PokerStars Network Review

Download PokerStars for Mac, PC, Android, or iOS!

PokerStars is the largest online poker site in the world, with plenty of cash games and tournaments offered 24 hours a day. It is one of the few poker rooms that is not part of a network of many different sites. That is, all of your opponents are also playing on PokerStars client software for mac, PC, android or iOS. Although they also bought Full Tilt poker, each site remains on a separate network.

Software quality is extremely high, with clean graphics and logical navigation. Advance action buttons and smooth animations make for a fast game, and multi-table play is well supported. PokerStars offers poker software for mac, and you can also download PokerStars for Android and iOS, allowing you to play on a smartphone or tablet. 

PokerStars also has one of the most recognized poker VIP programs, which is ironic since it offers poor rewards for anyone who generates less than $100,000/year in rake and fees!

Despite needing to be 18 years of age or older to play on PokerStars, the poker room has very strict chat policies and moderators routinely suspend chat privileges for silly reasons. If a moderator is called, there is no investigation - they typically grab the last line of chat entered and suspend the chat privileges for that player. Poor customer service at PokerStars extends beyond chat moderators. Most emails get lazy copy & paste form replies, which often have nothing to do with the original question/comment.

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poker stars online
Peak hours: 6pm - 11pm UTC
Peak Traffic: 142,900 players
Peak Cash Traffic: 24,950 players
Avg. Cash Traffic: 16,000 players
Low Hours: 5am - 9am UTC
Low Traffic: 41,700 players
No US players
Reviewed Sites:

"I'm going to go with my read."

Daniel Negreanu

PokerStars Cash Games

PokerStars offers more variations of online poker for money than any other site, both for poker cash games and tournaments. Although many of the games offered are never active, there is still a wide variety of games with a lot of active tables for a wide range of stakes. The amount of options available for each game can be distracting. PokerStars offers tables that are fast, short stacked, deep stacked, have antes, and several combinations of these options.

Despite the recent PokerStars rake increase, their rake structure remains very competitive for all games and stakes, although it is not as competitive as it first appears on paper. Most sites use milestones to determine when rake is taken. For example, a different site might rake 1¢ for every 20¢ in the pot, which appears to be 5%. However, if the pot is 35¢, then they would still only rake 1¢, which is only 2.9%. PokerStars almost always offers a lower percentage (e.g. 4.5%), but since they use the “round half to even” method, they will be rounding up half the time. On that same 35¢ pot, PokerStars would rake 2¢ (1.575¢, rounded up), which is 5.7% (almost double what other sites would rake).

The rake at PokerStars gets better as the pots get larger because the impact of rounding is less than the impact of the lower percentage. However, the level of competition on PokerStars is very high at all stakes compared to other sites, which results in smaller pots and fewer players seeing the flop (or 4th street in 7 Card Stud variants).

For heads-up play, there are always plenty of players at every stake sitting at a table, waiting for a challenger. The fact that there are typically dozens of players camped at different tables instead of playing each other should set off warning bells. Chances are, if they don’t want to play each other, then you don’t want to play them either!

Active Tables (Full Table):
  NL Hold'em   1¢/2¢ - $3/$6
  NL Hold'em, ZOOM   1¢/2¢ - 50¢/$1
  FL Hold'em   2¢/4¢ - $30/$60
  PL Hold'em   10¢/25¢ - 50¢/$1
  PL Omaha   ¢1/¢2 - 10¢/25¢
  PL Omaha, Hi/Lo   ¢1/¢2 & 50¢/$1
  FL Omaha, Hi/Lo   5¢/10¢ & $2/$4
  NL Omaha, Hi/Lo   10¢/25¢ & 50¢/$1
  FL 7-Card Stud   4¢/8¢ - $3/$6
  FL 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo   4¢/8¢ - $2/$4
  FL Razz   4¢/8¢ - $1/$2
  FL Badugi   25¢/50¢ - $20/$40
Active Tables (6-Handed):
  NL Hold'em   1¢/2¢ - $25/$50
  NL Hold'em, ZOOM   1¢/2¢ - $25/$50
  FL Hold'em   ¢2/¢4 - $10/$20
  PL Omaha   ¢1/¢2 - $10/$20
  PL Omaha, ZOOM   ¢1/¢2 - $2.50/$5
  PL 5-Card Omaha   10¢/25¢ - 50¢/$1
  PL Omaha Hi/Lo   1¢/2¢ - 25¢/50¢
  FL Omaha Hi/Lo   $1/$2 - $5/$10
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo   10¢/25¢ - $3/$6
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo, ZOOM   1¢/2¢ - 10¢/25¢
  PL 5-Card Omaha Hi/Lo   10¢/25¢
  FL 5-Card Draw   10¢/20¢ - $3/$6
  PL 5-Card Draw   25¢/50¢ - $2/$4
  NL 5-Card Draw   25¢/50¢
  FL 2-7 Triple Draw   10¢/20¢ - 25/50¢
  NL 2-7 Single Draw   25¢/50¢
  8-Game   20¢40¢ - $10/$20
Active Tables (Heads-Up):
  NL Hold'em   25¢/50¢ - $50/$100
  FL Hold'em   50¢/$1 - $10/$20
  PL Omaha   25¢/50¢ - $50/$100
  FL Omaha Hi/Lo   $15/$30 - $75/$150
  FL 7-Card Stud   $1/$2 - $5/$10
  FL Razz   $3/$6 - $5/$10
Games Offered:
  NL Hold'em   PL Omaha Hi/Lo
  FL Hold'em   FL Omaha Hi/Lo
  PL Hold'em   NL Omaha Hi/Lo
  PL Omaha   FL 7-Card Stud
  FL Omaha    FL 7-Stud Hi/Lo
  FL Razz   FL Triple Stud
  FL Badugi    
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PokerStars Tournaments

PokerStars is the world’s largest poker site and this is never more evident than when playing online poker tournaments. The incredible number of players can lead to amazing prizes (like $215,000 guaranteed for winning the Sunday Million), but when combined with a top-heavy payout structure it also creates ridiculous levels of volatility in your results. This high level of volatility is the reason why even top professionals go months without showing profit on PokerStars.

Like most poker sites, a large percentage of tournaments offered are satellites. PokerStars allows you to sell seats won via satellites back to them in exchange for tournament dollars, which can only be redeemed to buy into other tournaments. This option combined with the fact that most players fail to adjust from a strategy designed to accumulate chips to one designed to survive to the money, creates a very profitable opportunity to increase your bankroll with reduced variation.

PokerStars offers a wide variety of tournament types, such as Knockout (bounty) tournaments, timed tournaments, etc. However, whenever you play a tournament that is not a standard format, they give you an additional pop-up window that you need to click through before you can register. Although it may not seem like much, this can be very annoying if you are playing multiple tables.

Additionally, the tournament formats are not consistent. One tournament may start with 3,000 chips, while another may only have 1,500, and yet neither is listed as a Turbo. The only way to find out this information is to open up the tournament lobby and then open the tournament information window - you should not need to investigate a tournament before joining! If you are playing multiple tournaments, this is simply too time consuming.

PokerStars coordinates all breaks. A 5 minute break is given to all tournaments from 5 minutes before each hour. Even better, the break starts when the last hand on all tables has been completed, so players are always guaranteed a full 5 minute break (although if playing multiple tables, the other tables may resume earlier).

PokerStars Sit & Go's

No other site offers as many Sit and Go tournaments as PokerStars, especially for full table or heads-up games. There are also plenty of multi-table Sit and Go tournaments, with up to 180 players as well as a wide range of active buy-ins.

PokerStars offers some of the lowest fees available online for full table and heads-up Sit & Go’s, and their fees for 6-handed play are competitive as well. However, players who do not enjoy Turbo format SNGs would probably be better off with another site (like William Hill Poker), as PokerStars charges higher fees for non-Turbo Sit & Go’s.

Originally, PokerStars offered Double or Nothing tournaments, but they quickly changed the format to Fifty50 since this format is far less punishing for maniacs (who win more when they get lucky) and finishes in half the time (since grinding to the money is no longer a sound strategy). It’s sickening when a poker site changes a tournament format to improve the chances for weaker players, but even worse, PokerStars increased the fee even though the tournament completes in half the time!

Sit & Go (SNG) Formats:
  Multi-Table (MT)
  Single Table (ST)
  Rebuy (R)
  Fifty50 (F50)
  Knockout / Bounty (KO)
Active SNGs (Full Table):
  NL Hold'em (MT)   10¢ - $200
  NL Hold'em (MT/R)   $3.50
  NL Hold'em (MT/KO)   $1.50 & $7
  NL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $100
  NL Hold'em (ST/KO)   $1.50 - $30
  NL Hold'em (F50)   $1.50 - $300
  PL Hold'em (MT)   $1.50
  PL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50
  PL Omaha (MT)   $1.50
  PL Omaha (F50)   $1.50 - $7
  PL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $3.50 - $7
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo (MT)   $1 - $15
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $7
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST/KO)   $1.50 - $3.50
  FL 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo (ST)   $1.50
Active SNGs (6-Handed):
  NL Hold'em (MT)   $1.50 - $15
  NL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $500
  FL Hold'em (MT)   $1.50
  FL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $15
  PL Omaha (MT)   10¢ - $1.50
  PL Omaha (ST)   $1.50 - $15
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $1.50 - $60
  PL 5-Card Omaha (ST)   $1.50
  PL 5-Card Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $3.50
  PL 5-Card Draw (ST)   $1.50 - $7
  8-Game (ST)   $1.50 - $3.50
Active SNGs (Heads-Up):
  NL Hold'em (MT)   $3.50 - $60
  NL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $2,000
  FL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $60
  PL Hold'em (ST)   $1.50 - $30
  PL Omaha (ST)   $1.50 - $30
  PL Omaha Hi/Lo (MT)   $3.50
  PL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $1.50 - $15
  FL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $7
  NL Omaha Hi/Lo (ST)   $1.50 - $3.50
  FL 7-Card Stud (ST)   $7
  FL 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo (ST)   $1.50 - $7
  FL Razz (ST)   $1.50 - $3.50
  FL 5-Card Draw (ST)   $1.50 - $30
  NL 5-Card Draw (ST)   $1.50 - $100
  NL 2-7 Single Draw   $3.50
  H.O.R.S.E. (ST)   $1.50 - $7
  8-Game (ST)   $1.50 - $3.50
  FL Badugi (ST)   $1.50 - $3.50

PokerStars Mobile Download

You can download PokerStars mobile software for both major mobile platforms.

PokerStars Download for Android

Download the PokerStars Android App to get the industry-leading poker features you've come to expect from the world's largest poker site.

Are you ready to play poker on the move? Then start playing PokerStars Mobile Poker on your Android™ device , and get in the game anywhere, anytime.

PokerStars for iPhone and iPad

You can now play poker on the move with the PokerStars Mobile Poker App – directly on your iPhone® or iPad®!

Play against millions of users from the palm of your hand with the PokerStars iOS software. Instantly join your favourite cash games and tournaments with a single click.

Get the PokerStars iPhone app for the ultimate mobile experience, or play on your iPad for big-screen enhancements and extended battery life.