PokerStars

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PokerStars Inc.
Type Private company
Industry Online poker
Founder(s) Isai Scheinberg
Headquarters Isle of Man
Area served Worldwide
Owner(s) Isai Scheinberg
Parent The Rational Group www.rationalgroup.com
Website www.pokerstars.com
Screenshot of the Pokerstars GUI (the "classic" theme) at a real money table

PokerStars, with nearly 50 million registered players at the start of 2012, is the largest online poker cardroom in the world.[1]

A PokerStars.com online satellite tournament produced the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP)[2] champion, Chris Moneymaker. As the first person to become a world champion by qualifying at an online poker site,[3] 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."[4]

PokerStars offers downloadable poker clients for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. These clients offer users the same features. The Windows client has a Platinum rating on WineHQ for working on Linux operating systems using the Wine software. In January 2012, PokerStars introduced a downloadable mobile client for iOS from iTunes. In February 2012, the company also introduced a client for Android.[5]

On July 31, 2012, PokerStars bought its former competitor, Full Tilt Poker.[6] The $731 million deal settles a civil lawsuit with the Department of Justice while giving ownership of Full Tilt Poker's assets to PokerStars.[7]

The current chairman of PokerStars is Isai's son, Mark Scheinberg[8]

History[edit]

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 Scheinberg family of Israel.[9][10] The company was subsequently moved to the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency. 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 America.[9] PokerStars holds its license with the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and also holds government licenses in Denmark, France, Belgium, Italy,[11] Estonia and Spain. On February 10, 2012, PokerStars acquired a European Union license granted by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Commission.[12]

Privately owned, PokerStars has 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 $2 billion (US) in 2004, which would have made the company one of the world's largest privately held gambling companies.[10] PokerStars overtook PartyPoker as the world's largest online poker room at around the time 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.[13]

On December 27, 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.[14] They broke that record on December 4, 2011, when 200,000 players played in a $1 buy-in tournament with a first prize of $50,000.[15] 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 server. This record had been broken again at June 16, 2013, with 225,000 participants. The Buy-In was $1 and was given completely into the prizepool (there was no participating fee).

Games offered[edit]

PokerStars offers the largest number of poker variations available online: 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.[16]

PokerStars averages over 25,000 players playing real money cash games daily.[17]

Zoom Poker[edit]

PokerStars launched a beta of Zoom Poker in March 2012, with an official launch in May 2012. Zoom Poker is a fast fold ring game poker format where opponents change after every hand. The aim of Zoom poker is to offer players more hands of poker than in a regular ring game.[18] In January 2013 PokerStars rolled out Zoom Poker Tournaments due to popular demand for the fast fold variant [19]

Online tournaments[edit]

The site's flagship weekly event is the Sunday Million, a weekly tournament with a guaranteed $1 million prize pool and a $215 buy-in. The Sunday Million is the biggest weekly online poker tournament in the world. On March 7, 2011, The 5th Anniversary Sunday Million broke records, with 59,128 players creating a total prize pool of $11,825,600.[20]

World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) has been running since 2002 and is regarded[by whom?] as the online equivalent of the World Series of Poker. The WCOOP tournament series is the largest online poker series in the world and pays out the largest prizes in online poker. The WCOOP 2010 Main Event champion Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks won $2.2 Million, the largest online tournament prize in history.[21]

Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) was established in 2009 and has since become the most popular online tournament series.[22] Unlike WCOOP, there are three different buy-in stakes in the SCOOP events: Low, Medium (10x Low stake) and High (100x Low stake).

Micro Millions was launched in March 2012 as a tournament series designed for recreational and micro-stakes players offering a low buy-in tournament schedule and large guaranteed cash prizes. PokerStars guaranteed $5 million in prize pools for the second installment of MicroMillions.[23]

Live poker tours[edit]

PokerStars is the headline sponsor of various live poker tours such as the European Poker Tour (EPT), Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT), Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT), Eureka Poker Tour, Italian Poker Tour (IPT), Czech-Slovak Poker Tour (CSPT), Australia & New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), France Poker Series (FPS), Belgian Poker Series (BPS), Russian Poker Series (RPS) and Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP).

PokerStars also sponsors the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Since it started in 2004 the PCA has grown into the biggest poker event outside of Las Vegas.[24]

PokerStars.net[edit]

Pokerstars.net is a company website offering free play but no real money games.

PokerStars.tv[edit]

PokerStars.tv is the online source for PokerStars TV shows, commercials and event highlight shows – with commentary and expert analysis available in up to 7 languages. The content available includes live cards-up coverage of the biggest PokerStars tournaments, TV shows such as The Million Dollar Challenge and PokerStars Big Game and online tournament highlights from WCOOP and SCOOP.

Team PokerStars Pro[edit]

PokerStars also sponsors a team of sponsored professional players known as Team PokerStars Pro. The team includes Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Victoria Coren, Liv Boeree, Jake Cody, Bertrand Grospellier, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, Joe Cada, Jonathan Duhamel, Jan Heitmann, Vanessa Selbst, George Danzer, Luca Pagano, Vanessa Rousso, Victor Ramdin, Andre Akkari, Humberto Brenes, Chad Brown, Leo Margets, Eugene Katchalov, Marcin Horecki, Dario Minieri, Johnny Lodden, Leo Fernandez, Ivan Demidov, Marcel Luske, Arnaud Mattern, Alex Kravchenko, Theo Jørgensen, Lex Veldhuis, David Williams, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Angel Guillén, Maxim Lykov, Raymond Wu, Dag Palovic, Jose Ignacio Barbero.

Celebrity players[edit]

PokerStars also has a Celebrity team and a Sports team, called respectively "Friends of PokerStars" and "SportStars". These include Tennis Pro Rafael Nadal,[25] former tennis champion Boris Becker, Dutch field hockey Olympic Gold medalist Fatima Moreira de Melo, Swedish cross-country skier Marcus Hellner, FIFA World Cup-winning Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, former footballer Ronaldo,[26] quantitative analyst and author of the 'Chen Formula' for Texas Hold'em Bill Chen[27] and Brazilian auto racer and race team owner Gualter Salles and French rugby union international Sébastien Chabal.

Regulated markets[edit]

PokerStars.com and PokerStars.eu operate worldwide under licenses from the Isle of Man and Malta governments, respectively. PokerStars also operates under separate government licenses in Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Estonia.[28] In October 2008, PokerStars launched PokerStars.it, exclusively for Italian players, which offers real money tournaments in Euro currency in addition to the usual play money games. PokerStars offers some ring games and tournaments on its main PokerStars.com site in euro. In March 2010, the site began allowing users to keep their real-money accounts in British pounds and Canadian dollars as well as U.S. dollars and euro.

United States civil charges[edit]

On April 15, 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York seized and shut down Pokerstars.com and several of its competitors' sites, alleging that the sites were violating federal bank fraud and money laundering laws.[29] On April 20, 2011, the U.S. Attorney's office returned control of the Pokerstars.com domain name to the company in order "to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies."[30]

On July 10, 2012, PokerStars, asserting the Government had insufficient grounds on which to base the charges, filed motions to dismiss the charges against them.[31]

On July 31, 2012, the US government dismissed with prejudice all civil complaints against PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker after reaching a settlement with PokerStars which includes PokerStars purchasing Full Tilt.[6] Under the terms of the settlement, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker admitted no wrongdoing for their past U.S. activities. The U.S. Government acknowledged both companies can apply for licenses to operate online gaming in the U.S. when a legal framework for such licenses is offered.[32] The settlement terms also called for PokerStars to acquire certain assets of Full Tilt Poker from the Government.

On August 9, 2012, PokerStars paid $225 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, consummating the asset transfer of Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars confirmed that Full Tilt Poker will be re-launched within 90 days by November 6, 2012.[33] Full Tilt Poker was successfully relaunched on November 6, 2012 and immediately regained its place as the second largest poker site.[34]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ PokerScout.com: PokerStars Online Poker Traffic Report
  2. ^ "Hendon Mob tournament results: Chris Moneymaker". Pokerdb.thehendonmob.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  3. ^ Pokerlistings.com: About Chris Moneymaker
  4. ^ PokerNews.com: The Moneymaker Effect: Five Years Later May 23, 2008
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b ESPN: PokerStars settles, acquires FTP
  7. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek:PokerStars Strikes U.S. Deal to Buy Full Tilt Poker
  8. ^ Nathan Vardi (July 31, 2012). "PokerStars Will Pay $731 Million To Settle U.S. Government Charges and Buy Full Tilt Poker". Forbes. 
  9. ^ a b Walsh, Dominic (August 3, 2005). "PokerStars to move its base before possible London float". The Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Walsh, Dominic (January 4, 2006). "Family stand to net $2bn from their online gamble". London: The Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ CardPlayer: PokerStars Breaks Through to Italy, Now Fully Licensed There
  12. ^ Poker News: PokerStars Granted License in Malta; Prepares to Launch PokerStars.eu
  13. ^ CardPlayer: PokerStars Will Keep Serving American Customers
  14. ^ "PokerStars Retains Guinness World Record Online Mark". Pokernews.com. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  15. ^ "PokerStars Sets Another Guinness World Record". Pokernews.com. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  16. ^ List of games offered by PokerStars
  17. ^ Poker Site Scout: Online Poker Traffic Report
  18. ^ Pokerlistings.com: PokerStars Officially Launches Zoom Poker
  19. ^ PokerUpdate.com: PokerStars Rolls Out Zoom Poker Tournaments
  20. ^ Pokerstarsblog.com: Bdbeatslayer wins Sunday Million 5th Anniversary title, $671,093.81 and Lamborghini
  21. ^ bluffmagazine.com: WCOOP: Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks Earns $2.2 Million for Main Event Win
  22. ^ Pokerstarsblog.com: SCOOP 2012: Biggest online series in history
  23. ^ Pokernews.com: PokerStars Guarantees $5 Million for MicroMillions II Tournament Series
  24. ^ PokerStars.com: PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2011
  25. ^ Rafael Nadal's Team SportStars profile
  26. ^ http://www.pokerstarsblog.la/br/2013/ronaldo-e-o-novo-integrante-do-team-poke-131997.html
  27. ^ "Friends of PokerStars". PokerStars.com. Retrieved March 22, 2009. 
  28. ^ Pokerstarsblog.com: PokerStars adds Spain to its growing list of licenses that currently includes France, Denmark, Italy, Estonia, Belgium, Malta and the Isle of Man
  29. ^ Ben Rooney (April 15, 2011). "Online poker companies indicted for fraud". CNNMoney.com. 
  30. ^ Bloomberg.com: Online Poker Companies in Accord With U.S. on Players’ Money
  31. ^ Pokerfuse.com: PokerStars Files for Dismissal of Charges; Government Looks to Clear Civil Claims
  32. ^ Wall Street Journal: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker Settle with Justice Department
  33. ^ Pocketfives.com: PokerStars Pays $225 Million to DOJ, Full Tilt Asset Transfer Consummated
  34. ^ Poker News Daily: Full Tilt Poker Drawing Strong Traffic Since Re-Launch

External links[edit]