200% up to $500 + 10 Bonus Spins
Since 2001, PokerStars has been one of the most recognisable names in online gambling. Over two thirds of the global online poker market makes PokerStars their default choice, with the company forming part of a much larger group of gambling brands. In November 2014, PokerStars launched PokerStars Casino, diversifying into online casino gaming to supplement their booming poker business. Owned by Rational Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., PokerStars Casino is part of the Stars Group, formerly Amaya Gaming Group Inc., which also includes BetStars and Full Tilt. See how their new casino shapes up in practice with our Pokerstars Casino Review
PokerStars is known worldwide as one of the leading names in online poker, so the brand casino already carries with it a degree of trustworthiness. As part of the Stars Group, PokerStars Casino is well insulated, part of one of the biggest corporate groups in the online gambling world. As an indicator of trust, this isn’t foolproof. But it’s certainly a good start when you’re looking for a secure, trustworthy casino to play online.
PokerStars Casino is licensed in the UK by the Gambling Commission, regarded as one of the most effective regulators of their kind, anywhere in the world. The wider Stars Group holds gambling licenses in a number of jurisdictions across their portfolio, which means the brands they operate are under strict obligation to ensure fairness and transparency in their gaming. PokerStars Casino is no exception, and with Gambling Commission oversight, that’s a firm tick in the peace-of-mind column for PokerStars.
The company also holds a Certificate of Integrity from Gaming Labs International, a respected independent third party auditor of random number generators. This confirms that PokerStars Casino games are truly random and fair according to their payout percentages, so you can be sure you’re getting an honest chance with every bet.
The PokerStars Casino platform is fully encrypted, utilising the latest SSL encryption technologies to protect your personal information. When it comes to transactions, the array of independent third party processors means there is plenty of choice, all utilizing secure technologies to keep your financial information isolated from external risks.
When you dig around online, you can usually find a number of negative reviews or complaints for any casino – so with a name the size of PokerStars, you’d expect their casino to have had more than their fair share. While there are some grumbles from players who have had a negative experience with support agents, or taken issue with some policy or procedure on the admin side, there’s a remarkable lack of any firm pattern of complaints. For an operator of this size and scale, that’s a serious achievement – but then, PokerStars didn’t become a world leading gaming brand for nothing.
Overall, PokerStars Casino is incredibly trustworthy, fair and secure. From their licensing and regulation through to encrypted payments, third-party verified RNGs and remarkably low levels of criticism from past players in online gambling forums, this is a casino that is checking all the boxes.
PokerStars Casino supports an extensive list of different payment methods, with prompt withdrawal times from just 24 hours, excluding the pending withdrawal period of 24hrs and 1st time deposits player verification. Its a PayPal casino, crucial for UK players, as well offering a number of other e-wallets and pre-paid cards. Online Bank Transfer is also offered – ideal for sending large amounts or just cutting out the middleman with your payments.
PokerStars Casino is generous in welcoming new players with their deposit bonus. This takes the structure of a deposit match bonus of 200% up to $500, alongside an impressive 500 free spins on Millionaires Island. Better still, any winnings from the bonus spins are paid out as unrestricted cash, which means you don’t have to bother with wagering requirements – a major advantage over other similar free spins casino bonuses.
The bonus is eligible on first deposits only, and you need to deposit a minimum of $50, as well as using the bonus code, to claim your deposit match bonus. The up to 500 spins are determined according to a spin on the bonus wheel, an innovative way of introducing some excitement into the bonus structure itself. Wherever the wheel lands will determine the number of free spins you’re awarded.
The free spins are for Millionaires Island, a progressive slot launched by PokerStars Casino in early 2017. This game is exclusive to PokerStars Casino, so you won’t find it anywhere else. And with a progressive jackpot that ranges well into the millions, this is a nice additional incentive attached to the sign-up bonus.
There are of course restrictions to the terms of the bonus, and as always, you should take a moment to read through the specific terms and conditions attached to the offer before claiming. The usual restrictions are here, including wagering requirements for the bonus amount, and contribution towards wagering from different games. But there is a key difference – instead of the straight numbers, PokerStars weighs this up in the form of Redemption Points, with 4 points per dollar of bonus required before you can withdraw.
While the bonus offer is generous enough, this is one of the major drawbacks of the PokerStars Casino offer. It’s incredibly complicated to work out how much you need to wager to earn enough redemption points, an essential prerequisite before you can withdraw. Different games award at different rates, and while you need a 4x multiple on your bonus money in terms of points, the points themselves have massively different values. For example, 1 redemption point in Atlantic City Blackjack is $145, while 1 point on Live Roulette is just $12. The figures are all set out clearly on the PokerStars Casino website bonus terms, and it doesn’t seem like they’re trying to hide this part of their bonus structure, but it is a limitation to the bonus they’re offering here.
It’s just far too complicated to calculate wagering requirements and contribution at PokerStars Casino on the fly. In a world where the competition clearly stipulates a wagering requirement figure, and contribution in percentages for at-a-glance comparisons, obscuring the numbers behind ‘points’ like this is less than ideal. Nonetheless, this is still a decent enough bonus, and if you’re looking to play at a highly respected online casino brand, a sweetener like this will be more than enough incentive.
PokerStars Casino offers a decent range of games from a selection of the world’s leading casino games developers. Expect the likes of NetEnt, Blueprint Gaming, Playtech and Microgaming, with plenty more besides. Games can be enjoyed in-browser through the instant play mode, or you can choose to download the PokerStars Casino platform if you prefer – a blast from the past. The user interface and layout make it easy to find your way between different game types and titles, and as you’d expect from a market-leading brand, there are plenty to choose from.
Slots are a big deal at this casino, and there are hundreds of different games available. The ‘Slots’ tab is the easiest way to access these games, where you can filter by distinguishing features, or just order alphabetically. There’s a selection of card and table games, covering all of the standards and some more but its not the biggest. Card game aficionados may be better off seeking a table game specialist like Codeta.
There’s also a small selection of video poker titles, which you can find under the Video Poker tab in the main game navigation menu. Finally, there’s the live dealer casino, where you can find a run of your favourite table games (8 in total) streaming live around the clock, delivered by the premier live casino provider Evolution gaming, with high quality streams for the most realistic casino gaming atmosphere.
PokerStars Casino has dedicated apps available for both iOS and Android users. They’re both free to download of course, and can be accessed from the App Store and the Play Store respectively. Visually, the apps are stunning, with the epic PokerStars branding introducing a classy feel to proceedings. There is a decent, if not more limited, selection of games available through the apps, and you can play through the same account as you use to login online. Again, most players will find the selection sufficient but hardcore on the go gamers may be better off at more mobile centric casinos like LeoVegas
It’s also possible to play in-browser on your smartphone or tablet device – simply head over to the PokerStars Casino site and enjoy as you normally would. The site is fully responsive for mobile users, so the casino is entirely accessible on any device.
PokerStars Casino runs regular promotions throughout the year across a range of games and events. For example, they usually have strong offers around Christmas and other seasonal holidays, offering additional bonuses, prize draws and other competitions. These promotions change all the time, and there are no fixed promotions as such – instead, it’s up to you to check the ‘Promotions’ tab for a rundown of the latest promotional offers, tournaments and prize draws being offered.
PokerStars also operates the Star Rewards scheme, a loyalty scheme which ties in with the welcome bonus and redemption points. While this isn’t the most generous loyalty scheme in the world, it’s still nice to know you’re racking up valuable points with every pound you wager.
Support is limited to email and tickets, no live chat and phone.