Long established as arguably the biggest global name in online poker, PokerStars is now becoming a leader in the growing regulated poker scene here in the US.
The renowned brand has established online poker sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and will undoubtedly add to that as more states regulate the game.
Players in those three states can now take advantage of the wide PokerStars game offering, from high-guarantee tournaments to low-stakes cash games. From innovative offerings like Spin and Go’s and Zoom poker, to traditional No Limit Hold ‘Em or Omaha games that are the online version of your local home game or card room.
You get to play on poker’s world-class software, perfected over its two decades as a major player in online poker, including excellent native apps for both Apple and android users. And you’ll experience their strong support system and reliable banking options, including quick cashouts.
And as a new player to PokerStars, you have a choice of first-deposit bonuses. You can either receive $30 in free-play credits instantly or work to earn up to $600 in a deposit match.
Read on for more details on how to claim your bonus, and everything PokerStars has to offer.
PokerStars offers myriad bonus opportunities. Whether you are new to PokerStars or a seasoned player, there’s always something available. We’re going to look in more detail at what is available to you if you’re new to the site.
PokerStars offers two first-deposit bonuses. The first of these deposit bonus option is for $30 of free play. When you deposit $20 or more, you can receive an extra $20 in cash and $10 in spin-and-go tickets.
If you want to take advantage of the $30 in free play, use this link to join PokerStars and enter marketing code FREE30.
In addition to the $30 worth of free play, PokerStars will also award you with a depositor freeroll ticket. This ticket allows you to enter the monthly tournament, which runs on the last Sunday of every month. By itself, this tournament could be worth thousands.
Alternatively, you can choose to redeem a deposit match bonus that could be worth up to $600. PokerStars is offering the opportunity for a 100% match to its players.
If you want to claim the 100% match bonus, you must use the PokerStars bonus code STARS600 instead of the FREE30. However, unlike the other bonus, the money will not immediately hit your account.
To trigger cash releases, you will need to earn redemption points. You can earn points in increments of five points per $1 of rake or tournament fees. After you earn 140 redemption points, PokerStars will credit your account with $10 of your eligible bonus. The site will continue to dole out the bonus in $10 increments until it is fully awarded or the time limit expires. You will have four months from the date of your deposit to complete the release of the bonus amount. Afterward, the remaining balance will revert to PokerStars.
So, new players have an important decision about the way they want to begin their tenure on PokerStars. The best thing to do is to maintain a realistic sense of how much you’re going to play.
If it’s not going to be a lot, then the $30 promo is likely your best option. Otherwise, if you’re planning to grind quite a bit, it’s apparent that you should redeem as much of that 100% match as you can.
PokerStars will routinely offer many different types of PA, NJ and MI bonuses to players, regardless of when they signed up. These bonuses are unlikely to be as lucrative as the welcome bonuses, but they’re not a bad perk, particularly for players who are planning on playing anyway.
You will find reload bonuses from time to time. A reload bonus is a fancy name for a deposit bonus, but as the name implies, it is a bonus for those who have deposited before. Reload bonuses are likely to show up around holidays and other special events. The percentage that the site will match will vary but can be as high as 100%.
For some players, the reason that they demur from playing in a particular tournament is self-explanatory. They simply don’t have the buy-in to make it work.
From time to time, PokerStars will reach out to its players in that position. It may slash the buy-in for a tournament by a significant percentage. These tournaments can create some opportunities for lower-limit players. They may suddenly find themselves in the running for more money than they dreamed possible.
Tournament players can also take part in the monthly leaderboard promotion. The leaderboard awards top scorers thousands of dollars in tournament tickets that they can use for future entries.
Each month, PokerStars awards tournament leaderboard points to the top 15% of finishers in any regular multi-table tournament. The site compiles each player’s best 20 finishes for the month as its sample for awarding leaderboard placement. Obviously, more points are awarded for tournaments with a higher buy-in, have more entrants and feature a deeper run for the player.
The top 60 players will split up $7,500 in tournament money. Best of all, the players don’t need to do anything to participate. If they score well in a tournament, the PokerStars system will take care of the rest.
Stars Rewards is the loyalty program that PokerStars uses to reward its players. With Stars Rewards, any amount of real money play generates points toward one of six prize chests. Each chest bears prizes of different values for the player. These prizes can take the form of tournament tickets, special reward tokens called StarsCoin or even cash itself.
Here are the six chests, along with their possible values:
All players begin at the blue level for chests. After earning a chest for a particular level, you will move to the next level and start earning points toward it.
Players earn 45 points for every $1 in tournament fees and 100 points for every $1 in rake. Please note that this program is designed to appeal to lower-limit players and the prizes reflect as much. There aren’t any rewards for play at no-limit and pot-limit games higher than $5/$10 blinds. Limit players who go beyond the $20/$40 level are also ineligible to earn points.
So far PokerStars has launched in three states. As online poker expands across the country, we expect PokerStars to extend its reach as well. For now, PokerStars is available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
The NJ version of PokerStars launched in 2016, in partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel (which also boasts a PokerStars-sponsored live poker room).
In addition to No Limit Home Em and Pot Limit Omaha action, PokerStars NJ offers games like Triple Draw, Seven Card, and even Eight Game mix. Although the action may not be quite as easy to find for the more exotic games as it is for NLHE and PLO (it tends to heat up on the weekend).
PokerStars also offers New Jersey’s widest selection of multi-table tournaments, in addition to major tournament series such as the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, Winter and Summer series, and a Bounty Builder series.
Online poker in the state is regulated by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
PokerStars was the first online poker operator to arrive in Pennsylvania and remained the sole operator until 2021.
Accordingly, they have built up a sizeable customer base and have significantly more liquidity than in New Jersey. This means more tables to choose from, and bigger guarantees for the tournaments.
They have some large guarantee tournaments and series, including the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker and the very popular PennsylMania which had a prize pool of over $500k in its inaugural version on just a $200 buy-in.
Spin and Go’s are not available in Pennsylvania.
PokerStars is partnered in state with Mount Airy Casino, and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Like in Pennsylvania, PokerStars was the very first operator to launch regulated online poker in Michigan when it went live in 2021.
A full compliment of MTTs, cash games and SNGs (including Spin and Go’s) can be found here. And watch out for the Michigan Championship of Online Poker.
PokerStars Michigan is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and partnered with Odawa Casino Resort.
The first step is to visit PokerStars.
PokerStars offers a download for Mac and PC, and supports the most common mobile app formats. There are separate clients depending on what state you are in, but as long as you are visiting the site while located in-state PokerStars will direct you to the right one.
After installing the app, registering for an account is a straightforward process. A simple press or click on the “Join Now” button prompts the site to reveal a two-page registration form.
PokerStars will ultimately ask each player to provide various bits of personal and contact information in order to complete the registration. Please be ready to give details like your full name, email address, phone number, date of birth, physical address and Social Security number.
The site will require additional information once the time to deposit or withdraw money comes. Credit card numbers or bank information are standard questions during this process.
However, rest assured that any data shared with PokerStars will be safe and confidential. PokerStars is the leading poker site in the world and has years of experience in keeping player information out of the wrong hands.
PokerStars offers tremendous depth when it comes to game selection. There isn’t any other site that offers as many games and variants as the worldwide leader.
The most popular game in the world leads the pack at PokerStars. No matter the time of day, it is possible to find a Texas Hold’em game at almost every buy-in level.
For those new to poker, Texas Hold’em deals two cards facedown to each player at the table and five cards face-up across the table itself. The object of the game is to make the best five-card hand out of the two in the player’s hand and the five community cards.
Hold’em is available in both limit and no-limit formats. Limit hold’em dictates the betting increments in each round of betting, while no-limit prescribes no such restriction.
If hold’em is the most popular game in the world, Omaha is a close second. In fact, it is the game of choice in several places around the globe.
Omaha, like hold’em, features five community cards that are spread face-up across the board. However, each player receives four cards of their own in Omaha, rather than the two in hold’em.
The trick to Omaha is that players must use two — exactly two — of the cards in their hand in making their best five-card combination with the community cards. However, which two cards of the four are in use can change as the rounds of betting proceed.
Omaha has two predominant variants that are usually available. The most popular variant is Omaha High, which calls upon players to make their best five-card hand out of the four hole cards and five community cards.
One of the keys to success in Omaha High (or High Only) is placing a higher premium on drawing hands than in hold’em. In Hold’em, made hands are valuable no matter when they come. Omaha players tend to judge their hands as more valuable if they have room to develop.
Another popular version is Omaha High-Low, which is a split pot game that awards halves of the pot to the highest and lowest hands at showdown. Obviously, there is always a high hand in every game of High-Low.
However, since a low hand must consist of five cards below eight, a low hand is not always possible. It is also possible for the same player to have both the high and low sides of the hand and take the entire pot, an act known as “scooping.”
Needless to say, there is far more variance in Omaha than in Texas Hold’em. For that reason, Omaha games are usually either pot-limit or limit formats. However, PokerStars does offer no-limit options for those who prefer no restrictions.
A less common variant of Omaha sees each player dealt five cards instead of four. Five-Card Omaha, or Big O, requires players not only use precisely two cards from their hand but exactly three cards from the five community cards on the board.
Each card added to the mix in a poker game tends to add uncertainty to the outcome. So, players are going to be in for a wild ride with Big O.
Obviously, a Five-Card Omaha High game has a split-pot version to go with it.
Five-Card Omaha High-Low, or Big Mitt, presents an incredible challenge for both players and dealers to manage.
In either case for the five-card games, there are limit, no-limit and pot-limit opportunities. There will be quite a few swings with these games, so players should exercise caution and expect the unexpected here.
As if five-card Omaha did not present enough challenges, PokerStars goes a step further with a variant on five-card Omaha itself.
Courchevel proceeds in the same manner, but with a crucial difference: The first card from the flop (the first three community cards) is dealt face-up at the beginning of the hand.
More information for each player likely reduces some of the swings and variance associated with Big O. However, woe to the player who believes that this version of Omaha is a sure thing.
Naturally, since Courchevel is an Omaha game, there is a split pot version available, too. The nice thing about the high-low version of the game is that the revealed flop card can help players better determine if it’s worthwhile to chase the low side of the pot.
It’s somewhat shocking to see how once-mighty Seven-Card Stud has become such a poker afterthought. The seven-card game used to be the dominant form of poker played in the US.
Unfortunately, hold’em (limit first, then no-limit) came along and ruined everything. Nowadays, it’s quite challenging to find a stud game running anywhere.
PokerStars is still keeping a candle burning for the game, though. It is available as a limit game with a worldwide leader.
Seven-Card Stud also features a split pot variant. Similar to Omaha, Seven-Card Stud High-Low award divides each hand’s pot between the highest and lowest hands.
A player must show five different cards below eight in order to qualify. Because of the limitation below eight, this variant is sometimes called Eight or Better.
Needless to say, the ace-to-five straight is the nuts on the low side. Like its high-only brethren, this game is available for limit-play only.
Curiously, the Seven-Card Stud has a version that concerns itself with the low end of achievement, too. Razz demands that players put together the lowest five-card hand that they can.
Razz is still popular enough to warrant bracelet events in the World Series of Poker. So, it’s not as big of a surprise that PokerStars has chosen to host the game on-site.
Speaking of hands that prefer the lower end of things, 2-7 Lowball exists on PokerStars in both the single and triple draw varieties. Similar to Razz, these two games ask players to make the worst hand that they can.
Unlike Razz, Lowball has more specific rules about what constitutes a low hand. In these versions, straights and flushes both increase the value of the player’s hand, so they must be avoided to qualify.
Lowball also classifies aces as high cards only. Thus, the best possible hand in these variants is 2-3-4-5-7, with at least one off-suit card.
The only difference between the two variants is the number of times a player can discard and draw new cards. As their names imply, players can do so either once or three times.
Badugi is a serious game with a funny name. Like the last two types of games, it calls upon players to make their best low hand.
Players are dealt four cards in a standard hand of Badugi. They have three chances to discard and draw new cards during the hand, with rounds of betting in between each draw.
The best hand is the ace-2-3-4, obviously. However, suits matter in Badugi, so all four suits in hand must be different.
Last among the individual games is one of the most famous of all. Five-Card Draw has been a staple of the poker universe for more than a century.
Players are dealt five cards and attempt to make the best hand that they can. Two rounds of betting and one draw lead to showdown and a winner.
Five-Card Draw is steeped in story and legend.
Gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead over a hand of five-card. His had was a two-pair combination of aces and eights, which is now known as “dead man’s hand.”
For some players, a single type of game is boring. Hours of using the same rules to play come to feel like drudgery.
In that spirit, the mixed game came into being. In a mixed game, each time the button passes the dealer, a new type of poker becomes the current game.
There are a couple of mixed-game options on PokerStars:
HORSE spells out exactly what games it offers. The name of the game itself is an acronym for the five versions of poker that players can expect.
Namely, HORSE features rounds of Limit Hold’em, Limit Omaha (High), Limit Razz, Limit Seven-Card Stud, and Limit Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better. As one might imagine, play in this game requires expertise in all five various types of games.
Nevertheless, HORSE is a well-known mixed game throughout the poker community. Several major tournament series, including the WSOP, feature a HORSE event.
The other mixed game on PokerStars is the Eight-Game Mix. Unfortunately, it does not have an easily-made acronym to serve as its calling card.
Instead, the 8-Game Mix is, essentially, HORSE plus three. These games feature all the options from HORSE plus rounds of No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and 2-7 Triple Draw.
The Eight-Game Mix appeals to players of the highest caliber, as it is not possible to be a specialist in these games and survive. Only true masters of the game excel in Eight-Game Mix.
In addition to a broad library of different games, PokerStars has several game formats available for play onsite. These breadths of these formats should mean that every player can find a type of New Jersey online poker game that they enjoy.
The most common type of poker game is the cash game. Simply put, each player buys in for a certain amount of cash, and everyone tries to win it from each other. The antes organize these types of games that they charge. Higher antes or blinds require greater investments of cash from the players.
Needless to say, the number of games at each level gets smaller as the amount of money required increases. PokerStars players can always find games that only require a few bucks to play, but it can be more difficult to sniff out those that ask for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
However, cash games of every level exist on PokerStars.
The most popular game in the world remains No-Limit Hold’em, and low-blind versions of this game run 24 hours a day.
A popular subset of cash games is PokerStars’ Zoom.
These games are primarily identical to regular cash games but have one key difference, which is every time a player completes his or her action on time, the Zoom feature immediately routes them to a new table and hand. So, players no longer have to ponder the mysteries of life while waiting for the next hand. The next decision comes mere seconds after the previous one.
Of course, some players might prefer to see the end of every hand. There are valuable bits of information that can be gleaned from watching how other players play. But, if higher volume is the objective, Zoom is the right place to go.
Tournaments remain the best way to lever oneself into a bigger bracket of poker earnings. In a poker tournament, each player contributes the same amount to a pool. Everyone starts with the same amount of chips, and play continues until one player has all the chips.
The money from the pool gets divvied out to the players who finish highest. The lion’s share goes to the winner, of course, and then the rest pays out according to a prescribed schedule.
The appeal of turning small buy-ins into big wins is the main driver of tournament poker’s lasting popularity. A well-structured tournament can offer a lot of bang for the buck, at least in terms of the amount of sheer poker play one gets.
There are many different structures for tournaments, and players always have their preferences when it comes to which type they like.
Common tournament structures include:
Even for professional poker players, it takes luck to do well in any tournament. On any given day, a complete amateur can walk away with a fistful of cash. So, it’s no surprise that PokerStars offers a wide variety of tournaments.
Scheduled tournaments begin at a set time with whoever has paid their dues to play. Though most tourneys will allow players to register late for a time, these kinds of tournaments tend to favor the punctual. PokerStars maintains a slate of tournaments that it offers at the same time each day. Their dependability is an asset to players with highly scheduled lives.
Big-money tournaments will also be scheduled, too. These events offer so much cash and the promise of fortune that it’s vital to give as many players advance notice of them as possible. Exceptionally few scheduled tournaments will be single-table events. Most of them are designed to appeal to as many players as possible.
The most common big-money tournaments on PokerStars occur on Sundays. This group of five tournaments promises life-changing money to its winners. Every week, it’s a new beginning for someone. Here are the Sunday Majors:
The other significant type of tournament is the Sit and Go (SNG) tournament. As its name implies, this type of tourney begins when a certain number of players pay the buy-in.
These events have a far more rigid structure and mode of operation than scheduled tournaments. Because they require a prescribed number of players, their payouts are predetermined, too. With a certain number of players as the criterion to begin, SNGs can also dictate the number of tables they will offer. Single-table, SNGs are as common as multi-table ones, and each type bears its own set of strategy.
One popular subtype of Sit and Go on PokerStars Pennsylvania and New Jersey is the Spin and Go tournament.
These tournaments are hyper-turbo events between three people, where each player receives 500 tournament chips and blind levels are no more than a few minutes. However, in a Spin and Go, the prizes are randomly determined, and players can win 1,000 times their buy-in. So, the jackpot aspect of this type of tournament keeps it both relevant and popular on PokerStars.
PokerStars’ state player pools are separate from their global one. While the latter regularly sees more than 10,000 active players, the former typically has something in the hundreds. Still, you should be able to find plenty of action for the most popular game types at any time. Peak hours are between 7-9 p.m. EST.
You can deposit using one of the following methods:
Deposits can be as small as $10. Maximum deposit accounts vary from method to another and from one player’s account to another. You can view your current limits in the cashier window.
The following cashing out methods are available:
Note that if you choose e-checks, Skrill or Neteller to deposit during the past 12 months, PokerStars will only process withdrawals through these same channels, with e-checks taking priority over Skrill and Neteller.
Therefore, if you want to use any of the remaining three cash-out methods, you should not be making deposits using e-checks, Skrill or Neteller.
For example, you make a deposit using e-checks, then another deposit using Neteller. Less than 12 months after your e-check deposit, you decide to make a withdrawal via the casino cage option. However, this won’t be possible because only an e-check will be available.
You should avoid PokerStars Play+ card withdrawals unless you are planning to spend your cash at a store that accepts Discover card payments.
Players can contact support one of two ways:
Firstly, by using the FAQ on the website. While this section lists multiple questions and provides adequate answers, we found the FAQ navigation system to be extremely awkward.
Clicking on a question does not reveal an answer. Instead, it redirects you to the question’s category page, where you have to again locate and click on your issue. If you’re going to find your answers here, be prepared to do some clicking.
Secondly, players can contact support by email using the on-site contact form. While replies often arrive in less than an hour, we were not impressed by the quality of support.
Not only were some of the replies we received utterly unhelpful, but they were also poorly written, indicating that perhaps we were not chatting with native English speakers. The quality of support varies depending on the representative handling the issue. However, compared to pre-2011 PokerStars support, current customer service feels completely off.
On the other hand, account security is top-notch. Downloadable files are signed with a 2048-bit RSA certificate, which is issued by VeriSign. Connections to and from the poker room software are encrypted using the TLS protocol and a 2048-bit RSA key.
PokerStars’ server validates every keyboard and mouse input. The poker room’s random number generator (RNG) uses a combination of players’ mouse movements and outputs from a Swiss quantum entropy generator.
No cards are dealt until the software has enough data to generate a truly random outcome.
On April 15, 2011, PokerStars stopped serving US poker players after the country’s Department of Justice blocked access to the site.
After nearly five years of uncertainty and legal turmoil, PokerStars managed to re-enter the North American market by taking advantage of New Jersey’s online gaming regulations.
They followed that up in 2019 with their entry into Pennsylvania. And Michigan came online in 2021.
Yes, PokerStars is fully legal to play in the U.S. states where it operates so long as you are 21 years or older, and are physically present in the state when you access real-money online poker games.
No, unfortunately, PokerStars PA, NJ and MI are not connected to other PokerStars’ sites. They may in the future start sharing liquidity in each other, although sharing liquidity with the international site seems farther off.
PokerStars offers the usual cash games, Sit and Go tournaments, and multi-table tournaments that you can find at most online poker sites. It also offers a handful of innovative formats that you won’t find anywhere else, such as Spin and Go tournaments and Zoom games. (The PA version does not offer Spin and GO).
Yes, PokerStars is a state-regulated site and will not withhold winnings.
PokerStars has several options for withdrawing funds, including: