Card Games Home
Featured Card Games
More Online Card Games
PokerStars Card Games
Let me get this out of the way first – Yes, PokerStars.com is the poker site which produced three World Series of Poker Champions in a row, from 2003-2005: Chris Moneymaker in 2003, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer in 2004 and Joe Hachem in 2005. Another well-known and much-related fact about PokerStars is their huge membership – over 91,000 online on my last glance and still growing steadily according to the owners who claim about 600,000 tournaments per week online.
PokerStars has been able to do what other recent American fads could not do; custom motorcycle sales are down big time, and just ask a friend how their iPhone is doing . . . Still offering a 100% membership bonus (up to $50), Poker Stars is arguably the top poker site in the country.
Though Poker Stars was one of the original online poker sites, online since 2001, it once played the beat-down younger brother role to sites like PartyPoker.com. Poker Stars was one of the originators of online poker and has been around since 2001. For almost five years Party Poker beat Poker Stars in every category that counted: membership, number of games, etc.
It wasn't until 2006 that Stars put together a ton of new software, added tournaments, and focused on technology as well as their much-touted FPP system (where players can win seats at some big tournaments including WSOP events). In late 2006, Poker Stars first saw their strategy pay off with over 9 million registered users, right on the eve of Party Poker's announcement that they were shutting their doors to American players.
About that technology – Poker Stars is consistently described by its users with terms like "playable" and "reliable". Because Stars depends so heavily on tournament traffic for their reputation – the as-mentioned 600,000 weekly tournaments amounts to a tournament every second – their technology has to be fast and, well, reliable. Even with tournament sizes of up to 1,000 players there are little to no reported software problems.
I haven't personally tested their support staff (didn't need their help!) but they claim to be dedicated to answering all concerns inside of 24 hours. No concerns about security here – when you're a big fish you have to keep a tidy pond. In the graphics department, don't expect to be wowed – but the game has a few features that become apparent during play.
I appreciated the resize feature on game windows which allowed me not just to play multiple games but to watch them all live and at the same time. And if your avatar graphic is that big of a concern to you, you can design your own be it an elaborate "photo-shop" job or just a picture of your puppy. Members seem to love how Poker Stars displays other user's internet connectivity information, as yet another example of their clever technology – this way you don't get too involved in a slowed-down game.
Poker Stars offers much more gaming variety than you may be used to -- Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, 5 Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, and the hybrid HORSE. This list represents every major poker game played today, an incredible variety that rivals what is available to you in any casino poker room. As for the games themselves, your bankroll won't limit your experience because there are so many players online.
In other words, it is easy to find players on your level. Right now, for instance, there are almost 17,000 open tables, running from $.02 - $.04 up to $200 for no-limit. Other poker sites feature most of their action at the ultra-high and ultra-low ends, but at Poker Stars I find there are many open $25 - $50 tables, featuring a variety of games.
As for tournaments, Stars runs constant sit and go tournaments -- and not just for Hold'em. Although these games are offered at other sites, they flourish in an environment as packed with membership as Poker Stars. When these tournaments were introduced a couple of years ago, they were only offered at specific times -- the members loved the games so much that the sit and goes run all day everyday, with buy-ins from $4 + $.40 up to $60 + $5.
If online multi-table tournaments are your thing, Poker Stars has you covered. They offer a range of buy-ins from $0.10 up to $10,300 daily. And while special day-specific tournaments exist, by far the most popular guarantees are the $3 re-buy ($30,000 guaranteed), $5 re-buy ($35,000 guaranteed), and $10 re-buy ($55,000 guaranteed).Don't forget about Sundays – Poker Stars is well-known for giving away millions of dollars on Sunday, including one weekly tournament quite literally featuring a million-dollar guarantee.
Card Games Cafe is Copyright 2007 - 2008. All rights reserved, no unauthorized duplication.