PokerStars appears all set to test out its online poker software in the state of Pennsylvania when the market opens on July 15. It received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in late November 2018 and is expected to be one of the first online poker rooms offered to players in Pennsylvania.

PokerStars is the world leader in online poker, offering the largest tournaments and widest variety of cash games. The company’s expertise in operating an online poker company will definitely be a benefit to players. In addition to operating in all major regulated markets around the world, PokerStars’ experience in neighboring New Jersey will likely translate into a smother customer experience for players in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania launch will be significant for PokerStars as it will be only the second US state in which it will offer online poker. More importantly, Pennsylvania is expected to eventually join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which currently includes New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. When it does, PokerStars will have its first opportunity to serve a player pool that spans multiple states.

The larger player pool will also benefit players in New Jersey by providing bigger tournaments with more guaranteed money and more cash games and Sit & Gos that run more often.

The US has the potential to be the biggest online poker market in the world and PokerStars is the market leader almost everywhere else, so as the world leader in online poker, they are expected to make a big splash like they did in NJ when they launched there.

PokerStars is expected to offer its poker room in conjunction with Mount Airy casino. The two gaming companies announced their partnership in August 2018.

PokerStars Pennsylvania Welcome Bonus

If PokerStars follows suit and offers players in Pennsylvania something similar to what it offers new players in New Jersey, it will be one of the more competitive offers for new players.

There will likely be plenty of free money distributed by PokerStars in celebration of its new online poker room. Expect that there will be a free money offer similar to the one offered in New Jersey where each new player receives $30 worth of free play to be used in the poker room with an accompanying minimal real money deposit.

The free play bonus will likely consist of both a cash bonus and Spin & Go tickets, plus the deposit will make players eligible for a depositor freeroll.

We also expect PokerStars to offer a First Deposit Bonus in which it will match 100% of the player’s initial deposit (probably in the range of $600 – $1000). Typically the bonus money is released in $10 increments as players earn the required amount of redemption points by playing real money games. And players don’t normally need to take advantage of the entire First Deposit Bonus with one big deposit.

Instead, we expect there to be a period of 60 days during which all deposits made during that period will count towards the 100% match.

PokerStars Software

As the most played online poker software in the world, PokerStars offers one of the best playing experiences available. It is sure to meet the expectations of even the most fussiest online poker players.

The company recently began rolling out a major upgrade to its already robust software. Codenamed Aurora, the new PokerStars gaming engine provides players with new lifelike animations, crisp graphics, sound effects and interactive elements.

Hand Histories

The PokerStars software allows players to automatically download their hand histories, and while the site maintains an extensive list of prohibited third-party software tools, it does allow players to use Heads Up Displays (HUDs).

However, the site does not allow players to use seating scripts (software that identifies and places the player in an open seat). The ban on seating scripts originally only included those tools that used opponents’ characteristics (such as stats on their playing style) to identify preferred seats, but as software developers adjusted their products to conform to the letter of the law, other problems arose, so PokerStars just banned them all.

PokerStars PA Poker Games

PokerStars has the most variety when it comes to poker cash games and tournaments. In fact, PokerStars is known for its innovative approach to game development.

While it is unclear which if any of the newly created poker variants will be available in Pennsylvania upon launch, PokerStars is sure to have all of the fan favorites such as No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Mixed games that include 7 Card Stud, Stud 8 or better and Razz will likely be on offer.

PokerStars is also know for its world-class poker tournaments; however, don’t expect the big headlining guaranteed prize pools that are available in the international market. Don’t forget, the Pennsylvania market will be ring-fenced (segregated) to start, and even with a population of 13 million, it still does not compare to the greater global online poker market.

PokerStars also offers Sit & Gos (SNG) including the popular lottery-style SNG game, Spin & Go. The site also offers a real money hybrid esports and poker game called Power Up, though it is unlikely that the game will be available at launch due to gaming restrictions on the types of games that can be offered.

PokerStars’ experience as the top regulated online poker provider in the world should provide it with an advantage over its competitors, and it should also serve its customers well as it can be beneficial in helping get new games approved with the PGCB.

PokerStars PA Promotions

Players will likely see a wide variety of deposit bonuses and other promotions to celebrate the launch of its second online poker room in the US.

PokerStars also has one of the best rewards programs in the industry. Stars Rewards (the latest iteration of its VIP Program) provides players with individualized rewards that are tailored to the way that they play.

The delivery of Stars Rewards happens through a variety of Chests that when opened reveal prizes. Because the rewards are customized to each individual player, it is impossible to compare the value of the program as a whole to the rewards offered by other online poker rooms.

PokerStars is also know for running online poker tournament series. In addition to a series to mark the opening of the poker room, expect regularly scheduled series to run on a quarterly and annual basis.

PokerStars PA Rewards

Of all the major operators that operate in the US, PokerStars is the only network that offers a personalized, cross-vertical rewards program paying out randomized prizes to its players.

Called Stars Rewards, PokerStars’ personalized loyalty program considers a variety of factors including stakes played, the frequency of play, and the amount players deposits (net deposits) rather than purely focusing on volume as other operators do.

The program centers around Chests, which contains a wide range of mystery prizes including StarsCoins (rewards currency), tournament tickets, free sports bets, seats to live tournaments, and even a chance to win cash prizes up to $1000.

These Chests are unlocked by completing enough points. The more a player plays, the bigger the Chests. And the higher the level of Chests, the bigger the rewards.

What separates Stars Rewards from other VIP programs is that rewards are customized to each individual player and moreover, Chest requirements vary from player to player so an exact estimation of rakeback percentages is difficult to compute.

Also, players not only earn rewards points on poker but also on PokerStars’ other gaming verticals, including PokerStars Casino and its sportsbook, BetStars/FoxBet.

Recently, PokerStars revamped its Stars Rewards program across all its markets including the New Jersey market. Under this revamped Stars Rewards program, the value of each of the Chest tiers has been increased by more than three times, but the requirements to move to a higher Chest have also been increased. Payouts are now less top-heavy.

According to the room, the revamped Stars Rewards program has been designed with the aim to simplify the rewards program and improve the experience of opening Chests to make it more meaningful.