After playing for the past month or so on the PokerStars app, we’re ready to bring you our review of this popular app.
The mobile poker scene is rapidly expanding with increasing numbers of poker rooms seeking to expand their appeal by offering mobile poker services via app or website.
PokerStars is a long-established name in the online poker industry and is the world’s most popular poker site in terms of player numbers. You would therefore expect their app to be one of the very best available.
Read on to find out if it is.
The PokerStars app is available for the iPhone and iPad and is iOS 7 compliant.
There is also official support for a range of Android devices, however the app may well work on a number of Android powered tablets and mobile phones that are not officially supported.
As you would expect given that PokerStars is such a huge site with a large following, access to the app is very easy.
A search of the App Store or Google Apps or similar will return plenty of hits for the app allowing for easy download. Mobile users can also access the app by visiting the PokerStars website on their browser and downloading the app from there.
Downloading and installation is very quick and easy and the registration process is quick (see below) allowing you to access your current account with PokerStars, or create a new one if you are a new customer, quickly and easily.
One touch will start the program running, though for security reasons, you do need to enter your password each time you log into the software and your account.
The only downside with access, compatibility and installation is that currently there is no option to play the game on non IOS or Android devices (such as BlackBerry or Windows phones).
Registering with the site is very quick and easy and all the important information you need to enter is access from a single page that overlays the home page.
While the registration process is quick and easy, it is a little more time consuming to enter your details to get your first payment sorted and a credit card on your account.
As a UK-based customer, many of the fields you are required to fill in use American terms, which can be a little confusing.
In addition, the format of some field items, such as phone numbers, are also international, not UK-based.
Moreover, these forms can be quite difficult to accurately tap on because they are so small. This was a problem on the review machine (an iPad) and when I tested the system on an iPhone it was slightly more troublesome in that it is easy to click on the wrong field, but the more nimble fingered players amongst you won’t have any problems.
Once you have completed the registration and entering data process, the actual depositing of the cash is very quick, secure and easy to do and the system will remember your card details so you can easily make deposits in future without having to re-enter all your data once again.
Before signing up and playing the mobile version, be sure to snatch up a $20 free PokerStars bankroll!
To put it simply, of all the mobile poker apps we have reviewed, none come anywhere close to offering the sheer breadth of variety of poker games as the PokerStars app.
When you log in you are immediately presented with an option of whether you want to play for Real Money or Play Money. Regardless of which of these you choose, you have a vast number of different poker games and tournaments to select from.
There are basically four different types of poker games available on the PokerStars App, Sit & Go games, Tournaments, Ring Games (which is another name for Cash Tables) and Zoom Poker, which is a version of speed poker.
You can easily select which of the four types of games you wish to play by clicking through the options on the top left hand side of the app. Once you have selected the type of game you want to play, you can then review the options available to you.
You can either peruse the game list in the large box on the right, or use the filters on the left hand column to set the currency, game type, limit, stakes and number of players available to filter out the games you don’t want to play, leaving you with the ones which match your preferences.
Unlike on other sites where it is often just as quick to browse through the list, on PokerStars, the filters are much needed, simply because each type of poker has so many different games available at any one time.
This is one of the biggest positives of the site, every option has so many different poker games available that finding a game you want to play in isn’t the issue, it is simply deciding which of the many that fit your criteria you want to join.
On other sites we have found at times that we may only have one or two tables to pick from to join. On PokerStars, you can have tens, if not hundreds of tables to select from.
All types of games are available, including Zoom poker, which is ideal for players who don’t have a great deal of time to play and want to play as many hands as possible. In addition to a large number of MTTs, Ring Games and Sit & Go games, there are a vast number of games at different buy in levels, ranging from Microstakes of 1 or 2c buy in, up to the massive high-roller games for many thousands of dollars.
Even if you don’t want to play for cash, you are not hindered as PokerStars has a thriving Play Cash community which allows you almost as many options to play as the Real Cash games.
As far as the sheer variety of poker games, buy in levels, number of players playing and options available to players, the PokerStars app is a clear leader at present.
The black and red livery of the site is attractive when you load it up and that continues when you get to the menu screens. The display is clear and moving around the site is quick and easy.
Once you have selected a table and the poker screen has loaded up then you are presented with a typical table as shown below.
When the game starts, the animations that deliver the cards are quick and certainly are the equal of any of the games. The play generally progresses quickly and a nice touch, which eases frustration, is that the software shows when a player is disconnected, so you know that they are not just playing slowly to annoy others at the table.
You can personalise the settings at the table to suit your own preference, such as by having a 4-colour deck (particularly useful for quick spotting flush draws) and the ability to turn on or off sound and animations as well as player and dealer messages.
While the graphics are not groundbreaking, they certainly allow the app to perform at a high level without draining the resources of your chosen mobile device and as such, they work allow you to enjoy playing the game from your mobile with very few frustrations.
After the initial issues, which we have mentioned previously when depositing, the financial transactions of the site are all conducted quickly and speedily.
Any buy-ins are automatically deducted from your account but any winnings are also credited immediately.
Adding additional funds is easy as you can recall your card details quickly and easily, allowing you to add cash without having to enter all your financial details again, though this does mean that I would expect the site to have top notch banking level, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security (which fortunately, it does).
There were certainly no issues financially when playing on PokerStars that could be viewed as a negative, other than the slight issue with the data entry at the start.
The five best points of the PokerStars Mobile Poker app are:
Without doubt, the biggest selection of Poker games available on any App by any criteria that you wish to judge. In terms of choice, PokerStars is the app to go for if you like playing different types of poker at different times and want a wide range of buy-in options.
While there are many tables to pick from, the excellent filter tools allow you to quickly and easily find the games you want to play in, without having to browse through a huge list to find the games you want.
The app has been well-designed so is very user-friendly in terms of usage. Once you understand you access the type of games using the bar at the top left hand corner of the screen, using the rest of the site all falls neatly into place.
Games are quick and the animations are smooth even with a lot of players at the table.
An extensive Play Cash option means that even if you don’t want to play for real cash, or want to hone your skills away from the cash table, then you can do so using this option.
It may sound somewhat churlish praising this app so fulsomely but then pointing out a few issues, but while the PokerStars app is certainly one of the very best available, it isn’t quite perfect.
The first issue is that the default setting is that the games list shows games that are in progress but which offer players an option to join the game as a late registration. Yet, this is not made clear initially and as such, it is very easy for a new player to click on a game, join it and then discover they are at a table with 1,500 chips, while all the other players have 6,000 chips or more as they have been playing from the start.
You do have the option to remove these games from the list, but it may have been an idea to change the default setting to this, or have a separate list for games in progress that are still open for late registration.
Another minor criticism is that although PokerStars claim to offer new players an introductory offer, I have not received one and there is no clear indication on the site whether mobile players are eligible for one. That is disappointing, especially when smaller sites make it easy for new customers to receive freebies when joining (888 Poker is a great example of this).
Lastly, perhaps the biggest criticism of the site is that because the standard of play is generally high and the games very large, it is VERY difficult for a beginner or intermediate player to win regularly at first. This can be off putting for players who will see their bankroll dwindle very quickly upon joining. Some beginner only games, or smaller events would perhaps help these players settle into the site and experience a little positive success sooner.
These small negative issues aside, PokerStars is a fabulous app and offers players of all financial means the chance to play in a vast number of online tournaments from their mobile device.
The choice of games is the best available on any app and that combined with the range of buy ins, from just a cent or two, up to thousands of dollars, means that the site appeals to the micro stakes player as well as the high roller.
The playing experience is also excellent with transactions quick and easy, balances updated immediately and the gaming experience at the tables quick, easily customisable and above all, enjoyable.
While one or two issues may keep PokerStars from hitting a perfect score for its product, it is still definitely the best poker app available for mobile devices at present.