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PokerStars is an online poker cardroom owned by The Stars Group. It can be accessed through downloadable poker clients for the Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It is the largest real money online poker site in the world, controlling over two-thirds of the total online poker market.
A PokerStars.com online satellite tournament produced the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion, Chris Moneymaker. As the first person to become a world champion by qualifying at an online poker site, Moneymaker’s 2003 win was an important factor in catalyzing the poker boom of the mid-2000s. The press has called this the “Moneymaker effect.”
PokerStars launched its beta play-money-only site on September 11, 2001. The company began offering real money wagering on December 12, 2001. PokerStars was originally a Costa Rican company, Rational Enterprises, which was majority owned by the Israeli Scheinberg family. The company was subsequently moved to Onchan, Isle of Man. The move was driven by the establishment of a 0% corporate tax rate and the removal of rules barring companies from accepting casino and poker bets from the United States. PokerStars holds numerous licences in other jurisdictions (see Regulated Markets below). In February 2012, PokerStars acquired a European Union license granted by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Commission.
While privately owned, PokerStars had been the subject of financial media speculation regarding a possible initial public offering or merger with a publicly listed company. Analysts estimated its market value would have been approximately US$2 billion in 2006, which would have made the company one of the world’s largest privately held gambling companies. PokerStars overtook PartyPoker as the world’s largest online poker room after the U.S. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Many sites, including PartyPoker, immediately suspended business with U.S. gamblers, while others, including PokerStars, did not.
In December 2009, PokerStars set the world record for the biggest online tournament. The tournament entry fee was $1, and the number of entrants reached 149,196. They broke that record in December 2011, when 200,000 players played in a $1 buy-in tournament with a first prize of $50,000. PokerStars was so busy during the early stages of the tournament, all tournaments had to be stopped for 20 minutes because the heavy traffic crashed their servers. This record had been broken again in June 2013, with 225,000 participants. The buy-in was $1 and went completely into the prize pool, with no rake.
In January 2012, PokerStars introduced a downloadable mobile client for iOS from iTunes. In February 2012, the company also introduced a client for Android.
In July 2012, PokerStars bought its former competitor, Full Tilt Poker. The $731 million deal settled a civil lawsuit with the Department of Justice while giving ownership of Full Tilt Poker’s assets to PokerStars.
In June 2014, The Stars Group, then known as Amaya Inc, agreed to buy PokerStars and its parent company for $4.9 billion in cash. The deal was completed on August 1, 2014.
As of April 2016, they have reached an agreement with Netent to add desktop and mobile gambling games to its poker lobby in New Jersey and other locations.
In February 2017, Microgaming announced a partnership with PokerStars, owned by parent company for the integration of its Quickfire platform.
In July 2017, PokerStars agreed to a deal with bankruptcy administrators to acquire some of rival PKR.com’s assets and in doing so will reimburse 60,000 PKR players 100% of their final balances.
In December 2017, PokerStars unveiled a brand new player tournament called the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, which is to be held in January 2019. The tournament is expected to become one of the biggest events in the annual poker calendar with a twenty-five thousand dollar buy in and a $1 million bonus for the eventual winner.
In March 2018, The Stars Group reached an agreement with gaming company Sugal & Damani to support the launch of its PokerStars brand in India.
In September 2018, PokerStars revealed PokerStars VR, a fully immersive virtual reality poker experience.
In 2019, PokerStars agreed with Paddy Power Betfair to create the world’s largest gambling and betting companies.
PokerStars offers a large number of poker variations: Texas hold ’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo (8 or Better), Courchevel, Stud, Stud Hi/Lo (8 or Better), Razz, Five-card draw, 2-7 Triple Draw & 2-7 Single Draw, Badugi, HORSE, HOSE, Mixed Hold’em, Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo, Triple Stud and 8-Game Mix. PokerStars also offers “Mixed Games,” which rotate through several of these games.
PokerStars averages over 15,000 players playing real money cash games daily.
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