PokerStars Review : Top Online Poker Site
PokerStars.com is the world’s largest online poker site with over 45,000 real money ring game players and 150,000 real money tournament players during peak hours. Even with most of their traffic focused on Texas Hold’em, they’re still the only game in town when it comes to lowball poker games, split-pot games and mixed games. PokerStars is the only site with any traffic at the fast growing lowball game Badugi Poker, and the only site period offering NL Deuce to Seven Lowball Draw. Also in their offerings are popular lowball games Razz and Triple Draw, split-pot games Omaha Hi/Lo and 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo and mixed games such as H.O.R.S.E and an eight-game mixed format that incorporates lowball games not included in most sites rotations.
The player volume alone makes PokerStars.com a great choice as an online poker home, but the buck does not stop at player volume. PokerStars.com offers an impressive 100% up to $600 sign up bonus, and one of the best VIP loyalty programs in online poker, which gives players a chance to recuperate a large percentage of their paid rake. The PokerStars Rakeback does not come in the form of hard cash, but rather in cash bonuses, pokerstars bonuses, electronics, travel, tournament tickets, or just about anything else you can imagine. All these items are available in the PokerStars store which can be accessed right from the player client.
Note: While Pokerstars is a top site for lowball poker the competition in the Texas Holdem games can sometimes be pretty damn tough. If you’re looking for a site to play Holdem on that’s a little fishier then check out Everest Poker.
As part of the PokerStars VIP program, players can also participate in high value freerolls against other players of the same VIP level. Additionally, players can choose to cash in 3,000 of the Frequent Player Points (not too difficult to earn) to play in a $1,000,000 freeroll tournament which takes place on the last Sunday of each month. This tournament is called the $1 Million Dollar Turbo Takedown.
PokerStars began offering real money online poker games in December of 2001. At the time, they were a Costa Rican company. PokerStars benefited greatly when a 27 year old accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker was successful in running a $39 satellite tournament at their site into a 2003 WSOP Main Event Championship, worth $2.5 million dollars and the title as World Champion. Moneymaker’s victory is widely associated with having been one of the main catalysts for the online poker boom, which is often referred to as the “Moneymaker Effect”.
When Moneymaker won the WSOP, there were 839 entrants for the $10,000 buy-in world championship which was a record. In the year following his victory, this record was shattered with 2,576 entrants to the 2004 WSOP Main Event, most of which won their seat online at PokerStars.com hoping to be the next Chris Moneymaker. This event was in fact once again won by a PokerStars player, this time Greg Rayer who took home a $5 million dollar first place price.
In 2005, the WSOP Main Event entrant’s record was again shattered with 5,619 participants making their way to the $10,000 buy-in world championship, and once again it was a PokerStars player victorious, this time Joe Hachem who pocketed $7.5 million dollars and the title.
PokerStars seized the opportunity to cement themselves as the World’s largest online poker site for a long time to come. Not settling for only the exposure the World Series of Poker provided them, they began targeting the rest of the globe including forming a group of sponsored professional players what is now known as Team Pokerstars. PokerStars.com is now available in most major languages and is the headline sponsor and part owner of the European Poker Tour (EPT), Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), Italian Poker Tour (IPT) and Czech-Slovak Poker Tour (CSPT). They also own a live brick and mortar poker room in Macau branding the PokerStars name and are one of the few online poker rooms licensed to legally operate in Italy.