Pokerstars Review

A Nitty-Gritty Review of PokerStars from JustGamblers. Learn How to Sign Up, Deposit Money, and Start Playing

Is PokerStars Trustworthy? Read Our Honest PokerStars Review

Operator data

Company nameThe Stars Group
Address200 Bay St., South Tower, Suite 3205, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5J 2J3
LicensesNew Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
Founded year2001
VAT numberN/A
Registration numberNJIGP 18-008
Payment (Deposit)Instant eChecks, Skrill, Paypal, Visa/Mastercard, NETELLER, Stars Transfer, PayNearMe, Resorts Cage, PokerStars Play+ Card
Payment (Withdrawal)Instant eChecks, Skrill, Paypal, NETELLER, Resorts Cage, PokerStars Play+Card
Deposit bonus$30 on the first deposit of at least $20, also matching up to $600 total for the first three deposits.
Minimum deposit$10
Minimum withdrawalDependent on Payment Processor
Payout speed3-10 business days for Instant eChecks, Immediately for NETELLER, Skrill, and Paypal
CurrenciesUSD
SoftwareProprietary
ProductsPoker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, HORSE, and other variations
Amount of games17 kinds of poker, along with tournaments
DevicesPC, Macintosh, Android, iPhone
Languages supportedEnglish, German, Spanish, French, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
Restricted countriesSingapore, Hong Kong, South Africa,
Associated brandsBetStars, PokerStars Casino, PokerStars Live, Full Tilt
AwardsEGR Best Poker Operator, 2014-16; EGR Brand of the Year, 2015-16; Mobile Poker Operator of the Year, 2014
Affiliate programAllowed for those with Stars Accounts to promote both PokerStars and Full Tilt brands.

 

https://www.starsaffiliateclub.com/

Customer SupportChat, Online contact form, Phone
Phone number1-800-Gambler
Email addressOnline contact form
Availability24 hours day, seven days a week

Is PokerStars Trustworthy?

The answer to this question is complicated in part due to PokerStars’ history. PokerStars was one of the first online casinos, which accounts for its substantial presence in the market still today. However, after Congress passed the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, PokerStars failed to withdraw from the US market. After five years, the Department of Justice seized their websites in 2011, prompting a settlement the following year. After a significant fine, PokerStars was allowed to market again to US players, but only in the state of New Jersey, settling the question, “Is PokerStars legal?”

Some players have noted that PokerStars is flexible with their terms and will alter agreements after they’ve already gone into effect. These alterations can also impact the terms of service. While many players are not affected by these changes, those who participated in the referral program were harmed by these changes and made their displeasure known. PokerStars keeps player funds segregated in a leading European bank for safety, and their software is reliable. If you’re looking for a safe place to play, aren’t interested in affiliate programs, and are willing to overlook prior illegal behavior from a decade ago, PokerStars is trustworthy.

What Certifications have PokerStars Acquired in New Jersey?

PokerStars NJ has a certification from Gaming Labs International for the random number generation used in their games. Other branches of PokerStars for international users also have additional certifications, such as GamCare, the largest certifier in the United Kingdom.

Under What License Does PokerStars Operate in New Jersey?

Like other US-friendly casinos, PokerStars is licensed to operate exclusively in New Jersey. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has licensed PokerStars under NJIGP 18-008. IP-checking technology is used to ensure that players from other states cannot play any of the games, though they can sign up and access their accounts.

When Was PokerStars Established?

PokerStars was first established in 2001 in Costa Rica. They quickly gained in popularity and notoriety through hosting online poker tournaments. Their rise was directly associated with the increase in online poker during the mid-2000s.

What Opinion Do Online Gamblers Have of PokerStars?

As mentioned above, there are some mixed feelings regarding PokerStars. Those who have been burned by changes to the terms of service or affiliate programs are likely to have a bad taste in their mouth regarding PokerStars. Nevertheless, other players choose to continue to log in and play, resulting in PokerStars’ impressive market share for online poker. Currently, they hold more than two-thirds of the market.

In large part, due to the legal complications of the early 2010s, the website for PokerStars within the United States ranks much lower than you’d expect considering the large number of players. The separate URL accounts for the low rank of 198,865 within the United States (as opposed to a competitor like 888 Casino, ranked at 37,829). Another factor is that PokerStars’ site is limited to online poker variations, meaning that players who want sports betting or table games will choose other websites. PokerStars does offer these games through a sister site, www.pokerstarscasinonj.com

Is PokerStars a Listed Company?

The PokerStars brand is owned by The Stars Group, with headquarters located in Ontario. The Stars Group is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol TSG.

What Other Brands Are Owned by PokerStars’ Parent Company?

The Stars Group has expanded into several other brands over the years. The subsidiary brands focus on the “Stars” identity” and include BetStars, PokerStars Casino (for online casino games such as blackjack and roulette), and PokerStars Live. They also own Full Tilt, a non-Stars branded casino and poker website.

What Does PokerStars Do to Promote Responsible Gambling?

PokerStars explicitly supports responsible gambling in the USA. They make it easy to find support for responsible gaming by placing a tab directly on their main navigation bar. They give players the option to limit deposits and restrict themselves from gaming for set periods.

The Sign Up Process at PokerStars

PokerStars offers an extremely streamlined signup process. They’re most interested in letting new players join in promptly, so they make signup and login immediately accessible on their main landing page. Users are also greeted by a large button advertising their initial deposit bonus and an invitation to download the safe online casino software.

The Information You’ll Need to Get Started at PokerStars

First and foremost, they will require you to create a username and password, then associate this with an email address. From there, you need only confirm that you reside within the United States, then indicate that you are at least 21 years old and have read the terms.

The Type of Documents Needed to Withdraw Your Funds at PokerStars

Due to PokerStars’ distinct withdrawal method, they keep the required documentation to a minimum. You have already verified the withdrawal methods by using them for earlier deposits, so no additional documentation is required. If you choose to withdraw using the Resorts cages, you will need to have a valid form of government ID (driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID.

The Extremely Simple Flow of Registration at PokerStars

This registration flow is among the most simple of any online casino. After clicking the “Join” button, a popup appears with boxes for confirming that you live in the US, creating a username, and creating a password (with the password requirements displayed openly). The next page confirms age and awareness of the terms of service, as well as an option to sign up for their newsletter. After submitting the form, your registration is complete, and you’re invited to make your first deposit. Then, to play at Pokerstars, download the software they provide.

How Long Will It Take Before I See My Earnings?

Most withdrawals will be available immediately in your accounts, though it may take some time for your bank to confirm your funds’ arrival. In instances where you’re making a large withdrawal, there may be a 72-hour processing period before the funds become available.

How Do I Submit Documents for Verification When Requested?

Most of the time, you won’t need to submit documents for verification. However, in the case where the information you provided or a deposit attempt you made was flagged, you can send required documents to [email protected] or use the “Verification Document Request” under the “Security” tab.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Deposit?

Most deposit methods are immediate, but there is a “Fast Deposit” option available for Instant eChecks, Skrill, Visa/Mastercard, and NETELLER. This option speeds up the confirmation process on both ends. Deposits from other sources should also be made available immediately, but there may be delays in processing or debits showing up on your payment account.

Exploring PokerStars’ Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

PokerStars follows standard procedures when it comes to deposits: you can use one of several methods to deposit at least $10, and the funds will be available immediately. However, they use a distinct methods for withdrawal that is dependent on the kind and time of deposits that you have made.

How to Deposit Cash into Your PokerStars Account

As with most online casinos, PokerStars makes it easy to deposit money. While there may be a delay before the debit shows up on your account statement, you will immediately have access to funds on PokerStars after you initiate the deposit.

Payment MethodMinimum DepositMaximum DepositProcessing Time
Visa / Mastercard$10No limitInstant
Instant eChecks$10No limitInstant
Skrill$10No limitInstant
NETELLER$10No limitInstant
PayNearMe$10No limitInstant
Stars Transfer$10No limitInstant
Resort Cage$10No limitInstant
PokerStars Play+ Card$10No limitInstant

How to Withdraw Your Earnings

PokerStars requires that withdrawals be conducted first in the form of a “reimbursement” for your deposits, starting with your oldest deposit. That is, if you deposited $100 using an Instant eCheck, then $50 on Skrill, and lastly $50 on NETELLER, then your withdrawals would be in that same order and amount. These withdrawals will be processed immediately.

The above method applies for all deposit methods, except for Visa/Mastercard, PayNearMe and Stars Transfer. Any amount over your cumulative deposits can be withdrawn using any method, but those withdrawals take up to 72 hours to process. The minimum and maximum withdrawal are limited only by the payment processors.

Withdrawal MethodMinimum WithdrawalMaximum WIthdrawalProcessing Time
Instant eChecks$10No limitInstant (72 hours for amounts greater than your total deposit amounts using this method)
Skrill$10No limitInstant (72 hours for amounts greater than your total deposit amounts using this method)
NETELLER$10No limitInstant (72 hours for amounts greater than your total deposit amounts using this method)
Resort Cage$10No limit2 hours
PokerStars Play+ Card$10No limit72 hours

Do I Need to Provide a Source of Wealth for Deposits?

Due to each of their deposit methods having a form of verification built in, there is no standard requirement for a source of wealth. As with any major online casino, however, significant or irregular deposits may trigger a potential fraud warning and call for greater scrutiny. In that case, customer service will alert you to the type of supporting documents required.

The Various Bonuses and Campaigns Available at PokerStars

PokerStars maintains a relatively slim selection of ongoing campaigns but makes up for that through a dedicated rewards program and various rotating bonuses or promotions. Players can take advantage of the initial deposit bonuses to see an immediate return on their first investment. If you continue to play regularly, you’ll see consistent rewards through the StarsCoin incentive program.

The most important bonus

Players will find several bonuses available at PokerStars. The initially advertised bonus is a $30 bonus for deposits of $20 or more using the PokerStars bonus code ‘FREE30’. They also provide a bonus matching 100% of your deposits up to $600 over the first three deposits with promo code ‘STARS600’.

They also run a variety of bonuses, including instant games, gameplay incentives, and associated promotions. The latter include cross-promotions with PokerStars online Casino.

PokerStars’ Bonus Campaigns

PokerStars offers varying campaigns and incentives, often targetting the casual player to get them more involved in the available games. One of the current promotions is CardMatch, which provides an instant prize during regular gameplay at an online poker table. Players can also participate in the monthly Multi-Table Leaderboard, on which the top 60 players will win a share of monthly prizes.

PokerStars also has a rewards program based on the amount that you’re wagering. The more you play, the more rewards points you’ll earn. You can redeem these points for StarsCoin and free plays.

Frequently Asked Questions about PokerStars Bonus Campaigns

Q: Do I need to spend real money to get a chance to win rewards?

A: Yes, for release bonuses. PokerStars differentiates release bonuses from other kinds of bonuses and provides that information on your account page under the ‘Bonuses’ section. This information is only available on the desktop version of the site, however, so if you are on mobile, you will need to submit an enquiry through customer support if you don’t have access to a computer.

Q: How does StarsCoin work?

A: StarsCoin, PokerStars’ rewards program, works by accumulating points through regular play. At certain times, the points you earn unlock chests that contain StarsCoin in varying amounts. These coins can be redeemed at the Rewards Store for cash, rewards, or entering select live events.

Q: Do I have to pay taxes or fees on winnings?

A: Yes. Money won at digital poker tables is treated as income, including money derived from bonuses.

Q: Can I use a transfer to earn a deposit bonus?

A: No. Bonuses can only be earned by depositing cash, rather than moving a credit to your PokerStars account.

The Games Selection at PokerStars

PokerStars is a dedicated provider for digital poker. While there are other options for playing casino games, PokerStars focuses on providing the ideal experience for US players who want to experience both low-stakes and high-stakes poker.Players interested in table games or sports betting can explore their sister site, www.pokerstarscasinonj.com for more information about those. PokerStars offers several classic variations on poker games and online casino games to keep players interested and excited.

What Styles of Poker Games are Available at PokerStars?

The biggest casino games played at PokerStars for real money include Texas Hold‘em and Omaha. Both of these provide players with the opportunity to play at tables with limit, pot limit, and no limit action. Even non-players would recognize the exciting playstyle of Texas Hold‘em, though many poker players also enjoy Omaha’s increased mechanical complexity. PokerStars hosts these variations:

  • Texas Hold’em
  • Omaha (Both regular and 5-card in standard and Hi/Lo versions)
  • Courcheval (Standard and Hi/Lo)
  • Stud (Standard and Hi/Lo)
  • Razz
  • Five Card Draw
  • 2-7 Single Draw and Triple Draw
  • HORSE
  • 8-Game Mix
  • Badugi
  • Showtime Hold’em
  • Fusion

What Software Does PokerStars Use for their Games?

PokerStars uses proprietary software to run their games. This software has been developed and honed for more than 15 years, resulting in a streamlined experience that is likely the best in the business. This software is a strong suit, though the fact that it doesn’t come from a third party means you are relying on PokerStars’ integrity and the certifications they acquire.

How Easy Is It to Use PokerStars’ Website?

PokerStars US updated their website following the issues in the early 2010s, and it currently has a modern design similar to those you may find at other online casinos. The directions are straightforward, the menus are clear, and you can easily find the games you’d like to play with minimal navigation or confusion.

With what devices can you play with?

PokerStars in the USA is available for play on most devices that you’d use. Desktop computers, including Apple and PC, can run the software natively. Mobile devices can use an app to access many of the games. Those using Chromebooks would use the Android versions of the available apps.

How is the Interface at PokerStars?

The design at PokerStars adheres to modern website sensibilities. It maintains a fairly slick appearance with stark color differentiation to keep the interface clean. The main navigation bar remains at the top of the page, while subpages and other navigation sections appear beneath it. This is the only area of confusion, especially when exploring the FAQ section, as it may be difficult to relocate the homepage of the FAQ as you’re browsing through the site.

Customer support at PokerStars

Customer support for PokerStars is relatively thin. They provide an FAQ that contains a lot of information but isn’t the easiest to sort through. The search function generates many results, but not always relevant to the information you’re seeking. Further, some of the pages fail to load properly. If you need to contact customer support directly regarding an issue, the only option available on the website is submitting a ticket that generates a response via email.

What Kind of Response Can I Expect from PokerStars Customer Service?

Ultimately, PokerStars customer service is a weak spot for the brand. If you can successfully navigate the FAQ section, you can swiftly find responses to most questions that you’d have. Email responses take significantly longer and depending on the nature of your enquiry, you may have to wait quite a few hours before getting a response.

What Makes PokerStars Unique?

PokerStars has the distinction of being one of the first online betting sites during the early days of the internet. Their focus and experience give them an interesting position online, but they are no longer on the cutting edge of online betting experiences.

What Makes PokerStars Unique?

At this point, the most compelling quality about PokerStars that sets them apart is the size of the player base. Unfortunately, for US players, the legal restrictions limit that domestic player base, meaning that while PokerStars holds a significant market share for online poker, the actual play experience doesn’t necessarily match. This is not to say that you’ll sit idling at a table waiting for players, but that there is a restriction on the people you can play within the United States.

Nevertheless, PokerStars focuses on offering online poker games and online casino games. They do this well, so players who enjoy the experience of playing a couple of hands of Omaha will have a good time.

Why Should the US Player Choose PokerStars?

The two biggest reasons to choose PokerStars are the quality of poker games and the consistency with which you’ll run into players online. If you’re not interested in sports betting or table games, or simply want a top-quality game of online poker, then PokerStars is a sound choice.

PokerStars Review Summary

There are several good things to say about PokerStars, but also several areas of concern. Below we lay out the summary of our review, giving credit where its due and pointing out the areas that PokerStars still needs to improve. Many players will continue to enjoy PokerStars for years to come, and those seeking a reliable online poker experience would do well to consider if PokerStars has the features they seek.

The Best Aspects of PokerStars

As a focused provider, you’d expect PokerStars to have several good qualities. In this instance, reality meets those expectations, so you’ll find the following positive aspects of PokerStars:

  • Extensive Selection of Poker Games

PokerStars hosts the go-to choices for both professional and casual poker players.

  • Easy-to-use Interface for Games
    When a site aims to deliver a play experience for one type of game, it’s paramount that they make it easy for players to do so, and this is one area where PokerStars succeeds.
  • Intuitive Rewards System
    You’ll earn StarsCoin simply through regular play, so you needn’t think about how to maximize this part of the rewards system - it will happen on its own.
  • Streamlined Signup Process
    The signup process is impressively swift and easy to use. This is one of the perks of PokerStars for New Jersey players.
  • Rotating Bonuses and Campaigns
    You can find new bonuses every month, and the play options maintain enough variety to keep players interested.

What to Be Aware of at PokerStars

Despite the positive parts of PokerStars, there are still several significant negative qualities to consider:

  • Poor Customer Service
    A comprehensive FAQ seems like a good idea on paper, but it ultimately needs to be extremely intuitive and sufficient to achieve the goal of replacing dedicated customer service. PokerStars isn’t there yet, so additional customer service support would be helpful.
  • Damaged Online Reputation
    It’s been over five years since PokerStars resolved their legal issues with the DOJ, but it takes a long time to show a track record of compliance. PokerStars is on the way there, but situations such as abruptly changing their referral program payouts or terms of play will continue to keep players unsettled.
  • Withdrawal Limitations
    While the withdrawal system generally speeds up the withdrawal process compared to other online casinos, the restrictions on how those funds can be withdrawn aren’t the most flexible. There are also potential complications that may arise if you attempt to withdraw after having closed an older account from which you’d deposited funds.

PokerStars - the Final Verdict

We have rated PokerStars 3 out of 5. We didn’t hold it against PokerStars that they are a poker site rather than a full casino online. However, trustworthiness is a significant factor when it comes to online gaming. We don’t expect PokerStars to get into legal trouble again, having learned from their prior mistakes, but what concerns us presently is PokerStars’ willingness to adjust payout terms to those who helped them find new players. This is still a point of contention for online gamblers, so we have to issue a strict note of caution for those interested in playing with PokerStars.

About the Expert

Isabella Johnson Isabella leads our investigations into Casino safety and gambling research. Her work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times.

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