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Poker Stars Review

Poker Stars is one of the oldest poker rooms on the net. Right from the beginning Poker Stars focused on tournaments and is now definitely number one on the Internet regarding tournaments. The room also hosts a huge number of satellites to different live tournaments and both the 2003 and the 2004 WSoP main event winners qualified trough Poker Stars.

But Poker Stars isn’t just about tournaments, there are plenty of cash games to choose from, including some juicy low and midlimit games. Unfortunately Poker Stars seldom offers any sign up bonuses to new players but further down I’ll explain how I managed to get one.

When it comes to famous players there are quite a few at Poker Stars, including Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, Joe Hachem and Tom McEvoy.

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The Interface

Poker Stars interface is one of the absolute best. For instance you can freely alter the table size to your liking, something that is very useful when you play multiple tables. This is actually a function that more online poker rooms should implement. Another nice feature is the combined Chat/Notes/Stat/Info box. When you make a note about a player a cute little “N” is put under that players name and you can easily see the note from the Chat box. The provided statistics about your own play are quite valuable and you can benefit from it by having a look at them now and then.

The default graphics on the other hand look slightly outdated and weren’t much to my liking color wise, but are at least easy on the eye so there shouldn’t be any problems to play longer sessions. Fortunately enough there are several themes, like “marina” to choose from but the process is a bit awkward since you have to download and install every new theme separately.

A cool finesse is that players can upload their own picture to represent them, which is good since it becomes much easier to recognize them. The sound is very customizable and as if that wasn’t enough you can also upload your own sounds for different events.

Something that really threw me off when I first played no-limit was the fact that there where only nine seats at the table. I was stunned, but it was for real, there are only nine seats at a full table in no limit. But as far as I can tell it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference apart from the fact that the blinds go around a bit faster. Fixed limit games are as usual ten handed.

The speed of the software is very good, there is very little lag as long as your Internet connection is decent enough.

Signing Up and Depositing Money

The sign up process is pretty much straightforward, the only obstacle was that my usual player ID was already occupied and it took me a few minutes to find one that wasn’t taken. Depositing money was even easier and transferring money from Neteller was done within seconds.

Poker Stars support is only reachable by email but their quick and excellent response amazed me. I had a problem and emailed the support and within half an hour they emailed me back and told me exactly what I needed to know.

Game Play And The Players

The speed of the software is very good, there is very little lag. There are basically two kinds of tables, the usual ones where players are given plenty of time to act, and “High speed” tables where players have only 15 seconds to make up their mind.

The quality of the players depends very much on the level of the stakes. At the low and mid levels there are some pretty bad players but once you get to high stakes you’ll notice that the competition is among the best. So depending on how experienced you are and your bankroll you should definitely be able to find yourself a suitable game.

The average number of players that see the flop in the micro levels is simply amazing, which makes the game lucrative. However, be prepared for your sheer amount of bad beats. Those aces will simply not hold up as often as you would like to when there are five callers every time you make a substantial pre flop raise.

The Deposit Bonus And Promotions

At Poker Stars sign up bonuses are as rare as honest people in a prison and searching the Internet didn’t provide me with any solutions. But by using an old trick of mine I was able to get a meager, “better than nothing” 20% bonus. I simply opened an account but I didn’t deposit any money and after about three weeks I received an email that offered me the above mentioned bonus.

Fortunately Poker Stars does have several different promotions for their loyal customers such as frequent re-deposit bonuses, especially in combination with upcoming big tournaments. They also have a frequent player points (FPP) program that allows players to exchange accumulated points for goods or as entry fees to regular and sometimes special tournaments.

There are also plenty of freerolls but they are usually not so valuable since they only offer a seat into a freeroll final. So it’s a long way to go before you can start earning some real cash on the freerolls.

The Games Offered

There is something for everyone at Poker Stars and they offer an extreme wide range of stakes in both cash games and tournaments. For instance, in Texas Hold’em they have no-limit cash games ranging from micro limits starting at $0.01/$0.02 (just next to playing for absolutely nothing) to high stakes at $25/$50. There are also Omaha High and Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, Razz and they even offer H.O.R.S.E.

Since I haven’t played H.O.R.S.E. before I wanted to give it a shot, even if it was fixed limit. At first I had a small problem adjusting to it but after a while I really begun enjoying the pace of it. It’s difficult to play a completely different game every eighth hand but it is quite fun and I do recommend you to try it. I sure will continue play it in the future.


As earlier mentioned Poker Stars is specialized on tournaments and there are literally hundreds of them each week. The entry fees vary from just a buck to a few hundred. Game variety is very good and yes, they do have H.O.R.S.E. tournaments. Their weekly “Sunday Special” is a $200 tournament with thousands of participants and great prizes.

One of the best things with Poker Stars is their huge amount of satellites to all the well known major live tournaments. At the 2005 WSoP main event approximately 1000 participants had qualified through Poker Stars, which was almost a fifth of the entire field!

There is also a series of tournaments hosted by Poker Stars that is called World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) with a guaranteed prize of $10 000 which is widely regarded as the biggest online tournament.


I liked playing at Poker Stars. I must say that part of my enthusiasm with the site is due to my new found love for H.O.R.S.E. but the fact that the software functions very well and that the support seems to be very knowledgeable and helpful is also important. Not to mention the fact that there are thousands, and sometimes even up to a HUNDRED THOUSAND players logged in at the same time. With that amount of players you can always find a game to your liking. And no other site even comes close when it comes to tournaments.

The only real downside is the lacking of any good bonuses but I must say that apart from that Poker Stars really shines and must be regarded as one of the absolute top sites in all categories.

Visit PokerStars

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