PokerStars India Review

Last Updated: 5 November 2019

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PokerStars India Network

We strongly recommend against joining PokerStars India. PokerStars decided to get out of the India online poker market and sold the rights to use their software to Sachiko Gaming Private Limited. Not only does this segregate Indian players from the rest of the PokerStars player pool, but it also allows Sachiko Gaming to charge whatever rake they want...something they have taken full advantage of! Why pay such exorbitant rake to play against such a small player pool when there are plenty of better options for players who live in India?

Our top choice for online poker in India is Americas Cardroom, which you can join by clicking the banner below:

americas cardroom promotions

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Not only does Americas Cardroom charge far less rake, but you can also get 27% rakeback with the ACR rakeback program!

Poker players from India can no longer play poker on the world's biggest online poker site. In a likely effort to shield themselves from ambiguouos online gambling laws in India, the Stars Group decided to block Indian citizens and nationals from playing on their main site. In April 2018, PokerStars India launched, and although it uses the PokerStars software and receives support from the Stars Group, PokerStars.IN is owned and operated by Sachiko Gaming.

PokerStars.IN offers almost identical promotions, but there are several key differences that make it a MUCH worse option, including:

  • significantly higher rake
  • a much smaller pool of players
  • far fewer games offered
  • slightly worse rewards
  • no freerolls (other than the first deposit freerolls)

Although PokerStars provide software and support to PokerStars India, the site is actually owned and operated by Sachiko Gaming (and they charge MUCH higher rake). Click to Tweet

Since they are using PokerStars software and support, PokerStars India does offer the highest quality online poker software available online 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.IN also offer poker software for mac, as well as Android and iOS, allowing you to play on a smartphone or tablet.

While there are of course several top notch poker professionals from India, it is still very much an emerging market for online poker. If Sachiko Gaming are able to grow the Indian online poker community, then PokerStars.IN will be a very profitable place to play. Understanding basic pre-flop concepts will give you a significant edge over new players! 

Overall Rating
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    6.3

Determine your player category:

  • Casual Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty star
     8.2 8.2
    +

         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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          77
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          55
      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
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • Enthusiast Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty star
     7.0 7.0
    +

         VIP Rewards
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        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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          77
      Rake
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          66
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          11
      Sit & Go Fees
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • Amateur Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty starempty star
     7.4 7.4
    +

         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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          33
      Rake
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          77
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          66
      Sit & Go Fees
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • Semi-Pro Players
    gold stargold stargold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty star
     4.5 4.5
    +

         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 stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey star
        99
      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
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          22
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          11
      Sit & Go Fees
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • Professional Players
    gold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty star
     2.8 2.8
    +

         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 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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          11
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          11
      Sit & Go Fees
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • Hardcore Pros
    gold stargold stargold starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty starempty star
     2.7 2.7
    +

         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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargold stargold stargold stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
          55
      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 stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        11
      Tournament. Fees
    gold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargold stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star
        11
      Sit & Go Fees
    Not availableNot available
          --
  • 1
326 peak cash players
8am - 9pm UTC
226 avg. cash players
40 min. cash players
11pm - 5am UTC
no us players No US players
Reviewed Sites:
  • PokerStars.IN Cash Games
  • PokerStars.IN Tournaments
  • PokerStars.IN Sit & Go's

Poker Stars India Cash Games

 
Active Tables (6-Handed):
  NL Hold'em   ₹1/₹2 - ₹50/₹100

PokerStars.IN does not offer either full table or heads-up cash games, and for 6-handed cash games only offers No Limit Hold'em. However, they do offer a decent range of stakes, with multiple active tables for 6-max NLH.

If you like playing cash game poker online and reside in India, you are far better off playing on the Winning Poker Network, which offers much lower rake, better rewards, and more activity (full table, 6-handed, and heads-up).

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Poker Stars India charges significantly higher rake than PokerStars. Not only do they charge a higher percentage (e.g. 5.15% instead of 4.50% for lower stakes), but they also have a higher cap.

PokerStars India (which is neither owned nor operated by The Stars Group) charge significantly higher rake and for cash games only offer 6-max No Limit Hold'em. Click to Tweet

PokerStars India Tournaments

PokerStars.IN tournament fees are competitive, with the site regularly charging 9.9%. However, unlike most online poker sites, the percentage does not decrease for larger buy-in events. That is, they always charge 9.9%, whereas most online poker sites start reducing the percentage for tournaments that cost $100 or more to enter. However, since PokerStars India rarely offer tournaments above ₹5,000 (~$71), this really isn't an issue.

 Site  Tourn/Hr 
 Avg. Entries 
 Tourn/Hr 
 Party Poker 24 - 40 50 - 150  24 - 40
 Americas Cardroom  12 - 24 50 - 700  12 - 24
 888 Poker 6 - 15 50 - 300  6 - 15
 PokerStars.IN 4 - 6 50 - 150  4 - 6
 Boylepoker 4 - 6 100 - 400  4 - 6

Most tournaments get anywhere from 50 to 150 entries, making PokerStars.IN a great option for reducing your tournament bankroll variance. However, they typically only offer between 4 and 6 tournaments each hour. If you are looking to play online poker tournaments in India, there are several much better options for tournaments than PokerStars India!

Click on any of the site names in the table to the right for a detailed review of those sites and discover for yourself why we consider them to be better options than PokerStars India.

Unlike PokerStars.com (the global PokerStars site), PokerStars.IN does not offer many tournament variations. They mostly just offer No Limit Hold'em tournaments. There is just 1 PLO tournament and 1-3 KO tournaments each day.

PokerStars India Sit and Go's

 
Sit & Go (SNG) Formats:
  Spin & Go (S&G)
 
Active SNGs (6-Handed):
  NL Hold'em (S&G)   ₹1 & ₹51

PokerStars.IN do not offer traditional Sit-N-Go poker tournaments. Instead, they only offer 3-handed Spin&Go tournaments. Although you can register to play buys-in of ₹1, ₹11, ₹51, ₹151, and ₹510, only the ₹1 and ₹51 games typically see any action. Poker Stars India charge around 8% fees for Spin & Go tournaments.

If you live in India and prefer SNGs, we recommend either Americas Cardroom or PartyPoker:

Both of these sites offer a wider variety of active SNG games with low fees across a wide range of buy-ins.

PokerStars India do not offer traditional Sit & Go tournaments. They only offer 3-handed Spin & Go's with buy-ins of ₹1, ₹11, ₹51, ₹151, and ₹510 (but only the ₹1 and ₹51 games typically run. Click to Tweet

PokerStars.IN Freerolls

Freeroll Name Frequency Time (UTC) Value
Weekly Stars Rewards Freeroll, Rs. 25,000 Added! Sunday 11:00 am ₹95
School Pass Daily Freebuy, Rs. 5,1000 GTD Daily 3:30 pm ₹28

PokerStars.IN Rewards

PokerStars India uses the same Stars Rewards program used by the main PokerStars site. Pretty much everyone hates Stars Rewards as it now punishes skill and attempts to turn poker into a luck-based casino game.

Chest Rewards Avg. Reward
Blue ₹17 - ₹350 ₹34.80
Bronze ₹50 - ₹1,000 ₹100
Silver ₹125 - ₹2,500 ₹250
Gold ₹350 - ₹7,000 ₹700
Diamond ₹875 - ₹17,500 ₹1,750
Black ₹2,500 - ₹50,000 ₹5,000

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.

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 ₹17 to ₹350 for the basic Blue chest). You need to open 1 chest of your current type over a 28-day rolling period to remain at your current level. If you earn 10 chests during this period, you will move up to the next level (i.e. from Blue to Bronze). Higher level chests require more reward points to open and have higher rewards, but don't necessarily offer improved rakeback!

Chest Avg.
Value
Avg.
Bonus
Best Typical Worst
Cost RB Cost RB Cost RB
Blue ₹34.8 30 350 10.9% 1,700 2.1% 2,500 1.4%
Bronze ₹100 50 550 20.0% 2,300 4.4% 5,950 1.7%
Silver ₹250 90 750 37.9% 2,750 9.4% 14,750 1.7%
Gold ₹700 200 5,000 14.6% 13,000 5.5% 48,500 1.5%
Diamond ₹1,750 500 15,000 12.1% 30,000 5.9% 120,000 1.5%
Black ₹5,000 1,000 25,000 20.8%  65,000 7.8% 335,000 1.5%
All of the numbers in the above table are approximations based on the data we have been able to collect. While our previous analysis of the Stars Rewards program was incredibly accurate, our analysis of the "improved" program is much less so due to a lack of data. The numbers in red text are almost certainly wrong.

Note that although we have adjusted our calculations from the regular Stars Rewards program for chest values and frequencies, we have assumed the same chest costs and bonus sizes. This is definitely incorrect, because a newly created account with no history has an initial chest cost of just 135 points (less than the best chest cost available on PokerStars). In all likelihood, the average rakeback will be very close to the rakeback on PokerStars, which is still awful for winning players, but better than shown in the above table.

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).Although other factors contribute to your profile, the biggest is whether you are a break-even player, net depositor, or net withdrawer. 

Winning players earn as little as 2% rakeback from Stars Rewards while playing poker with PokerStars India! Click to Tweet

Also 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! 

PokerStars.IN Sign-Up Bonus

PokerStars.IN offer two different sign-up bonus codes, neither of which is particularly good:

PokerStars India Bonus Code: 'FREE1500'

If you make a deposit of at least 500 and use the PokerStars India bonus code 'FREE1500', you will receive the following bonuses over 6 days:

  • 5 x Depositor Freeroll Tickets (5 chances to win your share of ₹10,000)
  • 20 x ₹51 Spin & Go tickets
  • ₹480 in cash bonuses

This sign-up bonus isn't terrible, but it pales in comparison to the Americas Cardroom sign-up bonus, where you get 20 days of free cash ($50 total), plus a $250 first depositor freeroll, and up to a $1,000 bonus. To take advantage of this much better poker sign-up bonus, join Americas Cardroom by clicking the banner below:

america's cardroom download

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The sign-up bonus at PartyPoker also offers greater rewards, offering $10 in cash and $11 in tournament tickets, plus an additional $11 in tournament tickets and $30 cash from their "Getting Started" missions.

@PokerStarsIN bonus code 'FREE1500' is the better sign-up bonus for players who generate less than ₹9,100/year in rake and fees. Click to Tweet

Poker Stars India Bonus Code: 'STARS30000'

If you generate more than ₹9,100/year in rake and fees and insist on playing on this high rake site, then you should use the 'STARS30000' PokerStars.IN bonus code. With this sign-up code, you receive a 100% matched bonus up to ₹30,100. If you generate between ₹56,000 and ₹630,000/year in rake, then this is actually one of the best sign-up bonuses available online! However, getting a good sign-up bonus is counter-productive if you're paying so much more in rake to earn it!

If you generate less than ₹56,000/year in rake (~ ₹4,700/month), you will receive far more rewards if you join PartyPoker by clicking the banner below:

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If you generate between ₹56,000 and ₹210,000/year in rake and fees, then you will not find a better online poker sign-up bonus than the one offered by PokerStars India! Too bad you'll be paying massive amounts of rake to earn it :( Click to Tweet

With the 'STARS30000' 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 ₹10,000 initially, then another ₹10,000 after 1 month, and make a third ₹10,0000 deposit just before 60 days after your first deposit, then you have a full 6 months to earn the full bonus!

PokerStars.IN Download

If you still want to play online poker with Poker Stars India, even though the site isn't owned and operated by The Stars Group, the rake is high, and the rewards are garbage, you can download PokerStars.IN by clicking on the button below:

download pokerstars in

Get the Most Rakeback with PokerStars India

To get the most rewards from PokerStars India, you need to lose! Clearly, that's a terrible strategy! However, if you are new to online poker, PokerStars India will offer decent rakeback to help offset your losses as you improve. However, once you become a break even player, you definitely want to stop playing on this site as there are many others that offer lower rake, better rewards, and more activity.

To get the most from an online poker rewards program, you should play as many freerolls as possible. Although PokerStars India does not offer very many freerolls, they do offer a daily Schoolpass freeroll. Although this freeroll gets very few entrants, its value (as a freeroll) is greatly diminished by the fact that you can rebuy and add-on for ₹11. To get tickets for the daily Schoolpass freeroll, you simply need to join PokerStars.IN School.

The weekly Stars Rewards freeroll offers even better value - when you consider that the average value of a Red Chest is just ₹11.9 (not including the 10% chance for a weekly freeroll tickets), getting a freeroll ticket with an average value of ₹95 is a huge increase!

Maximizing Stars Rewards

Since PokerStars removed boosts from the Stars Rewards program, there really isn't anything you can do to improve your total rakeback...except of course switching to a site that actually rewards their players for playing there! The best site we have analysed for players from India is Americas Cardroom, which you can join by clicking the banner below:

download americas card room

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Another solid option (with even more traffic, but lower rewards) is PartyPoker:

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Platforms

Windows

YES

Mac

YES

iOS

YES

Android

YES

Linux

NO
Withdrawal Options

Bank Transfer

Country Restrictions

Must reside in India

PokerStars Deposit Options

Cashfree, Mastercard, VISA

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