Poker Stars Review
Rakes and LimitsThereís nothing that we like to see more than an online poker room that is up front about their rake, so weíre giving the site full marks in this area in this Poker Stars review. Not only do they have a page that states their rakes, based on the limits at the table, but they also explain up front what a rake is. Not a bad idea, considering that compared to a n online casino the rake at an online poker room seems almost like an advertisement (they make their money by taking a percentage of money from each pot in real money games).
Pokerstars has a larger variety of low limit real money games, great for people who are just getting their feet wet as far as real money poker and arenít yet ready to swim with the sharks. Hereís a quick breakdown on the rakes.
ServiceAny time you are playing for real money, you want to be sure that you have access to help should anything go awry. In this Poker Stars review, we found that there is more than adequate help for anyone who needs assistance. As usual, we consider the service section of the site to begin right on the home page; intuitive published information is a must in order to get people to sign up. Poker Stars has information in abundance, but you do have to know exactly what you are looking for in order to find it (in other words, to find the rake limits above we had to follow a bit of a link trail). The informationís there, but it takes a bit longer to find it than on sites such as Full Tilt Poker.
When it comes to specific questions that canít be answered on site (thereís a good FAQ section), Poker Stars offers a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week email address. Response times are reasonably quick, although we did find that on the weekend, our queries were answered about a day later than during the week; whether thatís due to an increased amount of players or staff with days off, we couldnít say!
We would also like to give marks to Poker Stars for their consideration with their email procedure. Thereís a few anti spam measures and ways to ensure that an email will get through any filters you have; it takes a bit longer to get set up but it does make sure the reply gets back to you!
SoftwareMost online poker rooms have download only software, so that means quick games are out. We like to make sure that as wide a range of players as possible has access to the sites for a good marks, and for this Poker Stars review we were delighted to see that the rooms, real money and fun money, played with no problem using both platforms.
In fact, Poker Stars software is well above the competition in most areas; we would go so far as to say that this site has really set the industry standard. The graphics are crisp and entertaining, and the site is highly customizable. Poker Stars takes their software seriously, undergoing upgrades quite frequently, and with almost no downtime. That means clean play constantly, and you still get to log on whenever you want to play a hand!
Quality of Players at Real Money TablesThereís a huge range of players in the real money games, thanks in part to the varied limits. As you might expect, the lower limit games tend to attract a fair share of fish. There is a good mix between loose and aggressive players, basically playing as though it were fun money but sometimes, Lady Luck smiles on them.
The farther up the limit chart you go, the better the competition gets; if you are looking for serious poker then we recommend going into the $2/$4 games and above; by this point you have lost the run the table newbies who donít take the game seriously. Tournaments work pretty much the same way, according to some Internet poker connoisseurs that we talked to online; easy pickings at first, some lucky donkeys sneak by, but once you start getting up there itís rarified air.
In fact, we were amused to note in this Poker Stars review that the site itself warns people about the real money players to be found in the highest stake games; they are aggressive and they are skilled, so donít expect easy money or practice at the higher levels.
Deposit MethodsYou donít get big unless you offer a lot of ways to bring money in, and Poker Stars has just about every deposit method there is. Major credit cards from several different countries are accepted (there is a huge international appeal here, more than any site we have seen so far), as well as the usual suspects such as Neteller, PaySpark, bank transfer, and money wiring.
TrafficWe found during this Poker Stars review that traffic was highest during the weekends and evenings, which makes sense. Saturday in particular we found an incredible amount of people on the site, with hundreds of real money and fun money games in progress. Weekdays really leave nothing to be desired either; this site attracts so many players from so many countries, itís never any problem finding a good game.
BonusesFrom now until the end of 2007, if you make your first-ever real money deposit, PokerStars will give you a 100% bonus up to $50. Use the bonus code "First2007" to begin earning extra cash. To earn this bonus, you will simply need to play on PokerStars and collect the number of Base FPPs equal to 10 times the bonus amount. The site also does have a VIP program which is about average with other online poker rooms.
All in all, Poker Stars does really live up to its name and its potential. Itís a good site with some solid poker, a large number of deposit options, excellent software and enough gameplay for all. Definitely worth a play!
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