PokerStars launched in September 2001 as a free to play poker website, which at the time was groundbreaking. It wasn’t long before the company began accepting real money, bringing the genuine thrill and excitement of poker to the Internet and an entirely new audience. During the first few years of the company’s existence, they were registered within Costa Rica, however with the emergence of the Isle of Man as a tax haven for various gambling companies, it was not long before PokerStars relocated to the British controlled island.
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PokerStars now holds multiple gambling licenses that allow it to accept players from almost anywhere in the world, with near blanket coverage of Europe. This has allowed the company to command a huge market share of a multibillion dollar industry. Since 2006 PokerStars has been the world’s largest online poker website, taking the crown from party poker, who decided to suspend all transactions with US players upon the passing of the Lawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. PokerStars was one of the few companies to take the bold step of not blocking US players, which given their position within the market at the time, allowed them to essentially “hoover up” the vast majority of the player base in the United States.
This decision ultimately resulted in PokerStars paying the US government $225 million, in addition to bringing to light concerns over their purchase of full tilt poker. This figure was reached after years of negotiating but many feel that PokerStars still came out of the episode with a profit and a healthy public persona in the United States.
PokerStars also holds the world record for the largest online poker tournament, which currently sits at 225,000 players, breaking their own record for the second time in doing so.
Variations of Poker
PokerStars currently offers their players and extremely wide selection of poker formats such as Texas hold’em, Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, Horse, Hose, Triple Stud, Omaha and many more.
PokerStars hosts hundreds of online tournaments every single week, with buy ins ranging anywhere from free well into the hundreds of dollars. This means that PokerStars is able to offer some of the largest prize pots available in online poker, which attracts many players off of the poker tour itself.
Since 2002 PokerStars has been running the World Championship of Online Poker, which has since become one of the highlights of the online poker calendar. In 2010 the winner of the WCOOP picked up a staggering $2.2 million, which remains the single largest online poker tournament win in the history.