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PokerStars Poker Reviews: Is PokerStars safe?

#4 of 4 Poker Rooms

PokerStars is the world’s largest online poker site. PokerStars is one of the brands run by Amaya Inc., also known as The Rational Group, an operator of gaming and related businesses and brands. PokerStars has more than 50 million registered members ranging from the newest of novices to some of the best professional poker players that hail from all over the world. In fact, over 100 billion hands have been dealt on PokerStars to date.

PokerStars, apart from being the largest online poker site, has earned numerous honours that show its prowess. The first is that PokerStars is the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s largest number of players in a single poker tournament: 225,000 in 2013. They’ve also awarded some very sizeable prize pools. In 2013, a PokerStars prize of $75.5 million for the Spring Championship of Online Poker became the largest ever total prize for an online festival. Their largest tournament prize pool, for the 10th Anniversary Sunday Million in December of 2010, was $12.4 million. PokerStars have been the sponsors of seven of the past 10 champions in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

PokerStars.com is operated from the Isle of Man, which is a British Crown dependency between Great Britain and Ireland. Their European Union operations are based out of Malta. In order to have the authorisation to operate in the United Kingdom, they have a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.

400£
Deposit Bonus T&Cs Apply, 18+

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Largest online poker site in the world
  • A combination of different variants, limits, and mixed events
  • Great PokerStars mobile app
  • Downloadable PokerStars software
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Good PokerStars welcome bonus

User ratings

01Website & Usability 8.8
02Poker Offer9.5
03Bonus9.8
04Level and Limits9.0
05Customer Service3.5
06Payments9.5
07Security and Licensing9.8
08Mobile Application8.5

Arriving at our PokerStars ratings

With so many different options for playing poker online it can be difficult to know how to choose the right poker room for you. At yourate we try to make your life that little bit easier by obhectively evaluating each poker room across the same eight categories. Maybe the most important thing for you is that the PokerStars app is up to scratch, or perhaps you're interested in the PokerStars welcome bonus. We evaluate the poker room in categories including website design, customer service and games on offer, so that you can easily see the pros and cons of PokerStars. If you've played with the site before, why not help out some fellow players by leaving your own PokerStars ratings.

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Website & Usability

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01 Website & Usability

Clean and attractive website

The PokerStars website uses a clean aesthetic with black, white, and grey backgrounds in the different bars that separate the various sections of the page. The header has a black background that tells you the number of players actively on PokerStars at a given time and the number of active tournaments. They also rotate the various promotions users have at their fingertips; you may see Cristiano Ronaldo in some of those ads as he is sometimes featured in PokerStars advertisements.

It’s also helpful that the PokerStars special offers are readily available to you in images that are hyperlinked to the specific information related to each promotion. However, one of the problems that we had when loading the PokerStars site is the ability for all the elements to properly load. We either could not see the full site at a time with just the HTML links and no graphics or some of the graphics have not fully loaded. For your reference, this was on a Mac using the latest OSX Sierra operating system. We sincerely hope that this was just an anomaly with our computers but this is something to keep in mind. Let us know by sharing your PokerStars ratings.

To really enjoy the PokerStars universe, you must download the PokerStars software to be able to play. This may be a reason why there were problems with us accessing the website and as the user experience is much improved when you’re on the PokerStars program that you download.

Poker Offer

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02 Poker Offer

More than enough to keep you occupied

While PokerStars has recently branched out into casino and sports, their main focus inevitably remains poker. From novices to the big-time professionals who are signed to the PokerStars teams, there’s plenty for you to enjoy. PokerStars has an extensive education arm where they’ll break down the rules for all the variants. There are also some demo versions where you can practise your skills before you start wagering real money. The following variations are offered: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Courchevel, Courchevel Hi/Lo, Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, Five Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, HORSE, 8 Game Mix, and Triple Stud. PokerStars has its very own software meaning that it’s all in-house.

For PokerStars Texas Hold’em all four variations are available: Limit Texas Hold’em, No Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Texas Hold’em, and Mixed Texas Hold’em. There are also several options within the other variations available, so if you have a particular favourite it will probably be available at PokerStars.

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Mobile Poker

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Live-Poker

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Tournaments

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VIP Club

The last games that are on offer are combination games. One is HORSE, which is a combination of Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz (Seven card stud low), Stud (Seven card stud high), and Eight-or-better (seven card stud high-low). HORSE is very popular and is part of professional circuits. Then the 8-Game Mix gives users the chance to play 8 different games in one event: Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold’em, Limi Omaha Eight or Better (Hi/Lo), Razz, Limit Seven Card Stud, Limit Stud Eight or Better (Hi/Lo), No Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Omaha.

Besides all these games, there are two fast-action games: Zoom and Spin & Go. There is also a PokerStars VIP club that helps you earn StarsCoins that can be exchanged for numerous rewards. To complete steps and earn money, you just need to keep playing in real-money games. When you’re inside the PokerStars poker room you’ll have your progress easily accessible so you know what exactly you need to do and to move up the PokerStars VIP track. PokerStars also has a special page detailing how exactly you can earn the points across the PokerStars universe.

Bonus

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03 Bonus

Attractive new customer bonus

Once you download your PokerStars software onto your computer, there’s a bonus that’s ready for your use. When you register for a PokerStars account you have to enter a bonus code when you make a deposit. You need to enter the PokerStars bonus code STARS400 and then you’ll have up to £400 in bonus money available to use. The PokerStars bonus will be 100% of the amount you deposit the first time of up to £400. To clear the bonus, you need to accrue a certain number of PokerStars VIP Player Points (VPPs). These points get earned as you play and the bonus gets released to you in increments of £10.

What’s nice about the PokerStars welcome bonus is that instead of just making one deposit you can break it up into three smaller deposits. Once you make the first deposit, you’ve got a 60-day window to go through with the other two deposits. But remember that the only way you can access the bonus money is by entering the STARS400 bonus codeeach time you make a deposit.

100% Bonus
Up to £400 Deposit Bonus T&Cs Apply
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    £400

    Bonus Height
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    Variable

    Deposit Amount
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    Matched deposit

    Bonus Type
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    Yes

    Bonus Payable
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    STARS400

    Bonus Code
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    60 Days

    Deadline
Claim £400 PokerStars bonus!
T&Cs Apply

Level and Limits

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04 Level and Limits

Competitive Rake, and variable limits

Compared to its rivals, PokerStars definitely comes up top rated in terms of the rake that online poker sites charge when there are five or more players in a room. Depending on the games, when ranging from NL2 to NL1k, the rake charged ranges from 3.5% to 4.5%. The other brand that’s part of PokerStars’s holding company, Full Tilt, has rakes that are in some cases almost double. While the PokerStars rakebacks do depend on the different tiers, PokerStars has the best offers in most of the different tiers. Check out our poker comparison to find more information.

As for limits, you’ve got the tools to set your own limits in different games and your bankroll to ensure you don’t go in too over your head while playing poker. Certain rooms at PokerStars have different minimum buy-ins - for example, Fixed Limit Tables have a minimum buy-in of ten times the small bet - so be sure to check before you play.

Customer Service

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05 Customer Service

Not bad, but could be improved with live chat

While the PokerStars customer service department is theoretically available 24/7, they can only be contacted through the Contact Support Form they have made for you or via email by sending a message at [email protected] This is something that many other PokerStars reviews often complain about. It certainly seems strange that there’s no customer support telephone line nor a PokerStars live chat feature. For a site that has a lot of benefits for poker players, this got us thinking. While you do get the impression that there is someone to answer queries quickly, we believe that adding a PokerStars live chat feature would really improve the user experience. Many sites such as Coral do have live chat features available for their customers.

EMAIL

Payments

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06 Payments

Top variety for maximum flexibility

The PokerStars deposit and withdrawal methods are numerous. Not only can you deposit on desktop but also on mobile. The methods you can use for both deposits and withdrawals are Visa, EntroPay, Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill. In addition the following payment methods can be used for PokerStars deposits: MasterCard, debit cards, local bank transfers, Skrill Direct, PokerStarsTopUp, and Paysafecard. Then for withdrawals, you can use direct bank transfers and wire transfer cashouts. There are, in addition, certain payment methods that are fast deposits such as Visa, MasterCard, Entropay, Skrill, and Neteller.
We like the PokerStars top up cards - they are essentially gift vouchers for PokerStars that can be bought at several stores in the UK. If you don’t know what to get someone for their birthday then this is a pretty good option!

Security and Licensing

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07 Security and Licensing

Industry standard security procedures leave you in good hands

Across the software and the playtime security, there are several security measures implemented to ensure that you’re in good hands while playing. When you download the PokerStars software file, it’s signed with an RSA 2048 bit code-signing certificate that was issued to PokerStars’s parent company and can be verified with VeriSign. VeriSign is a very popular security tool across online gambling sites. When you’re playing inside the software, all servers are authenticated using in-house Certificate Authority (CA). They use a 2048-bit RSA key which is sufficient until 2030. The private security keys are upgraded every three months, and no information is transferred to other players never.

To prevent collusion and to ensure safe shuffling, PokerStars has its own random number generator (RNG) that has been independently verified by outside sources. You can be assured that not only is your information protected while on PokerStars but also all measures are taken to make sure you’re playing fairly. Do you think PokerStars is safe? Leave a PokerStars rating to share your experience.

Mobile Application

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08 Mobile Application

Several Great PokerStars Apps to choose from

PokerStars has several native apps for you to use on a number of operating systems. The first is the PokerStars mobile app that has a version for download on the iOS store compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. You have the option to either play with real money against those who are on your level or play in the practice rooms with fake money to harness your skills before you put some of your hard-earned quid on the line. From the PokerStars app, you’ll have access to quick seating (Sit & Go) and the “Play now” button that will let you enter a room with a single click. For the different formats, PokerStars recommend the iPhone for a more passionate experience, while the iPad favours those who like the big screen and longer battery life for the longer poker games and tournaments you may get involved in.

The same experience also goes for the PokerStars Android app where you’ll be able to access the best poker site in the world and the features from its unique software. Plus, PokerStars has expanded its mobile presence into more apps. For iOS and Android operating systems, there’s a PokerStars casino app where you can capitalise on their new offerings for roulette, blackjack, and live roulette.

If you're looking for something different...

There are three more PokerStars apps to round out your overall poker experience: PokerStars TV lets you follow the latest poker circuit events for free; for European Poker Tour fans, the separate EPT Guide app lets you have the most up-to-the-minute information of the tour events, the festival; finally, the PokerStars Clock app gives you all the tools you need to organise poker tournaments at home.

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Apple

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Android

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