There are a large number of online poker sites available to Irish poker players and some are better known than others mainly due to the fact that some online poker sites are in fact part of a larger bookmaker but there are also specialist sites and probably the largest of these is PokerStars.
Click here to play at PokerStars
Pokerstars has been around since 2001 and although it was originally established in Costa Rica it is now registered and licensed in the Isle of Man. Pokerstars is very well known throughout the world for its sponsorship of various tournaments which include the “United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour” (UKITP) and the “European Poker Tour” (EPT) as well as farther afield sponsoring tournaments in the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Italy and the Czech and Slovak republics. Pokerstars is also renowned for the satellite tournaments that it runs for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and several winners have come through that route over the years.
As you might expect from a top online poker site, pokerstars does not just offer Texas Hold’em despite that being the most popular of poker games, you can play no fewer than 12 different poker games at Pokerstars which include Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud and Stud Hi/Lo and regular Draw Poker but also some more unusual ones such as 2-7 Single draw and 2-7 Triple draw or even HORSE, Razz and 8- Game mix but the strangest is Badugi in which the low hand wins but also has totally different hand rankings from other forms of poker. If you want to try Badugi there is a full description of how to play on the Pokerstars site.
Whilst talking about how to play you will rarely come across a better poker school set up than at Pokerstars where there is what is called PokerSchoolOnline (PSO) which is a completely free online training site that allows you to study and progress at your own pace; it is full of interactive tools to test your understanding and as an extra feature you can participate in live poker training sessions where the PSO coaches analyze hands as they play, helping you to understand the game by watching the action in real-time. If that were not enough, after each training module you can test yourself by putting what you’ve learnt to the test by taking a quiz. Pokerstars really does go out its way to make sure that you fully understand the games to make your experience even better and of course there is plenty of reference material about various strategies for your further reading.
When you eventually arrive at a table the fun continues as you can personalize your own character with a picture which obviously does not have to be of you; you can place a picture of your pet or your favourite film character or whatever. Another useful feature of the Pokerstars site is the ability to make notes about a particular player as you go which means when you come up against them in the future you can refer back and see what sort of a player they are because all poker players know that any information about your opponent is useful. For those that like to analyse what happened in a particular hand or even in a particular session Pokerstars has a full range of statistical data available for you which as well as being available immediately at the table in the session you are playing can also be e-mailed to you so that you can see how many hands you played or folded and at what stage in the game. This information may help you to adjust your strategy for future games. There is an enormous range of preferences that you can set to suit your style of play so whether you want to play several sit and go tables simultaneously with a prompt for where your next action must be or simply relax in one tournament you can adjust the software accordingly.
Once you have decided that Pokerstars is for you it is time to get going and download the software which is a very easy process and register for an account. At this point you do not have to make any deposit into your account as there is a full range of games which are available for play money which may make help you become more confident before you start to play for real money and join in the real excitement of the game of poker. Pokerstars has a good range of games which are played with play money but beware the fact that players do not play in quite the same way when playing with play money as they do when risking their own cash. When you are finally ready to start a real game you will need to deposit some money into your pokerstars account but even this is simplicity itself with a wide range of deposit methods available from credit cards, debit cards and e-wallets. Once you are ready simply select the type of game you want to play from the top of the page and you will see a list of tables and the stakes for the table; simply make your selection and you can see which tables are available for you to join. The same applies to tournaments which Pokerstars seems to have more of than any other online poker site. Particularly on a Sunday there are massive prizes up for grabs at Pokerstars tournaments and we are talking here of in excess of $200,000 and although some of the high prize tournaments require a substantial buy in of $100 or more there is always the Sunday Storm which you can buy into for only $11 but guarantees a $200,000 prize pool.
Pokerstars certainly is the largest online poker site and with vast experience can provide both the novice and the advanced player with all the opportunities they should need.