PokerStars US ReviewPokerStars is the world’s largest and probably best-known online poker operator. The operator dealt its first hands of real money online poker in 2001 and has built its stellar reputation and global presence in the decades since. It has led the global and US online poker markets since with its best-in-class online poker product, superb mobile app, and top-class technical support.

In this in-depth and unbiased PokerStars US Review, we’ll compare and contrast the operator’s three poker rooms — PokerStars MI, PokerStars NJ, PokerStars PA — and provide you with all the info you need to know before signing up with this operator.

What is the best PokerStars Welcome Bonus in the United States?

PokerStars offers generous welcome bonuses in New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. New players can either take advantage of a 100% deposit match bonus up to $600 or opt for $150 in free play tickets after playing one cash hand.

PokerStars USA: Key Facts
Main HighlightBest Online MTT Schedule
📍 States AvailableNew Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania
🤜🤛 Shared LiquidityOn Jan. 1, 2023 PokerStars MI & PokerStars NJ combined to form one multi-state online poker network
🤑 Freeplay Bonus$150 in bonus play after playing one cash hand
💰 Deposit Match Bonus100% up to $600 with code STARS600
🏆 PokerStars TournamentsChampionship of Online Poker (COOP), Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), Bounty Builders
🏦 BankingPayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Bank Transfers/ACH, Skrill, Paysafecard
🎁 RewardsPokerStars Rewards

PokerStars US Welcome Bonus

Welcome Bonuses
4.5
Generous

PokerStars offers an identical welcome bonus for new players across all its currently active sites (PA, MI, and NJ). The welcome package contains two distinct offers, one geared towards casual players looking to get some extra value on a small deposit and the other targeted at more serious grinders with bigger bankrolls.

Best Option for Casual Players: $150 in Bonus Play

Players looking to get a bit of a boost when signing up with PokerStars US but not wanting to risk too much money can go for the first welcome offer. It gives you a chance to claim $150 worth of bonus play (a combination of Spin & Go tickets and casino money), and all you have to do to qualify is opt-in and play a single cash game hand at any stakes.

The offer is available only to those new to PokerStars. After you create your account and log in, make sure to proceed to the Challenges section. From there, opt in for the offer, and you will be good to go.

It is important to note that this bonus does not require any real money deposits. However, you will need enough funds in your balance to buy into one of the cash game tables and play a single hand. The easiest way to do this is by making the minimum deposit.

Free Play Bonus Info
  • 2x$5 Spin & Go tickets and 50x$1 Spin & Go tickets immediately after qualifying
  • 50 bonus spins for casino slots on Day 1
  • 2x$5 & 1x$10 Spin & Go tickets on Day 2
  • $10 casino bonus on Day 3
  • 2x$10 Spin & Go tickets on Day 4
  • $30 casino bonus on Day 5

It is important to mention that the bonus offer is valid only for five days after creating your real money account, so you will need to make sure to opt-in and play the qualifying hand within that period if you want to take advantage of this opportunity.

Best for High Volume Players: 100% Match up to $600

Players looking to get a bigger boost on a larger deposit will probably want to go for a more traditional deposit match bonus. PokerStars US offers a 100% boost of up to $600 to all new depositors and to claim this offer, you will need to use the code STARS600 with your first deposit.

The good news is that the bonus is applied to the first three deposits, not just the initial one. So, if you make three deposits of $200 each, you will still get the full value of the bonus ($600). This is quite handy if you want to get into the action but do not have the full amount available. You can still get started with a smaller deposit and not lose out on any value.

Bonus funds are, as always, added to the restricted balance and gradually moved to your real money account. For every 140 redemption points earned playing on the relevant PokerStars US site, $10 will be moved from the bonus balance to your cash balance.

  • Make your first deposit using promo code STARS600
  • Make up to two additional deposits (up to $600 in total) within the first 60 days, also using the promo code STARS600

Added Value With First Depositors Freerolls

PokerStars US offers some extra value to all new players in the form of freeroll tickets. All depositing players receive entries to these restricted freerolls, regardless of the size of the deposit and what bonus option they go for.

While these freeroll tournaments do not have huge prize pools, they are a nice addition to the whole package, especially for lower-stakes players. With a bit of luck, you can easily add a few extra bucks to your bankroll while enjoying free poker action and brushing up your tournament skills.

PokerStars US Promotions

Promotions
3.8
Engaging

PokerStars US offers a variety of promotions. Depending on your preference, the operator provides different types of leaderboards, competitions, boosted prize events, and other added value happenings that you will want to participate in.

Freeroll Tournaments

As a tournament-focused site, PokerStars US features frequent freerolls open to players under different requirements. Getting involved with these can be quite valuable, as some of them have generous prize pools and award tickets to bigger events, including those available during major series hosted in all three markets.

Missions

Players can also get involved with Missions. These are interesting tasks that require you to play different formats of real money poker and achieve certain goals. These vary in difficulty, as some Missions are very easy to complete, while others can take a while.

Either way, getting involved with these is valuable, as you will pick up additional bonuses and special rewards along the way. It is up to you if you want to stick to the Missions related only to your preferred format or if you want to challenge yourself and take on some different ones as well.

PokerStars US Rewards

Rewards
3.2
Somewhat Lacking

Those putting in the most of their play at PokerStars US will get to enjoy the benefits of a rather unique rewards program. Named simply PokerStars Rewards, the program is not poker-specific as it also includes the casino play, but the operator does a decent job of personalizing the rewards you receive based on your preferences.

The Stars Rewards program may feel a bit complicated at first, so we are bringing you a breakdown of the most important points to keep track of:

  • You collect Rewards points with all real money play (MTTs, cash games, spin & goes, etc.)
  • As you collect points, you will fill up your Progress Bar
  • Once you fill up the bar, you will unlock the next reward
  • Your reward is contained in a Chest, and it can be StarsCoin (which you can use in the loyalty store) or Bonus Play you can use on the tables

Rewards Points & Chests

As mentioned, you will collect Rewards Points for all your play on PokerStars US products. When it comes to poker, you will be awarded 100 Points for every $1 in rake paid. For casino games, the exact amount of points will primarily depend on the game’s RTP.

You can obtain six different chest levels, and as you climb the ranks and clear new levels, you will gain access to better rewards. Chests are distinguished by colors, as follows:

  1. Blue: Rewards $0.50
  2. Bronze: Rewards $1.50
  3. Silver: Rewards $5
  4. Gold: Rewards $25
  5. Diamond: Rewards $100
  6. Black: Top level — Rewards $330

PokerStars US Tournaments

Tournaments
4.8
Excellent Options

On the international level, PokerStars has built its name and reputation as the go-to site for tournament players. The operator transferred this experience and know-how to the United States, building an excellent tournament offering across all markets.

MTTs

Whether you live in Pennsylvania, Michigan, or New Jersey, you will find numerous exciting series with big guarantees happening throughout the year, such as:

  • COOP events: NJ / MICOOP, PACOOP
  • SCOOP series: PASCOOP, MI / NJSCOOP
  • Winter Series

A rich daily and weekly MTT schedule is available on all platforms. PokerStars US features a variety of tournaments for all buy-in levels, so whether you are a serious professional or a recreational player with a small bankroll, there is more than enough to keep you busy.

With PokerStars MI and PokerStars NJ combining player pools, the operator is able to offer even bigger and more attractive single events and series, which will further help make PokerStars the number-one pick for all tournament players in the US.

Spin & Gos

Most online poker players are familiar with the jackpot sit & go’s concept. These have been gaining popularity over the years, and today, they represent the most popular sit & go format in existence.

At PokerStars US, this format is known as Spin & Go, and you will find these games offered on all three sites. A special Spin & Go lobby is available in the client, making it easy to register for the tournaments, and every game starts as soon as three players have registered.

The top prize is determined randomly at the start of each tournament. It can be as low as 2x the buy-in or as high as 1000x the buy-in, the latter being the main reason why so many players are attracted to this format.

There are Spin & Go’s for every pocket. Buy-ins start at $1 and go up to $25, so it is up to you to decide what games you are the most comfortable with. It is worth noting that, every now and again, there will be special Spin & Go events, where the maximum prize will exceed 1000x.

PokerStars US Spin & Go buy-ins & prizes

Buy-In Minimum Prize Jackpot
$1 $2 $1000
$5 $10 $5000
$25 $50 $25,000

PokerStars US Cash Game Action

Cash Games
4.4
Best Variety

While tournaments may be the bread and butter of PokerStars US, cash game players will also find plenty of action. Most importantly, the operator is one of the leaders in terms of traffic in all three markets, which means there is never a lack of players, and there are always seats open. This has been especially true since New Jersey and Michigan rooms have combined their player pools, creating an even healthier and richer ecosystem.

The range of stakes is very generous as well. You can start playing as low as $0.01/$0.02 and move all the way up to $10/$20. Even higher games are running occasionally, but these are the stakes that get the most traffic.

For those who do not like waiting around for the next hand, PokerStars US also offers its popular Zoom Poker, where you are dealt a new hand as soon as you click the fold button. Stakes go up to NL/PLO200, but the player numbers in these games have traditionally been lacking.

Another great thing about the PokerStars US platform that helps the operator stand out from the competition is the variety of games on offer. PokerStars covers all the popular (and not-so-popular) poker types, including:

  • No-Limit Holdem
  • Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Omaha 8
  • Seven Card Stud
  • 2-7 Triple Draw
  • Razz
  • 6+ Hold’em
  • Mixed Games

There is a good range of stakes for these other games, too, so if you are looking to master a new format without breaking the bank, this is the only platform in the US where you can do so.

Cash game games & stakes at PokerStars US

Game Type Min Stakes Max Stakes
No Limit Hold’em $0.01/$0.02 $25/$50
Pot Limit Omaha $0.01/$0.02 $25/$50
Mixed Games $0.25/$0.50 $100/$200

PokerStars USA Traffic History

Month PokerStars US PokerStars PA Total
Jun 23 240 190 430
Jul 23 235 195 430
Aug 23 185 180 365
Sep 23 215 170 385
Oct 23 195 170 365
Nov 23 170 175 345
Dec 23 195 185 380
Jan 24 265 185 450
Feb 24 240 190 430
Mar 24 250 170 420
Apr 24 235 155 390
May 24 200 160 360

How to Sign Up for PokerStars US

At the moment, PokerStars is available in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey. You can register for a PokerStars US account from anywhere in the country, but you will need to be physically present within a particular state to be able to play. The signup process itself is very easy:

  1. Visit the PokerStars US page
  2. The geolocation software should redirect you to the relevant site, but double-check you are on the site you wish to sign up for (NJ, MI, or PA)
  3. Click on the green ‘Join’ button in the top right corner
  4. Fill in the forms with your personal details & choose your username
  5. Confirm your email
  6. Log in and navigate to the Cashier to claim your bonus & start playing

PokerStars US Software

Software
5.0
Top Quality

If one thing has helped PokerStars establish its position as a leader in online poker worldwide, that would be their software. PokerStars has one of the best, most advanced software platforms, and they brought that platform to the United States.

The PokerStars platform stands out in every important aspect that matters to recreational players and pros alike. It is highly customizable, quite stable, and overall, quite player-friendly.

Functionality

The first and perhaps the most important aspect of an online poker platform is its functionality. This encompasses the overall usability, stability, and support for different operating systems and devices.

PokerStars US stands tall in all of these aspects. The operator’s software is stable and regularly updated, so you rarely experience technical issues during your sessions. Even when some issues happen, the support is usually quick to react and resolve them in players’ favor.

The software can be installed on a variety of devices powered by Windows and iOS, so you should have no problems there, either. The download and installation process is quick and simple, and you can choose a few options during that procedure, such as choosing from many different languages.

Reliability

Serious bugs are virtually nonexistent on the PokerStars US platform. While you may find videos online showing some strange glitches, these are freak occurrences rather than a rule. As far as reliability goes, PokerStars leads the way.

Any bugs that do appear are addressed quickly and efficiently. Players can easily report them to customer support via email and social media platforms. From here, technical teams will take on and do their job to patch things as quickly as possible.

It is also worth noting that the operator tries to maintain fair and player-friendly policies when technical difficulties are at play. Money is refunded quickly, and tournament prize pools are distributed fairly (or at least as much as possible).

Appearance

On the visual side of things, PokerStars US also has a lot to offer. The platform features many customization options, giving you a chance to make it your own with different table backgrounds, deck designs, and more.

For those requiring more, there are sound options and different animations that you can easily turn on and off. While these can make the software run slower if your computer is not powerful enough, they can add to the overall experience for recreational players.

PokerStars US App

Just like the desktop software, the PokerStars US mobile app is a state-of-the-art product. It offers one of the best experiences for those who want to play poker on the go, offering full access to everything you could possibly need.

You can use the app to deposit, withdraw, contact customer support, and join the full range of tournaments, cash games, and spin and goes. There are no limitations, and you can even easily play up to five tables at once. The app has a very good alert system to help ensure you never time out or miss your turn.

The app is available for Android and Windows phones as well as iPhones, and you can easily download it to get started whether you already have an account or need to register for one.

Banking at PokerStars

Banking
5.0
Many Options

Like all licensed sites in the US, PokerStars features a good selection of safe and reliable payment options. You can pick based on your preferences, and rest assured that whatever you choose, your money and your personal information will remain fully protected.

The operator takes things a step further, giving you access to a range of responsible gaming tools, allowing you to set deposit and loss limits, and giving you full control over your gaming habits.

As for the banking options available on the site, these are some of the most popular options you will find offered across all three sites.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
MasterCard
Visa
Paysafecard
PayPal
Skrill
Bank Transfers

PokerStars US Safety & Fairness

PokerStars US is currently fully licensed and regulated in three US states, with the goal to expand to other markets when the opportunities present themselves.

  • PokerStars NJ is regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE)
  • PokerStars PA is regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)
  • PokerStars MI is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB)

All state regulators require poker rooms to adhere to very strict rules and they closely monitor the operators’ activity. Furthermore, you can always lodge a complaint with a regulator if there is an issue that you cannot resolve on with the room, which adds an extra layer of safety.

PokerStars US utilizes one of the most advanced Random Number Generators out there as well, based on a completely new and unique technology, guaranteeing that every hand you play is completely random and impossible to predict.

PokerStars in the US

PokerStars US was initially refused entry to the regulated US market because it decided to continue catering to American players after the passage of the UIGEA. However, the company eventually made it into the regulated market in the States, where it has continued to grow and prosper, as one of the biggest brands in North America.

The first US PokerStars site to go live was PokerStars New Jersey, which launched in 2016. After that, the operator launched PokerStars Pennsylvania in 2019, followed by the launch of PokerStars Michigan in 2021. In each state, PokerStars came hot out of the gates, usually being the first site to launch and proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with, rising to the top of each market and holding tight to that number one spot.

PokerStars US operates three state-regulated rooms. These are:

All three rooms share many similarities, the most notable being the same software used across all regulated markets. Since Jan 1, 2023, PokerStars MI and PokerStars NJ are merged into one multi-state online poker network — the PokerStars US Network — which means that players in both states can play together, entering the same tournaments and playing against each other at the same cash game tables.

However, individual rooms still also offer different tournament schedules, cash game limits, and game formats, so there are some differences to be aware of. We are bringing you a quick overview of all PokerStars US sites with links to in-depth reviews if you want more information.

PokerStars USA FAQ

Is PokerStars legal in the US?

Yes, PokerStars is fully legal and regulated in the US, but only in a handful of states at this point. State regulators have issued relevant licenses for PokerStars, making it a completely safe, secure, and legal option for online poker in these states. Only players physically present in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania can play online poker on PokerStars US.

Is PokerStars safe?

Yes! PokerStars is generally considered to be one of the safest and most reputable online poker platforms in the US. PokerStars is the largest online poker site in the world and has a long history in the industry, dating back to 2001. It is licensed by several regulatory bodies, including the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), which ensure that it adheres to strict standards for security and fair play.

Is PokerStars rigged?

No! PokerStars is one of the world’s most reputable and trusted online poker brands. It goes to great lengths to ensure the fairness of its games, including regular audits and use of a Random Number Generator (RNG).

Is there a PokerStars App?

Yes, a PokerStars app is available for each of the states in which it operates. They are available for players to download and use on their Android or iOS devices. To download the appropriate app for your state and OS, follow this link.

Do any PokerStars sites share liquidity?

While not all PokerStars players can play together, there has been a lot of positive movement in this area. Since Jan 1, 2023, players on PokerStars MI and PokerStars NJ can play together. PokerStars PA is still not a part of this network, but this will likely change in the future, once Pennsylvania also joins the MSIGA.

Can I Play on PokerStars from anywhere in the US?

No, you must be physically located within one of the states where the room is licensed to play for real money. Players do not have to be residents of these states as PokerStars is open to all US residents, but when playing for real money, every player must be within the borders of the licensing state.

Can I play on PokerStars US from Europe?

Just like you cannot play from other US states, you cannot play on any of the PokerStars US sites from Europe. This is unlikely to change even if interstate compacts are allowed. It will probably take a while before US players can play against the rest of the world on PokerStars or any other US-licensed site.

For more about playing on PokerStars from outside the US, see our comprehensive guide to PokerStarsReal Money global online poker.

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