Detailed Review of PokerStars
This PokerStars Review has been written from the perspective of a player who has been playing online poker for free on the play money website, and who now feels that they are ready to invest some of their own cash to play real money poker. Consequently we have declined to fill up space on this page telling you about the huge variety of games that are available on PokerStars, the high volume of traffic that the site gets or the valuable poker tournaments that are played each week.
Instead, we would like to tell you about what it is like to start playing real poker on PokerStars and opening your eyes to some of the most commonly made mistakes. We will also be showing you how to take advantage of the PokerStars VIP Program and how you can qualify for some of the biggest live poker tournaments to be played outside of the World Series of Poker. However, because the PokerStars first deposit bonus is quite complicated, you can find details of this on our dedicated PokerStars marketing code page.
Playing Real Money Poker on PokerStars
If you have been playing online poker for free and feel you are ready to make your first deposit, good luck to you. Playing real money poker on PokerStars (or any poker site that offers games for real money) should be an exciting venture but is a lot different from the play money tables you are used to, and there are five things you should know before you start playing real money poker on PokerStars (this is where we start sounding like your mother):-
Only deposit what you can comfortably afford to lose – PokerStars may be the best site in the world, but if you have blown the rent in a losing session, you cannot write to PokerStars and ask for a refund (well, you can write, but you probably will not appreciate the answer).
Know a little about “Bankroll Management” – Bankroll management is about taking the “right” amount of money to a real money poker table to ensure you reduce the swings of variance whenever you win or lose. If you are a good poker player, you will win over time anyway – so what´s the rush?
Make (appropriate) notes on your opponents – You may have spent many a pleasant evening chatting over a game of play money poker with Bob from Bristol who has a cat called Rusty, but did you actually note his betting actions and identify his online tells? Make sure you do this against your real money poker opponents because you can be sure as hell they are making notes about you!
Play tighter than you are used to – PokerStars do not display the percentage of players that see the flop in play money cash games, but you can bet it is more than the average of 20% you will see on real money poker tables. Tighter up your game because mistakes are punished heavily when you are playing real money poker on PokerStars.
Don´t go chasing the PokerStars bonus – One reason why you may be tempted to get involved in too many hands than is good for you is because you are keen to clear the PokerStars bonus. PokerStars allows 120 days for players to clear their bonus – which is plenty enough time if you follow the tips provided on our PokerStars marketing code page.
Taking Advantage of the PokerStars VIP Program
One of the great benefits of playing real money poker on PokerStars is their VIP Program. The PokerStars VIP Program is a seven-tier rewards scheme which allows you to exchange the VIP Points you collect by paying rake at cash game tables or by paying a tournament entry fee for gifts, cash and tournament entries. The PokerStars VIP Program is in addition to their Stellar Rewards program which awards cash rewards for hitting several VIP Points milestones (1,000 points, 2,000 points, 3,000 points etc.).
How the PokerStars VIP Program works is by converting the VIP Points you earn into Frequent Player Points (FPPs). These are converted at a rate of 1:1 when you first start playing real money poker on PokerStars, but as you achieve higher statuses by earning a specific number of VIP Points within a calendar month or year, multipliers are applied so that, at the highest VIP level, you could be receiving 5 FPPs for every 1 VIP Point.
To take advantage of the PokerStars VIP Program, it is in your best interests to reach the highest level possible within a month and, in order to do this, it is recommended that you set a schedule for yourself of mini-targets within the month. If you are a good tournament or Sit n Go player, you should also take a look at the FPP Satellites which offer seats into the major Sunday poker tournaments and which could prove to be exceptionally lucrative.
Qualifying for Live Poker Tournaments
PokerStars sends more players to live poker tournaments through its online satellites than all the other online poker sites combined; and whether you live in Auckland or Amsterdam, Bristol or Bruges, Cork or Copenhagen, there will be an online qualifier hosted on PokerStars for an event near you. PokerStars holds the record for the largest live poker event played outside the World Series of Poker (UKIPT Nottingham 2012) and ships out thousands of players each year to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where online poker players can rub shoulders with PokerStars-sponsored stars such as Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier and Jonathan Duhamel.
If you really put the hours in, and achieve the fifth level of PokerStars VIP Program, you do not even have to qualify for these fantastic live events as you can exchange the FPPs Points you have collected for live poker packages which include flights to your destination, accommodation when you get there and your entry into the target tournament. This is just one of the reasons why you should always save your FPP Points for as long as possible rather than treating yourself to a reversible hoodie to wear while you are playing real money poker on PokerStars.
PokerStars in a Nutshell
Having played on PokerStars and many other online poker sites, we can reliably inform you that PokerStars is best for:-
- The variety of games on the site
- The volume of traffic
- The value of its VIP Program
- The quality of its software
- The security of its banking
What PokerStars is not best for (especially if you have been playing online poker for free on the play money website) is easy tables. So take note of the five things (above) you should know before playing real money poker on PokerStars and enjoy a truly satisfying poker experience!
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