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Any discussion of the top online poker sites for Canadians certainly needs to include the biggest poker site in the world, Poker Stars. Itís not even the fact that Poker Stars is bigger than anyone else, they are bigger than all the other sites, combined. If popularity were the only issue in selecting a poker site, this site would win by a landslide.
Popularity does matter a lot to a lot of players though, which is the single biggest reason why Poker Stars has grown so big. Players look to play at the site or sites with the most traffic, Poker Stars has the most traffic, so they play there, the traffic grows, and this momentum continues on.
So this is like a snowball rolling down a hill, it just gets bigger and bigger, and Poker Starsí snowball is at the bottom of the hill with the others and simply dwarfs the other ones. Weíre talking almost 10 times more traffic here than any other poker site. They are the 800 pound gorilla, which is something you canít not pay attention to, so weíll review this mega site for you here so you can decide if you want to try them out if you havenít done so already.
I do want to point out though that when I say Poker Stars is the major leagues of online poker I donít just mean the amount of players there, they also have the best players as well and pretty much all good players play here. This includes quite a few pros who used to live in the USA but actually moved here to Canada or to Mexico just so they could continue to play at Poker Stars.
Of course thereís no problem with our being Canadian as far as our being able to play at Poker Stars, and people were a little worried once Amaya Gaming from Montreal bought the site along with Full Tilt, but Amaya has assured players it wonít be restricting us from playing there, and the government is probably happy enough to have the worldís largest gaming company here at home without trying to interfere with then by even suggesting they do something that will reduce the tax dollars they get.
Poker Stars certainly has its plusses and minuses. The plusses are pretty significant though. This is a first class company for sure and itís no accident that they are as big as they are, some of this has come from promotion no doubt but promotion can only take you so far and if youíre not top notch you just wonít be able to build such a massive following as they have.
In fact, Poker Starsí player base are as sophisticated as they come and they certainly can find their way to other poker sites if their needs are not being met very well here. The truth is, most players at Poker Stars wonít even consider playing elsewhere, and that does say something about the site for sure.
It is true that a lot of the appeal here is the traffic, and while itís not hard to find a good amount at least at the lowest stakes, traffic tends to thin out more and more as you move up the stakes or the tournament buy in levels, and although itís still a good idea to maintain accounts at other sites to get in on any action they might have at your chosen stake, this is still where it is at when it comes to mid to high stakes poker.
This place even has tables where the minimum buy in is $40,000 and they let you go as high as $100,000, this isnít your bankroll by the way, itís a single buy in, and people play at these tables at this site.
So things do thin out as you move up stakes here but itís where they thin out that is the difference here, and that where is much higher stakes then you see elsewhere. So you see a mind boggling amount of action at the low stakes, a crazy amount at the mid stakes, a surprisingly good amount at the high stakes, and even some action at the absurdly high stakes where you can sit at a table with the worldís best players period.
You want to play a whole bunch of tables at once? No problem, at most stakes anyway. The game selection here is so much better than at any other site itís ridiculous in fact. If this were all we needed to be concerned about then it wouldnít ever make sense to play anywhere else, although thatís how a lot of players see it now.
This cornucopia of tables and traffic doesnít come without a price though. Thereís really only one downside to Poker Stars actually, as they do everything extremely well. The problem though is that the level of competition here is way ahead of other sites.
When I speak of other sites I often say well you wonít find many really skilled players at this particular site, and the reason is that they pretty much all play at Poker Stars.
If you are a newer player or a less skilled one the players at Poker Stars will show you no mercy. The bigger the difference in the average skill level of the table and your skill level, the more difficult it will be for you until you improve.
This is less the case at the lower stakes but it is true that the skill level of players at the lowest stakes are quite a bit better than you see at similar stakes at any other poker site.
This is not all necessarily bad though, itís more something you need to be aware of. In fact it can even be a good thing. Even if you are a new player there is clearly something to be said about getting whooped the way the players can lay a beating on you here if you donít know what you are doing, as you definitely learn the game a lot faster playing with better players.
Back in my coaching days I would have some students tell me they now stay away from Poker Stars because they had such a tough time of it and I insisted that they play there at least part of the time to further their education so to speak. Then they would take what they learned and really cream the players at the softer sites.
So I think that regardless of your situation if you are looking to improve at poker, and every player is really, having an account at Poker Stars and at the very least using this as a tool to further your game is an excellent idea indeed. So itís really just a matter of being aware that this is indeed the major leagues and to play accordingly.
We can sum up the traffic here by just saying it is gigantic and if you donít like the traffic here you simply need to move to another planet with a larger online poker site since thereís none on this planet that can touch it.
Poker Stars, for years, never even paid out a welcome bonus, and they didnít need to, thatís how popular they are. However they do now, and since they started paying them out they grew tremendously, and the big reason is that players who try out this site pretty much all end up staying.
In order to get their first depositor bonus of 100% up to $600, which is pretty nice by the way, youíll have to enter in both the marketing code of PSA8177 when you first register and the bonus code of STARS600 when you make your first deposit. So write these codes down as you will need them, even if you are planning on doing it in a moment, as this will save you from having to come back here to get them.
This is life under the big top in every way, the software is the best out there, customer service is very good, they have an excellent selection of deposit methods, their rewards program is the best there is, and on and on. There isnít even any need to go into much detail here other than to tell you that you will be taken care of extremely well here.
So if you have never had an account at Poker Stars, I canít imagine anyone not wanting to experience the New York City of the online poker world for themselves, and you can do just that and collect some nice bonus money at the same time, so why not?