If I had to choose only one site in which to invest my poker bankroll, while many would be considered, PokerStars would be my option; there are many reasons why.
PokerStars offer a huge selection of cash games in various betting formats and a massive choice of tournaments catering to all players no matter what variation, structure or buy-in level they enjoy. Pkv Games are played for the fun and enjoyment of the players. The selection of the right table should be there to enjoy the games. The focus is on improving the winning chances at the poker table for the benefit.
The site is managed in a professional way with general enquiries to their support responded to quickly.
Many sites offer a similar game variety, however PokerStars have the player numbers to ensure you meet a wide variety of real money players on full cash tables and in well attended tournaments.
As with many online poker sites, a major share of the ring games, sit and go tournaments and scheduled tournaments are dedicated to Texas Hold’em; although having so many players registered with PokerStars, those that enjoy other poker formats are also well looked after.
During the last six months an average of nearly 30,000 real money ring game players were connected testing their mettle every hour on PokerStars, with peak times having 45,000 giving it their all. The trend of growth continues.
Games played use a variety of standard fixed limit, pot limit and no limit betting structures, with the addition of some mixed limit games (rounds of Limit Hold’em and No Limit Hold’em).
Game formats include – Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, Five Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, HORSE, Razz (7 Card Stud Low), 8-Game Mix and Badugi.
From the lobby
The lobby tabs make selection between ring games, scheduled tournaments and sit and go tournaments simple. Each of the ring game and tournament selections can be sorted by sub tabs to general stake limits, and further reduced by another line of tabs to other requirements; finding your favourite game/stake is quickened if making use of the well thought-out filter facility.
Sit and Go tournaments
Sit and go players will find numerous games beginning every few minutes in the buy-in range under $5. Many of these are no limit Hold’em games for fields of between 12 and 180 players; the 18 and 45 seat Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo games do not take too long to fill up either.
Marginally less action is seen in the $5-$19 range but again it does not take long after enrolling in a game before it begins.
During off peak hours, the $20-$100 and $100+ buy-in sng’s are less well attended although they still enjoy plenty of action. Single table sng’s have their own lobby tab and are always quick to begin in all buy-in levels.
The scheduled tournaments are well attended in all buy-in ranges. As a typical example; in the buy-in range under $5 it is common to see around 2,000 players entering a regular $2.20 freezeout tournament with a $2,000 guaranteed prize pool. And their $40,000 guaranteed $3.30+Re-buy often has a field in excess of 4,000 players.
$1.10 HORSE games will see 300+ starters while less common games like 7-2 triple draw often have 100+ entrants.
In the $5-$19 range, an $11 buy-in for a NLH tournament regularly has 1,000+ starting the $8,000 freezeout and 2,000+ beginning the $80,000 re-buy. Close to 100 players will often begin the $11 games playing other formats including mixed limit Hold’em and Razz etc, while the Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo events attract between 250 to 500 players.
Moving up to the $20-$99 buy-in range, 1,500 players will frequent the $22 buy-in, $32,000 guaranteed NLH games and 200+ often start the $22 deep stack tournaments. 5 Card Draw and Omaha tournaments will often see 50-100+ taking part.
In the high buy-in range of over $100, 500 players will pay a $109 entry fee for the $50,000 NLH freezeout and over 200 will test their skills in the $70,000 guaranteed NLH re-buy. In this range there is no shortage of players in the other less common formats.
Aside from PokerStars nightly $100,000 tournaments; at weekends, players are treated to $500,000, $750,000 and the well known PokerStars Sunday million tournament. When you get a good run in a big one, you’re probably going to be phoning in ‘sick’ the next day. Satellites are available for all these events.
With so much variety at PokerStars it is hard to find a time when there is not a regular game about to begin in a buy-in range to suit your bankroll. If an instant start is wanted then NLH sng’s are always happening. Some will prefer playing poker at a small site where opponents quickly become familiar, but will not find equivalent action. PokerStars players who often reach the latter stages of tournaments in a consistent game type and stake, will begin to recognise others strong player soon enough.
If the starting player numbers in many of the regular games seems too large, it is often worth bearing in mind that many of the no limit fields will reduce to 50% by the first break, with the top group of players fighting around the bubble in the third hour.
On occasions it may still take 5-6 hours for you to record a MTT first place finish but when you do it is well worth it. PokerStars build in a full 5 minute break at the end of every hour that begins when the last table has completed its hand, giving remaining players ample time to rest.
As standard across the industry, the lower table stake games are the best attended but there is always action at the higher end too. Atypical ring games such as Badugi, HORSE, draw and Stud that struggle for players on other sites have a comfortable amount of action, while the Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo tables are filled with players at most levels.
At the table
The default table layout is clean and easy to use; if like me you prefer a very simple screen that is quick to follow, (handy when multi-tabling) clicking on the chip rack at the top of the table opens an options window. From there players can customise their view using standard models or upload their own background image. Requests can be made for more chips, instant and emailed hand history, as well as call for a site moderator if needed.
Large clear action buttons allow players to place bets at pre-set amounts, they may also use the slider to increase bets, or may enter any bet amount in a text window (provided limits allow)
Common check boxes allow players to sit out, fold to any bet and auto-post their blinds. In-play check boxes give players the opportunity to pre-set a betting action if they make an early decision.
An information area gives player stats and concise tournament information, plus has a dedicated tab for player notes.
Bonuses 100% First time depositor’s bonus of up to $600. Make your first-ever real money deposit using the bonus code ‘STARS600’, and PokerStars will give you a 100% bonus up to $600. You can make up to three qualifying deposits in 90 days (up to a total of $600) – the perfect way to take full advantage of the 100% bonus. Once you’ve made your deposit(s), you earn the bonus by playing on PokerStars and collecting the required number of VPPs. The bonus is released in $10 increments, each released into your account as you clear the needed VPPs (170 VPPs for every $10 increment). You have six months after your first deposit to earn all the VPPs needed to release your bonus.