PokerStars - Top Poker Online Operator in Australia
PokerStars was founded in 2001 and it was the first poker website to host online MTT’s. Fast forward to today and it has quickly become the world’s largest poker site and leading poker client, offering the biggest guarantees, packed tournament schedules, and a vast array of cash game options to cater to its humongous player base.
Despite a temporary block in April 2011 on “Black Friday” and having to shut its doors to American-based players at that time, PokerStars has been able to continue leading the way in the online poker world in terms of player volume, guarantees, and branding.
The Poker Client
The PokerStars client has seen its share of makeovers over the years and currently displays a sharp, modern look to its users, with quick accessibility to various poker tables, the cashier, customisable options for players, and much more.
Because of its massive player base, you will often times find tournaments with huge guarantees (relative to the buy-in) smashed through the roof with many more runners than anticipated.
Due to the massive base of players, you’re almost guaranteed an extremely wide array of players with varying skill levels. New players are attracted to the site by its bonuses and leading branding, while the majority of the top pros make their grind on Stars because of the juicy prize pools that they feel they typically have an edge on.
Therefore, you’re going to find more regs and professionals on PokerStars, relative to other poker websites. But to help get the less-experienced players off on the right foot, PokerStars does offer a school (with content created by its sponsored pros) to bridge the learning curve.
- Tournament Schedule: One of the greatest things about PokerStars is that you can find exciting, big-field tournaments that cater to your player type around the clock, regardless of what continent you live on. In other words, there’s never a time of day when its game offerings slow down.
- Promotions: PokerStars offers frequent time-sensitive promotions that reward players mainly for playing real-money games. They usually offer “quests” which, once completed, can provide players with a chance to win big money in an exclusive (lottery) “flip” freeroll tournament.
- Multiple “First Deposit” Options: In addition to the industry standard 100% up to $600 first-deposit bonus, PokerStars also offers some alternative first-time deposit options that can further entice smaller-stakes players. For example, the “$20 free” and the “$25 welcome package” (with small tournament tickets and micro cash amounts) options. Regarding its bigger first-deposit bonus (initially stated above), you can spread the $600 over a 2-month span with 3 qualifying deposits! In other words, you don’t have to upload the money to the site, all in one go!
- Deposits / Cashouts: With a wide-range of options to choose from in each country, deposits can be made by using a multitude of options and cashouts are processed promptly with little delay to a wide array of options as well.
- Poker Games for All: While Hold’em and Omaha make up PokerStars’ primary poker offerings, you’re also going to be able to find many more poker variants and options.
- Freerolls: For the recreational player, PokerStars offers a decent number of daily freeroll tournaments.
- Huge Guarantees: Popularised by its “Big” and “Hot” line-up, PokerStars boasts incredibly high tournament guarantees, providing huge ROI potential for players of all stakes.
- Rewards Store: Rewarding its players for consistent play, PokerStars offers a diverse rewards store catering to players with frequent, consistent play. From clothing to electronics to tournament tickets, this store has it all!
- Short Late Registration: Despite its huge guarantees, you don’t have to wait hours and hours for late registration to close once you’re playing. Typically, one or two hours of late reg is all you get.
- Home Game Options: A cool feature to PokerStars is that it allows you to arrange your own “home games” for real money or play money! All you have to do is simply create a club and invite your friends or poker buddies to play with you.
- Poker School: Instead of having to register for a separate poker training site to learn the ins and outs of the game, PokerStars offers its own poker school.
- Specific “Responsible Gaming” Options: While all poker websites offer some form of self-exclusion, PokerStars takes it to the next level, by allowing you to control what stakes of games you play in for tournaments, cash games, and sit-n-go’s.
- Home to the Best Online Players: Because of the wide player base and big guaranteed prize pools, you’re going to find the best sharks in the world swimming throughout the various games at PokerStars. Therefore, taking down tournaments may prove to be a bit more challenging.
- Larger-Sized Tournaments Mean Higher Variance: You aren’t going to win as much when you have to get through hundreds or thousands of players in each tournament. Not only will you have to play well, but you’ll also have to run pretty good as well.
- Long Tournaments: Again, because of the large-field tournaments, if you’re looking to make it to the final table, it’s going to take many more hours than it would in smaller-field tournaments.
- Limited Re-deposit Bonuses: PokerStars mainly rewards its players for playing real-money games. Therefore, you won’t find as many re-deposit bonuses.
- The Daily Bigs: This is the set of daily tournaments with astronomically large guaranteed prize pools relative to their buy-ins (usually calling for anywhere from 400 to 1000+ players). To cater to all players, buy-ins range from $2.20 to $109.
- The Hot Turbos: These are similar to “The Daily Bigs,” but just in a turbo format. Buy-ins range from $0.55 to $109.
- Online Poker Series: PokerStars is home to the two biggest online poker series – WCOOP and SCOOP. It also boasts other smaller tournament series, such as TCOOP and Micro Millions.
- Live Events: PokerStars isn’t only involved in online play. They have many live tournaments going on around the world throughout the course of the years. Some of PokerStars’ notable live events are the EPT, PCA, and Asia Millions.
- Spin and Go’s: Combining a lottery prize pool with face-paced 3-way hyper turbo sit-n-go, these thrilling, high-variance tournaments can boost your bankroll quickly, if you hit the jackpot table.
- Zoom Poker: This is PokerStars’ version of speed games where, as soon as you fold, you’re “zoomed” to another table. This format is offered for both cash games and select tournaments.
- Time Tournaments: For players who don’t have enough time to play a full tournament, time tournaments are tournaments that end after a certain period (usually 15, 30, or 60 minutes). Once the times up, the prize pool is divided amongst remaining players relative to how many chips they have.
- Women-Only Tournaments: PokerStars helps cater to its minority demographic by offering select women-only tournaments each day.
The PokerStars team consists of both big-name poker pros and noteworthy celebrities. Some of the poker pros include:
- Daniel Negreanu
- Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier
- Vanessa Selbst
- Chris Moneymaker
- Jason Mercier
- Barry Greenstein
While noteworthy celebs (athletes) include:
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Neymar Jr
- Sunday Million: $215 buy-in / $1,000,000 GTD / 15-minute levels / 10,000 starting stack / Late registration for 3 hours / Weekly
- Sunday Storm: $11 buy-in / $300,000 GTD / 10-minute levels / 10,000 starting stack / Late registration for 2.5 hours / Weekly
- Sunday 6-Max: $162 buy-in / $100,000 GTD / 12-minute levels / 5,000 starting stack / Late registration for 2 hours / Weekly
- Sunday Warm-Up: $215 buy-in / $400,000 GTD / 12- to 15-minute levels / 10,000 starting stack / Late registration for 3 hours / Weekly
- Super Tuesday: $1050 buy-in / $425,000 GTD / 15-minute levels / 25,000 starting stack / Late registration for 3.5 hours / Weekly
The Final Word
PokerStars isn’t just a poker site – it’s a poker brand! From having its own TV shows (“The Big Game,” “Shark Cage,” etc.) to its widely popular live events (EPT, PCA) to a large online poker community, PokerStars is really a one-stop shop for everything poker!
While you will find the densest tournament schedule and widest array of cash game options for all levels of players, you must remember that competition on PokerStars is going to be fierce! But while it’s likely you’d be able to get more consistent finishes on other websites offering smaller fields with weaker players; there’s no feeling like beating thousands of other players to take down tournament glory on the most popular online poker site.