PokerStars Review & Test 2020
- Professional and specialised poker play options
- Online training school for new players
- Representation from the world’s best poker players
- Vast array of tournaments
- Personalised rewards program
- Professional input
- Opportunity to play in serious tournaments
- Plenty of payment options
- Secure account segregation
- Low stakes annual series
- Lack of sports betting
- Only one welcome offer
"Conclusion and Rating"
Pure poker is the name of the game here. As you can probably imagine, Pokerstars caters almost exclusively to card slingers, offering a slight detour in the way of their casino options, but largely, this operator specialises in poker.
It might sound like a bad thing for punters looking to spread their wings, but in reality, the opportunities to further your poker skills and receive input from some of the world’s best players makes Pokerstars definitely worth a look.
Is PokerStars Rigged or Legit & Legal?
Unlike some of the more historic operators, Pokerstars is extremely young in comparison. It was founded in Costa Rica around 2001, making it one of the oldest bookmakers we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.
It is, in some way, the largest real money online poker site in the world, controlling over two-thirds of the online poker market and dominating the services for new and existing players. An online satellite tournament hosted by Pokerstars actually produced the 2003 World Series of Poker champion, Chris Moneymaker (actual name), indicating that the people behind Pokerstars’ success obviously know their stuff.
They have multiple website branches (Pokerstars.net, Pokerstars.tv) on which you’ll be able to find online broadcast shows related to Pokerstars and even boast an impressive roster of celebrity players and friends, including Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt.
This isn’t the end of the star-studded names, as Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, and Boris Becker have all previously been linked with Pokerstars, which gives the whole organization a feeling of professionalism and esteem.
Realistically, we know you’re way more interested in the question: “Is Pokerstars rigged, or legit and legal?” And in our Pokerstars review, we’ll answer those questions. But the impressive nature of their connections furthers the idea that Pokerstars is the Nike of online poker.
Pokerstars Welcome Bonus - Claim Your $30 free play
Short and sweet, the welcome bonus available to new players signing up to Pokerstars online is as follows: make a deposit of at least $20 and receive $30 worth of free play tickets. The $30 reward is split between cash and game tickets.
Players making the first-time deposit with a new account will receive $10 in their accounts no later than 36 hours after depositing, three $1 game tickets credited the day after the initial deposit, one $2 ticket the next day, and a $5 ticket on the third day following the deposit. Seven days after the first deposit, you’ll then be granted another $10 in cash.
You also receive a raffle type entry in the Pokerstars Depositor freeroll, which runs on the final Sunday of every month.
Here’s how to claim your bonus:
- Step 1: Sign up for a brand new Pokerstars account
- Step 2: Input your promo code (e.g., FREE30)
- Step 3: Meet any wagering requirements needed
- Step 4: Enjoy your free cash
|Bonus Type||Deposit Bonus|
|Example||Deposit $500 Get $500 Bonus|
|Rollover||5 redemption points for every $1 of bonus funds||Max. Time||28 Days|
Matched Deposit Bonus
If that initial offer doesn’t tickle your fancy, then this one might. Although you can only apply for one sign-up bonus, this one may serve you better if you were planning on putting more than the minimum deposit in on your first visit. Pokerstars will match your first deposit (up to $600) and it will be paid back to you in small chunks until the total deposit amount has been reached.
For more information on available Pokerstars bonuses, see our Pokerstars bonus review.
Casino Instant Bonus
Although the card games make Pokerstars what it is, there’s also a small casino section in which players can engage in traditional casino activities. Slots, roulette, blackjack, all with an opportunity to bag an instant bonus and get even more bang for your buck.
Just crack on with selected games to earn yourself an instant cash bonus (exactly what it says on the tin, free wagering money), then use that bonus to multiply your funds.
Pokerstars Daily Tournaments
One of Pokerstars’ main draws – in fact, it’s probably the main draw – is the exceptional opportunity new players have for serious tournament play. Every day, Pokerstars hosts a near-infinite list of amateur and professional competitions, each with its own set of rules and regulations. Perusing their database for even a short amount of time will definitely give you plenty of options, and it’s easy to find a tournament that fits you just right.
Obviously, the big money comes from famous names. Online poker rarely sees something as massive as this: a guaranteed total prize pool of $1 million a week, which is an absolutely astounding pile of cash to be giving away so frequently. There’s just so much opportunity for new players to get their teeth stuck into the world of poker, both with high stakes nail-biting hands where you’ll test your nerve and with slower, casual games where you’ll practice the skills needed to progress.
Pokerstars Freeroll Tournaments
Freeroll tournaments are a great way to get yourself into the swing of online poker, and it goes without saying that Pokerstars have a hell of a lot of variety when it comes to this type of competition. They really do put the emphasis on new players, with plenty of options upon first signing up to jump straight into the fray and play with the best.
Here’s a list of some of the regular freerolls on Pokerstars:
|Tournament||Total Prize Pool||Average Players||When?|
|Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll||$2,500||2,000+||Sundays 9 AM|
|Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll 2||$10,000||2,000+||Sundays 3:30 PM|
|School Pass Event||$29.70 ($3.30 tournament tickets)||2,000+||Daily, 1:35 PM|
|School Pass Event 2||$1 spin and Go tickets
Big Bang Tickets
|2,000+||Daily, 5:05 PM|
|School Pass Big Bang Satellite||$0.25 spin and Go tickets||2,000+||Wednesdays, 5:30 PM & 8:30 PM|
|School Pass Event 3||Tournaments Tickets||2,000+||Daily, 9:05 PM|
|EPT Live Freerolls||5,000+||3:15 PM ET|
These competitions are a great place to get better and develop your confidence and game sense, all without risking too much of your bankroll. Rather than jumping into the big money tournaments just yet, we highly recommend you have a look at the freerolls first.
All you have to do once you’ve set up an account is head over to the Tournaments tab and hit the filter at the top of the page. Change this to search only for freeroll tournaments and you’re on your way.
Pokerstars’ Sit and Gos
Sit and Go tournaments are a different kind of game and start simply after the requisite number of players have bought into the game. It’s possible for these types of games to have any number of players really, so if you’re wishing to control the variables of your game, make sure you keep an eye on how many players will be sitting down at the table. All kinds of poker formats are used in Sit and Gos, and the stakes can range from pennies to eye-watering wads of cash – yet another reason to double-check the limits and rules of every Sit and Go tournament you wish to play in.
There are many ranges of games on offer at Pokerstars, and this extends to the Sit and Go tables, where every game follows a different specific format. The 1-Table SnG formats are subject to the standard buy-in levels of Pokerstars online, ranging from $1.50 to $5,000; while this is the basic incarnation of the Sit and Go tournaments, it’s also one of the riskiest for new players. These games are regularly home to experienced players looking to make some easy money from newbies, so either keep a close eye out for those players or go for a different format.
Special Game Types
Here’s a quick run-down of the different game types involved in Pokerstars’ Sit and Go tournaments, and any relevant information we think you’ll need:
Spin N Go
A new format where you can compete for 1,200 times your original buy-in. Three hands involved, and at the beginning of the game, a random spin decides how much money the players are going for. These are quick-paced, exciting games ideal for newcomers looking for some excitement. Single table SnGs are also popular with bookmakers for being made into satellite tournaments, so keep an eye out for those free qualifying prizes.
With a ridiculous amount of players, multi-table Sit and Go tournaments are like the Royal Rumble of poker. Games start with 18 players, and it’s possible for them to reach 180 players at once (you’d think it’d be chaos, but by all accounts, most players love this), meaning the competition to finish in the top bracket is way more fierce in a multi-table game.
There’s such a massive variety of games at Pokerstars, specifically in their Sit and Gos, that we have to recommend it to any lovers of poker. Even if you’re not particularly looking to multiply your available funds, you’ll never be short of fun on the Pokerstars website.
Pokerstars Customer Service
The customer support at Pokerstars is straightforward. Should a problem arise that you can’t solve yourself, your first step should be to head over to the “Help” tab. From there, you can simply type your question into the search bar, and it’ll bring up any forum post or related question and/or answer. Your problem could be solved before you’ve even had to speak to anyone.
You’ll be able to easily access “Frequently Searched Questions” here quickly, and in all likelihood, you’ll find the answer you need on another post.
Other than this, however, there is only one customer support option available on Pokerstars, and it isn’t a great one. You’ll have to fill in an online form and simply wait for them to reply, and we’re sorry to say we don’t have any concrete number on how long it will take them to get back to you.
This is definitely one area in which Pokerstars ratings drop significantly.
Pokerstars Banking Methods
Available payment methods on Pokerstars online vary depending on which country you’re playing from, but it’s easy to check which ones are open to you. There’s a drop-down menu on the cashier section of the site that’ll tell you exactly which options are open.
Here’s a list of the many payment options available on Pokerstars:
- Visa/Mastercard: Instant deposit, quick, easy and safe. Withdrawals can be made with debit cards (not credit cards) if the deposit was made with the same card.
- PayPal: Although restricted to a few countries, this is one of the fastest, safest and easy ways to make deposits into your Pokerstars account.
- Neteller: A little less reliable than PayPal, but works in the same way. Availability for this option is much wider and works exactly the same way as other eWallets.
- Bank Wire: The simplest way to put funds into your betting account.
- PaySafeCard: A simple and secure way of transferring your money. Simply buy a card and use the code to move your cash.
- PokerStars Top Up: Prepaid voucher you can buy at set vendors. These amounts are permanent, like a range of gift cards.
- Skrill: Another eWallet, works the same way as Neteller and PayPal.
Does Pokerstars Have an App?
What 21st-century online bookmaker doesn’t have an app? There are none (no successful ones, anyway). These gaming apps are great for taking your play on the go, and being able to whip out your mobile device and get onto a virtual table straight away is something you can’t put a price on.
Their app design is great, easy and straightforward, with almost all of the online options available on the mobile version. The app is available on iOS and Android devices, has rave reviews from everyone that’s used it and is basically a must-have for any fan of online poker, and specifically, fans of Pokerstars online.
It goes with saying that Pokerstars is about as legit and legal as they come, with no doubt in our mind that they are one of (if not THE) most influential online poker websites operating today.