokerstars has been my first online platform where I tried virtual poker and somehow is still one of my favourites. There is no doubt, they are the worldwide leading platform for poker online but do we, the players, benefit from this? My experience on the long run while playing on Pokerstars has not been great. Biggest achievement was getting in the top 50 in a Sunday Million tournament many years ago. The only time I ever cashed out something from this platform.

I quit playing with them for a few good years until they introduced the online casino with slot games. The games selection and variety is not really for my taste but it is understandable given the fact their main focus has always been poker. I had the most terrible playing sessions on their casino. And when I mean terrible I mean the worst. I’m the type of player that spins a lot and on decent stakes (never less than 1 Euro/Dollar per spin), yet no matter what kind of bet selection I used, luck just wasn’t there regardless the slot game I picked. That’s why you should never focus on a slot’s game RTP (return to player) percentage as it’s just simply a number with no real value for players.

Phil Helmuth is another poker player I personally like and follow. First of all, the man knows his stuff when it comes to poker. Secondly, his steaming and tilting attitude at the tables makes it look like I’m playing myself instead of him. This is the experience you will most likely get when playing at the tables. Lots of tilt. Lots of steaming.

Fast speed tournaments or tables are generally filled with people that either have no clue what they’re doing or simply just some trolls. Forget about deep play and adopting game tactics. It won’t work. Having good pocket cards means absolutely nothing as people tend to just raise or throwing an All-In out of nowhere. Based on nothing. In addition to this the card dealing software might just not be by your side in that exact time. So pack yourself with loads of patience, you will need it.

Serious high staked tournaments or satellites mean you need more patience than ever. It’s where the quality players will most likely be present at your table and unless you don’t have a bit of skill and lots of luck you simply won’t last long. The card dealing software has not been a good friend with me no matter what type of game i’ve tried on Poker Stars, and it might happen to you also.

Poker Stars comes with a huge variety of poker types available to play: Texas Holdem, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 5 Card Omaha, 5 Card Omaha Hi-Lo, Courchlevel, Courchlevel Hi-Lo, Stud, Stud Hi-Lo, Razz, Five Card Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, Horse, 8-Game Mix, Hold’em/Omaha, Badugi and Showtime Hold’em.

The major tournament type of games are massive also: Sunday Million (one of my favourites), Sunday Billion, Sunday Warm-Up, Sunday Storm, Sunday Majors, Saturday Line-up, The Hot Turbos, Omania, Daily Bigs, Women Sunday, Spin&Go (another favourite of mine), Spin&Go Max, Knockout Poker and Bounty Builders.

Try the Spin&Go tables. You play against two other players for a buy-in ranging between 0.25$ cents and 1000$. The interesting thing is that these buy-ins are multiplied with at least the double value and can be multiplied up to 12000 times. Example: You play at a 0.25$ tournament where the minimum prize is guaranteed to be 0.50$. You play at a table with 7$ buy-in then the grand prize is guaranteed to be at least 14$ and so on.

Only the winner gets awarded with money and if you maintain your composure and be lucky when you need it, you could build a decent bankroll. Remember that nothing is a certainty, you can lose money as easy as you can win. Play at your own risk, this is just my opinion.

Try the Knockout Bounty Builder tables/tournaments. This feature is a great way to guarantee you build a small bankroll even if your chances are small to be at a final table or win big prize money. Basically the knockout stands for players that eliminate opponents when involved directly in an active hand. If you win the respective hand and your opponents lose all their chips, you will be awarded a bounty for each player eliminated throughout the tournament. Amounts awarded differ depending on which table/tournament you choose to play. I advise to read the tournament info before registering. Prize pool can be smaller than similar structure tournaments due to the bounty feature.

If you aspire to become a pro (or semi-pro): EPT, WCOOP, APPT, BSOP, MicroMillions, SCOOP, Turbo Series tournaments are hosted by them, you can either buy yourself in or play satellites for a chance to win a ticket to a major event. Some of these require qualifying only through available satellite games.

The more you play the more chances of getting rewarded. Stars Reward programme can unlock for you free tickets for tournaments, free spins for the slot machines and many more. Welcome bonuses and personalized offers are good also however make sure you read the terms and conditions when claiming them. For a first deposit bonus you can either pick between 30$ or up to 100% for 600$ deposit. Bear in mind that most of the bonuses need a code so look out for the specific code before depositing in order to claim the respective offer.

Apps are available on iOS and Android. Pretty smooth, no complains. Maybe the menu could be simplified a bit especially when you are sat at a table. Overall very sleek and friendly design. Both desktop and mobile platforms are supported in over 25 languages.

Being the most popular poker platform worldwide, expect to find a constant number of 8000-10000 players online at nearly any time of day/night. At peak hours up to 50000 people can be found at the tables. Personally I prefer playing during late night time hours.

If you need assistance keep in mind that there is no live chat support. You either can consult a very well documented FAQ page or you can send email with your query. They respond pretty fast and helpful. When you try to verify your account by submitting documents, try do it from a laptop/desktop or send an e-mail. Doing it from the mobile can most of the time end up showing errors so avoid wasting time.

Payment options supported by them: Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, Qiwi, EntroPay, EcoPayz. Cashout processing can take between 1 or 10 working days. Withdrawals made on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday are usually not being looked at until Monday.

Banned countries from PokerStars are: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Territory of Palestine, Vatican City. Joining these countries are a few major markets for online poker and online casino such
as: Singapore, Israel, Slovenia, Colombia, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and Switzerland being the latest exit.

Interesting fact: Some people might not know or remember but in the past you had the option to send funds to other players without restrictions. Right now depending on what kind of licence PokerStars has in certain countries, this option may or may not be available.

Pro and cons regarding Poker Stars

Pros: – Massive poker game styles – Loads of tournaments, satellites and freerolls – Rewarding system – VIP status benefits – Various game modes – They allow third party software for statistics collection – Fast support – If your debit/credit card is on a local currency, you are offered the option to deposit in that currency to avoid being taxed extra fees by your bank. Poker Stars can convert your local currency in the Dollar/Euro balance. – Sports betting. For when you get tired of poker you can try some of the live action football betting. Or whatever sport you’re into.

Cons: – Huge variety of players can offer a very unpleasant experience: 1.Like I previously said you either get stuck with beginners or trolls. These ones will ruin all your hopes of playing slow or tactical poker. I’m talking about low stakes games. 2. Experienced players (sharks) are usually found at tables/tournaments with medium to high buy-ins/stakes. A decent poker knowledge but first and foremost patience is needed. The software might deal you terrible cards on a long run so remain focused on building a slow bankroll with all the possible tricks to survive. – The online casino with slot games. While the selection of games is not the worst, it would seem that payout rates are very very bad. I would not recommend you to play big amounts of money unless you don’t see any positive results in your bankroll.

To conclude, Poker Stars is fun and captivating. Just make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford. A long losing streak can occur especially if you play the high speed tables or tournaments.

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