PokerStars (pokerstars.uk) bookmaker review: rules, support, sign up, free bets, site
The name, PokerStars, has been arguably the world leader in online Poker gaming since they started in 2001, however, they only dipped their toes into online sports betting back in 2015. This review will concentrate mainly on PokerStars Sports.
PokerStars was founded by Isai and Mark Scheinberg in Costa Rica. PokerStars’ headquarters are now held in the Isle of Man.
PokerStars has been licensed by the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission since November 1, 2014, for both Casino and Real Event betting, before later expanding to virtual betting in 2015 and pool betting in 2017.
PokerStars are unique as they are the most known Poker website to transition over to also offering a full sports betting service, rather than being a company that offers sports first and Poker as a secondary offering.
They won the Innovation in Poker and Innovation in Casino awards at the 2020 EGR Marketing & Innovation Awards, however, they have not won any major awards for their sports betting service as yet.
There is an affiliate scheme for PokerStars, but this appears to be geared towards promoting Poker only rather than their sportsbook. You can up to 35% of the revenue generated. More information can be found at www.pokerstarspartners.com.
Unfortunately, PokerStars does not have an exhaustive list of prohibited countries. They do state though that UK players can play anywhere else in the world as long as gambling is allowed there, and their services are not for use where it is illegal to gamble. They are more specific when it comes to the United States, clearly stating that you will not be able to play any real money games unless you are located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado or Michigan.
The design of the PokerStars website is not very colourful, with the use of Black at the top of the page and the body of the site given various shades of grey and white.
The website itself is thankfully very easy to understand, they have a few sports such as, Football, Basketball, Tennis, Rugby Union, and Ice Hockey listed across the top of the page, and also an A-Z menu in the top right which gives you all of the sports PokerStars offers betting on. The A-Z reads well as they highlight a new letter in the list making it easier as the sport you may be looking for jumps out at you.
In the main body of the site, PokerStars has a list of popular links, leading the bettor to the main events at the time such as Euro 2020 and Tennis’ French Open.
Also, in the main body of the site, there is the popular match section which shows the next Football matches to be played, this can be changed to Tennis, Basketball, or Ice Hockey by clicking each of these. They also show their main Request-A-Bets, Odds Boosts and Popular Bets.
Overall, the PokerStars Sports website is very easy to navigate.
There is also a PokerStars Sports mobile app which very much follows the same format as the website. The app is available on both the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android users. PokerStars offers an app for Windows and Mac as well.
PokerStars offers a sportsbook as well as an online casino including slots and live casino and of course, Poker.
There are 22 different variations of Poker that you can play, the rules for each variation are fully explained on the Poker site and there is also the PokerStars School available so that you can learn how to play before staking your own money.
The Casino has over 200 slots games to choose from and you can also play over 50 live casino games including Monopoly Casino, PokerStars Roulette and Deal or No Deal.
PokerStars Sports offers betting on 25 different sports. Included within this are virtual sports and eSports as well as renowned sports such as Football, Basketball, Rugby Union, Rugby League and Boxing.
The most obscure sports on offer are Handball and Floorball.
Unfortunately, in the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament, PokerStars does not compare favourably to other major competitors. In the opening match between Turkey and Italy, they do not beat either Bet365 or William Hill on any selection in the win-draw-win market.
With a margin of 9.52% at the time of writing, PokerStars’ margin is double what William Hill’s is at 4.76%
Random Euro 2020 were selected and all produced margins of between 9-10% meaning there is not much value to be had if you are betting on most or all games with PokerStars Sports.
PokerStars offers live betting on Football, Tennis, Basketball and Volleyball, among others.
Live streaming is only available in the sportsbook for Horse races. PokerStars also streams live Poker tournaments.
The margin on live betting is between 9-14% depending on the sport, for example, Football was between 13-14% on the randomly selected live games, whereas Tennis matches came in at around 9%.
Freebies, Bonuses and Promotions
The welcome bonus on offer for PokerStars appears to be exclusive to Poker only rather than the sportsbook. If playing Poker interests you then new customers can deposit £10 with the code FORTY, and be credited with £40 extra free play in cash and Spin & Go Poker tickets.
Regular customers can benefit from PokerStars’ loyalty bonus, the Stars Rewards scheme. You can earn reward points every time a bet is settled, or you play other real money games, the scheme is valid across the whole of PokerStars. Once you have earned enough points to complete your progress bar you can win a chest that includes free bets and StarsCoin which can be used in the PokerStars Rewards Store.
PokerStars also has a couple of promotions on at the moment. They have the Sports Leaderboard where you can win points based on your net win every time you bet. The top prize is £2,500 cash, the total prize fund is £10,000 in cash and free bets.
For Horse Racing bettors, PokerStars also offers extra place enhancements on two races from the UK and Ireland daily.
If you need to get in touch with customer services, they are available on live chat only. There is a support link that was found by accident but when you send a message through this you get an auto-response to your email saying this service is no longer available and to use live chat.
The live chat is a bit hit and miss depending on how you log on. From the desktop site, you can press the “Need Help?” function in the bottom right corner. This is a bot and only seems to work if you select your question from their pre-determined list of questions. Although you can type a question, if the bot does not like the question, it redirects you to the list of options which is not particularly helpful. On the desktop, you do not have to be logged in or be a customer to use the live chat function.
The chat on the mobile app is more helpful as you can type your question and a real person will answer it. However, you must be logged into your PokerStars Sports account to do this, therefore you must be a customer. The live chat on the mobile app was answered within one minute.
As PokerStars is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, customers in the UK can bet with PokerStars. Registering for an account takes less than one minute.
PokerStars will attempt to validate your account information automatically, however, if this cannot be done you will need to provide further identification such as a Passport or Drivers Licence, and a utility bill or bank statement no older than three months, showing your full name and address.
PokerStars Sports accepts deposits made in British Pound, US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, and the Euro.
The minimum deposit and withdrawal amount stand at £8.
PokerStars Sports’ maximum payout varies from sport to sport. The most they will payout is £1 million and this is on specified Football leagues such as the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, and full Men’s International matches, among others.
The maximum payout on Golf is £500,000 and on Horse Racing it is £50,000 to give a few examples.
As always if you are looking for a high return for your bet it is worth checking the list of maximum payouts first.
The minimum bet you can place with PokerStars varies from sport to sport and can be anything between 1p and 10p. On the betting slip when you have made your selection it shows you the maximum that can be bet without the bet needing to be referred to a trader. You can find this by clicking “max” next to the stake box. Anything over this amount would be automatically referred to a trader for approval.
Reliability, Integrity and Safety
Though PokerStars is a renowned company and has collaborations with the likes of Neymar Jr, customer satisfaction on Trustpilot is very low at just 1.2 with 90% bad customer reviews. It is worth noting that most of the reviews are about the Poker and Casino sites as this is what they are most known for.
The website itself appears safe although there is not any mention of encryption standards. The website is temperamental when used on Microsoft Edge. PokerStars themselves recommend using Google Chrome or Safari.
After reviewing the sportsbook, it is clear that – unlike most online bookmakers who offer sports betting and casino – that Poker and Casino is the top priority, and that the Sportsbook is the lowest priority. This should be no surprise as the clue is literally in the name.
However, there are still ways that PokerStars could make their sportsbook more attractive such as lowering their margins. PokerStars have some of the highest margins which lead to less value long term for the customer. By lowering their margins, they may attract more customers to bet with the sportsbook rather than just the Poker or Casino.
The layout of the sportsbook could be made more visually attractive and offering live streaming on more sports rather than just Horse Racing may keep sports bettors interested.
Pokerstars.uk operates in English.
Products and apps
PokerStars offers sports betting, in-play betting, betting on virtual sports, slots, casino, live casino, poker and games services. The same options are available in mobile mode and mobile app. The app is available for Mac and Window, Android and iOS platforms. You can find it on the bookmaker’s website.
You can fund deposit sin PokerStars via VISA, Mastercard, Maestro cards, Skrill, Skrill Rapid Transfer, Neteller, PayPal, MuchBetter, WebMoney, Neosurf, paysafecard, boku, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The minimum deposit sum is £8 for cards, Skrill, Skrill Rapid Transfer, Neteller, PayPal, WebMoney, MuchBetter, Neosurf, GPay, Apple Pay and paysafecard. The maximum deposit limit is £800 per day, £1,600 per week, £3,200 per month for cards and Neteller; £800 per day, £2,400 per week, £4,800 per month for Skrill and Skrill Rapid Transfer. The processing is usually done instantly. The bookmaker charges no commission for deposits, though your payment method may charge a fee.
The withdrawal can be made via VISA, Mastercard, Maestro cards, Skrill, Skrill Rapid Transfer, Neteller, PayPal, MuchBetter, WebMoney, Direct Bank Transfer and Wire transfer. The minimum withdrawal sum is £8 for cards; £40 for Skrill, Skrill Rapid Transfer and Neteller; $10 for Direct Bank Transfer; £35,000 for Wire transfer. The withdrawal processing may take up to 10 business days for cards; up to 1 hour for Skrill, Skrill Rapid Transfer, Neteller, PayPal, MuchBetter and WebMoney; up to 24 hours for Direct bank transfer and wire transfer. The bookmaker charges no fees for withdrawal, though your payment method may hold a commission.
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PokerStars accept the British pound, US dollar and Euro.
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Pros and cons
You can register with PokerStars by clicking “join” and then filling out the information as required. PokerStars requires your email address, country of residence, a username and password for your account and confirmation that you are over 18. Once you have confirmed this, press “create account” and your account is ready.
You can play on PokerStars either through the desktop website or on your phone. The PokerStars Sports app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Customers can join the Stars Rewards scheme which is PokerStars loyalty bonus scheme. You can gain points every time you place a bet across the whole of PokerStars which can later be redeemed for StarsCoins and/or free bets.
PokerStars offers a cash-out option where you can have your bet settled in-running at a reduced price before the end of the sporting event. This option is only available in some sports markets. You will be able to see if cash out is available on any of your bets by selecting “placed bets” in your bet slip and then “cash-out”. If any bets are eligible for cash out, they will be displayed here with the amount of money you can cash out.