PokerStars Online Poker Review

Download Poker Stars and start playing real money online poker today!

Last Updated: 24 September 2017

pokerstars online

pokerstars download free

poker stars online lobbypoker stars tournamentspokerstars poker cash gamespokerstars download real money cashier
Click a PokerStars screenshot to enlarge

Pros & Cons

 
  ++   Highest traffic poker site
 
  ++   Great freeroll value
 
  ++   Great sign-up bonuses
 
  +   Low rake & fees  
- Penalize winning players
- No US Players

PokerStars Review

PokerStars eliminated their famous Supernova VIP rewards program and replaced it with the new Stars Rewards player rewards program. Although the vast majority of PokerStars regulars hate the new Stars Rewards program, it's not nearly as bad as everyone thinks it is (and we plan to publish an article with our full analysis in the near future).

Chest Rewards Avg. Reward Freeroll
Red 7¢ - $50 18¢ $2,500
Blue 21¢ - $100 51¢
Bronze 53¢ - $250 $1.29 $10,000
Silver $1.35 - $500 $3.22
Gold $3.43 - $750 $8.00
Platinum $10.37 - $1,000 $23.52

Since poker played outside of home games is not a zero sum game, the economy relies on depositors, and yet these players are typically not given any special treatment. In fact, it's usually the "net withdrawers" (AKA, the pros and the grinders) who get all the rewards. With the old Supernova program winning players were earning as much as 69% rakeback! PokerStars realized that rewarding players who are already winning is pretty pointless, so they shifted their focus to the players the game needs most to survive: net depositors.

The Stars Rewards program creates a dilemna for winning poker players (AKA "net withdrawers"). Winning players have lost a huge amount of their earnings if they continue to play on PokerStars, with the top players suffering a decrease in rakeback rewards from 69% to as little as 5%! Since these players can all earn significantly more rewards with almost any other online poker site, many have left. As these players leave and more "net depositors" join to take advantage of the very favorable bonuses, the games on PokerStars get softer. Professional online poker players need to decide whether they would rather play tough games with 50-60% rakeback or soft games with 5-6% rakeback.

PokerStars Stars Rewards

You earn 1 reward point for every 1¢ you pay in rake or tournament fees. Earn enough reward points, and you earn a reward chest, which offer random prizes that vary greatly in value (from 7¢ to $50 for the basic Red chest). If you earn 4 chests of the same type on the same day, you move up to the next reward chest (e.g. from Red to Blue), which requires more reward points to open, but also has a higher average value of rewards. If your last 3 chests were opened on different days, then your next chest will be 1 rank lower (with a lower reward point requirement). Do not be overly concerned about moving up the levels - the overall rakeback rewards do not change significantly between chest types!

Chest Avg.
Value
Avg.
Bonus
Best Typical Worst
Cost Boost RB Cost Boost RB Cost Boost RB
Red 18¢ 15 150 75 30% 240 75 12% 280 45 8%
Blue 51¢ 32 370 160 29%  560 160 14% 675 160  11%
Bronze $1.29 72 800 200 29%  1,400 360 13% 2,350 360 7%
Silver $3.22 160 1,850 800 50%  3,400 1,800 22% 6,800 1,800 7%
Gold $8.00 360 4,250 1,800 56%  7,800 1,800 14% 18,000 1,800 5%
Platinum $23.52 800 10,250 2,500 50%  20,000 5,000 17% 48,000 5,000 6%

With Stars Rewards, you also receive a "boost", which doubles the number of reward points you earn while it is active. Each boost is based on points, not time. For example, you might get a boost of 150 points, which means that while this boost is active, you will earn double the number of reward points for the next $1.50 you generate in rake or tournaments fees (gaining 300 reward points total, instead of the normal 150). After completing a boost, you get a new boost 8 hours later, which makes it possible for casual players to always have a boost active!  

The confusing aspect of the Stars Rewards program is that the reward point requirements for each chest vary based on your player profile (and the variation can be huge). In addition, the size of your boost also varies. Although other factors contribute to your profile, the biggest is whether you are a break-even player, net depositor, or net withdrawer. Net depositors can earn as much as 56% equivalent rakeback with Stars Rewards, while net withdrawers might earn as little as 5%!

Net depositors can earn as much as 56% rakeback from Stars Reward from @PokerStars Click to Tweet

You may have seen similar analyses on other poker websites and noticed that our equivalent rakeback numbers are slightly higher. This is because our analysis is far more comprehensive. For example, each time you open a chest, you receive one of three possible bonus reward points towards your next chest. Each Red chest gives 5, 15 or 25 reward points towards your next chest (with an average of 15 bonus reward points). If your Red Chests cost 150 reward points, that's a 10% boost to your equivalent rakeback! In addition to the regular rewards, there are also Featured Rewards, which increases the average value of each chest. Finally, there is a 10% chance to receive a freeroll ticket with each chest you open. Although this value is not reflected in the tables in this section, it is included in our overall calculations of the PokerStars rewards program.

Please note that our equivalent rakeback calculations are based on the weighted average of the rewards from each chest. That is, you are unlikely to receive the exact rakeback our tables indicate. This is part of the draw of the Stars Rewards program - the opportunity to earn a big prize! The entire system is designed to attract gamblers. While this system may not be very appealing to grinders (who would much rather receive a fixed rakeback percentage), playing against gamblers should be very appealing! 

Overall Rating
gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
    8.8

Determine your player category:

  • Casual Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
     9.4 9.4
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        66
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
  • Enthusiast Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
     9.5 9.5
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        55
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
  • Amateur Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty star
     9.0 9.0
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        77
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
  • Semi-Pro Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty star
     8.3 8.3
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        66
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
  • Professional Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty starempty star
     6.1 6.1
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        11
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        22
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
  • Hardcore Pros
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty starempty star
     5.9 5.9
    +

         VIP Rewards
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Sign-Uup Bonus
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        44
      Freeroll Value
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        11
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        22
      Sit & Go Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold star
        1010
  • 1
pokerstars rakeback

PokerStars Deposit Bonus

Download PokerStars using any of the banners or download buttons on this site and enter one of the following Poker Stars bonus codes:

PokerStars Bonus Code: 'THIRTY'

If you make a deposit of at least $20 and use PokerStars bonus code 'THIRTY', you will receive:

  • 20 x $1 Spin & Go tickets
  • $10 in cash bonuses

@PokerStars bonus code 'THIRTY' is best for players who generate less than $182/year in rake and fees. Click to Tweet

If you generate less than $182/year in rake and fees, then this is one of the best poker sign-up bonuses available online. Only the Americas Cardroom sign-up bonus and first deposit bonus at Party Poker offer greater rewards.

Poker Stars Bonus Code: 'STARS600'

If you generate more than $182/year in rake and fees, then you should use the 'STARS600' PokerStars bonus code. With this bonus code, you receive a 100% matched bonus up to $600. Although other sites offer bigger bonus amounts, the favorable conditions on the Poker Stars sign-up bonus offer make it one of the best available online. In fact, if you generate between $800 and $9,000/year in rake and fees, then this PokerStars deposit bonus code is the absolute best of those we have analyzed.

With the 'STARS600' bonus code, you may make up to 3 qualifying deposits over a 60 day period (and you should definitely take advantage of this). By spreading out your initial deposits, you increase the amount of time you have to earn the full bonus because you have 4 months to earn your bonus after each qualifying deposit. That is, if you deposit $200 initially, then another $200 after 1 month, and make a third $200 deposit just before 60 days after your first deposit, then you have a full 6 months to earn the full bonus!

You will earn 5 redemption points for every $1 paid in rake or tournament/SNG fees with PokerStars. You receive $10 of your first deposit bonus for every 180 redemption points earned (which is 28% rakeback). Although other sites offer a higher sign-up bonus rakeback percentage (such as Boylepoker), the redemption period at PokerStars is significantly longer. As a result, you earn more total sign-up bonus rewards with PokerStars than with any other online poker site sign-up bonus if you generate between $800 and $9,000/year in rake and fees.

PokerStars Freerolls

Freeroll Name Frequency Time (UTC) Value
Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll, $5,000 Added Saturday 1:00 pm 36¢
Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll, $5,000 Added Saturday 7:00 pm 31¢
Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll, $10,000 Added Saturday 1:30 pm $2.38
Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll, $10,000 Added Saturday 7:30 pm $2.27
School Pass Event, 48 x $0.25 Spin&Go tickets GTD Daily 1:05 am
School Pass Event, 9 x $3.30 tourney tickets GTD Daily 5:05 pm
School Pass Event, 15 x $1 Spin&Go Tickets GTD Daily 9:05 pm
School Pass Big Bang Satellite, 9 x Big Bang tourney seats GTD Wed/Fri/Sun 3:30 pm
School Pass Big Bang Satellite, 9 x Big Bang tourney seats GTD Wed/Fri/Sun 9:30 pm
School Pass Big Bang Satellite, 9 x Big Bang tourney seats GTD Wed/Fri/Sun 12:30 am
The Big Bang: Main Event, $5,000 Gtd Monthly 5:05 pm $2.24
Trip to Bahamas Freeroll Daily 6:03 pm
Zoom Usain Bolt Edition Freeroll, $1,500 Added Daily 5:30 pm 67¢
Zoom Usain Bolt Edition Freeroll, $1,500 Added Daily 7:30 pm 76¢
Zoom Usain Bolt Edition Freeroll, $1,500 Added Daily 11:30 pm $1.32
The League - Elementary - $10 Added Daily xx:05 0.2¢
The League - High School - $20 Added Daily xx:10
The League - University - $20 Added Daily xx:15
The League - Masters - $20 Added Daily xx:20
Peak hours: 6pm - 11pm UTC
Peak Traffic: 120,940 players
Peak Cash Traffic: 21,620 players
Avg. Cash Traffic: 12,500 players
Low Hours: 5am - 9am UTC
Low Traffic: 34,700 players
No US players
Reviewed Sites:

Maximizing Your PokerStars Rakeback

Based on the price paid for tournament tickets, PokerStars equates 63.6 FPPs to $1. Using this as a guideline, you will quickly realize that buying items from the PokerStars store is huge rip-off. For example, Daniel Negraneau’s book More Hold’em Wisdom For All Players sells for $10.91 on Amazon.com, but would set you back $31.45 worth of FPPs if you were foolish enough to use them in this manner.

The best use of FPPs is PokerStars tournaments, which have a fixed guarantee regardless of entries. As a result, the value varies each tournament, but we’ve listed the ones that offer the best value below (the less FPPs per dollar, the better):

  • 10 FPP NL Hold’em [Turbo, $500 Prize Pool]: good value if <3,250 players register
    • 10:40am UTC: good value every day (avg. = 58.7 FPPs/$1)
    • 4:40pm UTC: poor value every day (avg. = 91.3 FPPs/$1)
    • 11:40pm UTC: good value on weekdays only (avg. = 56.1 FPPs/$1
  • 20 FPP NL Hold’em [Turbo, $1,000 Prize Pool]: good value if <3,250 players register
    • 4:35pm UTC: poor value every day (avg. = 82.3 FPPs/$1)
    • 8:05pm UTC: poor value every day (avg. = 89.9 FPPs/$1)
  • 50 FPP Weekly FLHE, Saturday, 8pm UTC: good value (avg. = 50.5 FPPs/$1)
  • 50 FPP Weekly PLO, Saturday, 8pm UTC: good value (avg. = 55.5 FPPs/$1)
  • The Sunday Two Grand, Sunday, 10pm UTC: good value (avg. = 46.5 FPPs/$1)
  • VIP $30,000 Weekly (Silver+), Saturday, 12:30pm UTC: great value (avg. = 25.7 FPPs/$1)
  • VIP $100,000 Monthly Satellite (Silver): horrible value (avg. = 143.8 FPPs/$1)
  • VIP $1,000,000 Quarterly Satellite (Gold): great value (avg. = 28.1 FPPs/$1)
  • VIP $1,000,000 Quarterly Satellite (Platinum): great value (avg. = 23.4 FPPs/$1)

Status

Exchange

Rate

Bronze

1,000 FPPs = $10

100 FPPs / $1

Silver

2,250 FPPs = $25

90 FPPs / $1

Gold

6,250 FPPs = $75

83.3 FPPs / $1

Platinum

15,400 FPPs = $200

77 FPPs / $1

Supernova+

40,000 FPPs = $600

66.7 FPPs / $1

100,000 FPPs = $1,600

62.5 FPPs / $1

If you earn more FPPs than you can spend on the above PokerStars tournaments, the next best option is to purchase tournament tickets, which typically cost 63.6 FPPs for every $1 value of the ticket.

If you prefer cash game poker and do not wish to spend your FPPs on PokerStars tournaments, the only other viable option is to convert them to cash. If possible, try to play more than usual in a given month and move up to the next poker VIP level before converting your FPPs, as the value of your FPPs increases with status. Supernova and Supernova Elite players have access to two exchange rates - obviously, waiting until you have accumulated 100,000 FPPs before converting them to cash offers a slightly better exchange rate.

Please disable Ad-Block on this site if you are unable to see the banner above

Popular Articles, Reviews & Rankings

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Platforms

Windows

YES

Mac

YES

iOS

YES

Android

YES

Linux

NO
PokerStars Deposit Options

AstroPay, Bank Transfer, Boku, Boleto Bancario, EntroPay, Full Tilt Transfer, Instadebit, Maestro, Mastercard, NETELLER, O2, Orange, PayPal, Paysafecard, PokerStarsPay, PokerStarsTopUp, Skrill, toditoCash, Ukash, VISA, Vodafone, WebMoney

Withdrawal Options

Bank Draft, Bank Transfer, Electronic Transfer, EntroPay, Full Tilt Transfer, Instadebit, NETELLER, PayPal, Skrill, Ukash, VISA, WebMoney

Country Restrictions

USA

">
0
Shares