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PokerStars Casino Review

There are several very good reasons that PokerStars is the world’s largest online poker site. Their reputation is second to none. The company’s gaming platform is graphically rich, easy to navigate, and incredibly stable. Customer Service is excellent. Additionally, the company approaches the game from a player’s point of view. 

 

pokerstars

Therefore this player was very pleased to hear that the company was going to offer casino games as well. Here is how the PokerStars stacks up. 

 

Game Play and Navigation – One of the aspects of PokerStars that I always found appealing was the ease of the navigation and the intuitive nature of the software while at the table. The casino continues this tradition. The lobby allows the player to filter for the types of games and the stakes they prefer. Once at a table, the game play is intuitive and easy. 

 

I read that PokerStars designed the tables to make their existing poker clients comfortable. If that was the goal, then they succeeded. However, in doing so they made it just as inviting to and easy for new players. The games load quickly and the graphics are excellent. 

 

Bonuses – PokerStars has long had one of the more attractive player loyalty programs around. Casino players earn Frequent Player Points (FPP) for their casino play, which can be exchanged for merchandise and game play tickets. The only downside is that casino players do not qualify for VIP status, which still only applies to poker players. However the site does have promotions that give casino players a chance at winning trips to EPT tournaments. 

 

Games Offered – One of the items that is important to me is a wide selection of games. Part of this is because I enjoy playing different games. Additionally, I like to play games that are frequently offered in brick and mortar casinos. This allows me to learn the nuances and strategies of the game online before I go try it in a live setting. In terms of variety, PokerStars casino earns high marks. 

 

Blackjack is arguably the most popular casino game. More and more, casinos have been offering new variants of the game. PokerStars Casino offers the following variants:

Classic Blackjack

Atlantic City Blackjack

European Blackjack

Double Deck Atlantic City Blackjack

Double Deck Blackjack

Premium Atlantic City Blackjack

Premium Blackjack

Live Blackjack

High Hand Blackjack 

 

The games are played with “shoes” of between 4 and 8 decks (with the obvious exception of the double deck games). High Hand Blackjack offers a fun side pot wager between the players at the table. 


 

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games in existence. PokerStars Casino offers European Style Roulette, meaning the wheel has only a single “zero.” This means that the house edge is only 2.7% versus the 5.25% house edge on American Roulette wheels that have both a single zero and and a double zero. My only wish is that the site offered “la partage” (where a zero result returns half of even money wagers) which brings the house edge down to 1.35%. 

 

Casino Hold’em is a table game modeled after the traditional Texas Hold’em poker game. Instead of playing against other players, you are playing against the dealer. Unlike regular Hold’em, the game offers bonus payouts of up to 100-to-1 on wagers. 

 

Baccarat is one of the most elegant games in a casino and is a favorite of high rollers and “sophisticated” players, including James Bond. PokerStars Casino offers the game at stakes for any player and makes it easy for new players to learn the game and experienced players to enjoy the game at any time. 

 

Another plus is that the games are available on mobile devices and work equally well on Apple and Android devices. However, some of the newer games are not immediately available on mobile devices. 

 

Live Dealer Games 

One of the aspects of the PokerStars Casino that is particularly enjoyable is the live dealer games. These games offer an experience that is unequaled outside a brick and mortar casino.

They currently offer live dealer games for Blackjack, Roulette, Casino Hold’em, and Baccarat. 

The live dealer games offer an interactive video stream which allows player to chat with the dealer via their chat box along with a heads-up display which allows players to make game decisions when it is their turn to act. 

 

PokerStars teamed up with Evolution Gaming for their live dealer games. The casino set is well laid out, and the camera allows players to see not only their table but other tables and games going on in the casino. 

 

The cards used are “super jumbo” indexed cards which makes them easy to see on any screen. The tables use optical character recognition (OCR) or RFID readers to display the rank of the cards on the player’s heads up display. The dealer also calls out the value of the player’s hand when it is their turn to act. 

 


While the player only interacts with the dealer, there are a large number of people involved in making sure the games run smoothly. Just as in a brick and mortar casino you have a pit boss or floor supervisor. Additionally there is a broadcast director, an IT manager and server and software staff. 

 

Like many casino players I enjoy the social aspect of the games almost as much as playing the games themselves. The live dealer games allow me to interact with the dealers (who answer verbally, not in the text box) and the other players at the table via the chat box. I also hear the sounds of the casino. While I have no problem with the traditional online casino use of random number generators (RNGs) to determine the value of a card or the spot where the roulette pill comes to rest (after all, brick and mortar casinos have used them in their electronic games for decades), I enjoy having the dealer actually deal the cards, shuffle the deck, and spin the wheel. Considering the rapid technological advances that are taking place in the live dealer area, I hope that the next step will be voice recognition that will allow me to make my decisions and chat with the dealer and the other players without touching my mouse. 

 

The only downside of the live dealer games is the speed. The games are significantly slower than their online only counterparts where you can easily play up to 20 hands of Blackjack per minute (Roulette is not significantly slower than its regular online counterpart). However this is something that I happily exchange for the social aspect and realism of the experience.

 

 

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