PokerStars Review

100% up to $600Receive 100% match bonus up to $600 over your first three deposits.Code: STARS600$30 free play bonusReceive tickets and cash worth $30 over the first six days after your first deposit.Code: THIRTY
Texas Hold'emOmahaStudDrawBadugiShort DeckMixed GamesTournamentsJackpot SnGs
Detailed ratings
Cash Games4.2★★★★★★★★★★
Other Games4.4★★★★★★★★★★
Rake and Fees4.3★★★★★★★★★★
VIP Program4.3★★★★★★★★★★
Player Pool4.7★★★★★★★★★★
3962 (Network: PokerStars)
MGA (MGA/B2C/213/2011)NJDGE
Good things
  • Huge tournaments on a daily basis
  • Multiple unusual game variants offered
  • Highly customizable poker software
Bad things
  • Many grinders even at lower limits
  • Several games have very high rake
Payment Options
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Available in
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Sorry, you cannot play legally at PokerStars in the United States.

About PokerStars

PokerStars is one of the biggest online poker providers currently on the market. Founded in 2001 PokerStars quickly took over the pole position and was the most innovative poker site for many years.

It’s the site with the largest player pool and the biggest regular tournaments and tournament series. The PokerStars software is still among the best currently available and it has been the role model for virtually all other poker providers.

On the flip side, PokerStars is a very shark-invested site with way too many professional players scattered across all limits. The PokerStars VIP club is after several changes over the years again one of the best with up to 65% cashback.

PokerStars Traffic

Peak cash game traffic over the past years.

The chart above shows the average number (over 60 days) of real money cash game players online during peak hours for the operator. This number does not include tournament players or players in other game variants.

» Largest Online Poker Sites

PokerStars Bonus und Bonus Codes

Given how lackluster the PokerStars VIP is, their sign-up bonus options are surprisingly good. The match bonus worth up to $600 (bonus code STARS600) can be claimed over up to three separate deposits and clears easily ($10 bonus cleared per $36 rake paid) giving players an effective rakeback of 28%.

Players which play only casually should pick the free play bonus (bonus code THIRTY) instead. With a deposit of at least $20, new players receive 25 Spin & Go tickets plus $10 cash over the course of 6 days. There are no strings attached and players keep all winnings from the bonus tickets. This is great value for low and micro-stakes players.

PokerStars Rake and Tournament Fees

PokerStars is one of the best poker rooms in terms of rake. The cash game rake is never more than 5% and the cap is $3 or lower for all but the highest limits. While most other operators cap the rake at $4 (or even €4) PokerStars has considerably lower caps, especially at the lower limits. Tournaments have a fee of roughly 10% of the buy-in – which is industry standard.

The only reason we’re not giving full five stars is that the rake for their Jackpot Sit & Gos (Spin & Go) and almost all turbo tournaments are too high, making those games virtually impossible to beat.

PokerStars Cash Game Rake


» Online Poker Rake Comparison (for our full poker operator rake comparison)

The table above shows the amount of rake an average player pays per 100 hands for various limits and variants. You can switch the number of players per table and the game variant.

  • Rake / 100 hands: Average amount you can expect to pay in rake every 100 hands.
  • Net Rake: This is how much money you actually spend on rake compared to the pots you are playing.
  • Formal Rake: Rake percentage and cap
  • Rank: This column shows how the operator compares to all other operators (lower is better).

History of PokerStars

Isai Scheinberg (2022)
Isai Scheinberg in 2022 (Picture via

PokerStars was founded in 2001 by Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark Scheinberg, in Costa Rica. The company quickly grew to become the largest online poker room in the world and moved its headquarters to the Isle of Man in Europe.

In 2005, PokerStars hosted the first-ever World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), which featured a $2.5 million prize pool and attracted players from around the world. The tournament has since become an annual event, with even larger prize pools and more players competing every year. Since the early years, PokerStars focussed on tournaments and attracted millions of players with their extensive tournament schedule.

In 2006, the US government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which made it illegal for financial institutions to process transactions related to online gambling. Despite this setback, PokerStars continued to grow and expand into new markets around the world.

In 2011, the US government shut down the three largest online poker rooms operating in the country, including Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. However, unlike Full Tilt Poker, which was unable to repay its players, PokerStars was able to return all funds to its players and reach a settlement with the US government. As part of this settlement, PokerStars acquired Full Tilt Poker and paid off several hundred million US dollars owed to the players of Full Tilt.

In 2014, PokerStars was acquired by Amaya Gaming, a Canadian gaming company. Under Amaya’s ownership, PokerStars continued to expand into new markets, including New Jersey in the United States.

Today, PokerStars remains one of the most popular and well-respected online poker rooms in the world, with a wide variety of games and tournaments to suit players of all skill levels.


Does PokerStars accept US players?

Currently, the only US state that PokerStars operates in is New Jersey. Players living in or visiting New Jersey can play at a special PokerStars NJ client for real money. For the time being PokerStars does not have licenses for other US states.

Can you play at PokerStars with a VPN?

It is not allowed to use a VPN to play at PokerStars and the operator strictly enforces that rule. A player who uses a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to circumvent country restrictions risks having all their funds forfeited and their account closed permanently.

PokerStars is operated by a company listed on the Nasdaq and is regulated in over a dozen jurisdictions all over the world. Players at PokerStars are in a safe legal environment and can trust the operator with their money.

Who owns PokerStars?

PokerStars is run by the Canadian company Stars Group Inc. The company was formerly known as Amaya or Rational Group. Stars Group has over 4,000 employees and also offers casino games and sports betting.

How to contact PokerStars?

The easiest way to contact PokerStars is via email by sending a message to with the email address that the account is registered with.

How long does a PokerStars withdrawal take?

The withdrawal time on PokerStars depends on the method used for Withdrawal. Skrill and Neteller are usually the fastest options, but processing can take between 2 and 4 business days on average.

Is PokerStars rigged?

No, PokerStars is not rigged. The poker provider is operating since 2001 and since then not a single case of rigged games, super users, or suspicious activity by the operator has happened. PokerStars makes billions each year by operating a legit poker site. The company (or any other big poker provider) doesn’t jeopardize this immense income by “rigging the games”.

How to cheat at PokerStars?

You cannot cheat at PokerStars. The servers are secure and it’s impossible to gather any game information that isn’t publicly available. The only way to cheat would be to hack the computer of your opponent via 3rd party software (for example to see their cards). This has happened before, but only after a virus was injected into the computer via USB flash drives, not through the internet.

How long does a tournament on PokerStars take?

Big tournaments on PokerStars can last the entire night or even more than one day. But quick turbo tournaments can be over in a matter of minutes. Check the tournament lobby to get an idea of the specific tournament structure. This will tell you roughly, how long it will last.

What are poker sites like PokerStars?

PokerStars is the biggest poker site online with the biggest tournaments. But several competitors are emerging, trying to overtake PokerStars: GGPoker (or other poker sites from the GGNetwork) and partypoker are PokerStars’ biggest competitors and also have a huge player pool.