PokerStars vs PartyPoker: Which is Better for Players?

pokerstars vs partypoker

5 minutes

Last Updated: April 12, 2024

Both launched over 20 years ago in 2001, PokerStars and PartyPoker have been two of the biggest operators throughout the online poker era.

While PokerStars climbed head and shoulder above other competitors and stayed there for a long time, PartyPoker remained one of the top online poker sites out there.

If you are looking for a site to play online poker at these days, both of these operators may offer a strong option, depending on your preferences.

We have looked at PokerStars and PartyPoker and compared them in key areas to help you decide where you want to play and which site will give you the most benefits for joining.

PokerStars vs PartyPoker Bonuses

Welcome Bonus100% up to $600100% up to $600
ExtraN/A$30 in Tournament Tickets
Clearance Rate33%8.5%
Bonus Period90 Days90 Days

Welcome bonuses are a big part of the allure of playing online poker, as they provide players with extra value and return on the rake they pay for a period of time.

The PokerStars welcome bonus, which is worth 100% up to $600, is one of the best in the industry, clearing at a rate of 33%, with $5 in real cash released for every $15 paid in rake or tournament fees.

The PartyPoker welcome bonus is also worth 100% up to $600 and paid on your first deposit, but the clearance rate is unfortunately much lower.

The bonus is released in chunks of 10%, with each chunk released when you have accumulate 12 loyalty points for every $1 of bonus money you are looking to clear.

The loyalty points are accumulated at a rate of 1 point for $1 in rake paid, so you will need to accumulate 12 points to release a single dollar of bonus money, adding up to just under 8.5% in rakeback.

In addition to this, you will receive $30 in tournament tickets at PartyPoker when you deposit at least $20, adding some value for players looking to start out with a minimal balance.

Verdict: The PokerStars welcome bonus provides a superior clearance rate and is far better for players looking to play higher stakes games. For complete beginners, PartyPoker offers extra value in the form of the $30 in tournament tickets on first deposit.

Player Reward Programs on PokerStars vs. PartyPoker

Both PokerStars and PartyPoker offer a chance to receive some of your rake back every week through their player rewards programs.

  • PokerStars Rewards returns between 15% and 40% in rakeback
  • At PartyPoker, you will receive up to 55% of your rake back every Monday

The two programs work in a similar way, both offering bigger rewards to players who play more and pay more rake in a given week.

PokerStars offers a consistent rakeback scheme through the PokerStars Rewards program, which pays up to 40% in rakeback for the highest rakers.

Most players at PartyPoker will receive between 10% and 32% in rakeback as well, but with special weekly boosts and high rake paid, you could get up to 55% back in certain weeks.

Overall speaking, the two programs are quite similar, with PokerStars offering a little more value for players in the lower rake brackets, and PartyPoker offering a bit more value for the big players on the platform.

Verdict: PokerStars offers more value for small rakers, while PartyPoker rakeback can exceed 50% for players playing high stakes or a lot of volume at mid stakes.

Game Selection: Are PartyPoker Games Better than PokerStars

Both PokerStars and PartyPoker offer online poker games around the clock at a variety of stakes and game types, but there some clear differences.

The biggest one, of course, is in the number of players playing on each platform, with PokerStars having one of the biggest player pools in the world.

This means PokerStars players can expect more liquidity in both cash games and tournaments, and bigger guaranteed prize pools in tournament poker.

  • PokerStars has move volume around the clock, offering more cash game tables and bigger guaranteed tournaments every single day.
  • PartyPoker offers softer games, with many casino players and sports bettors playing poker casually on the platform.

PokerStars is a site with the biggest variety of poker games. Whether you want to play NLH, PLO, mixed games, Spin & Goes, Zoom Poker, mystery bounty tournaments, or other game types, you will find them at PokerStars.

PartyPoker also has a lot of variety, but the truth is that game quality if the biggest reason to play there, as PartyPoker games generally tend to be quite a bit softer than those at PokerStars.

Cash GamesNLH $0.01/$0.02 to $200/$400, PLO $0.01/$0.02 to $200/$400 NLH $0.01/$0.02 to $2/$5, PLO $0.01/$0.02 to $2/$5
MTTsRe-Entry, PKO, Mystery Bounty, PLO, and MoreRe-Entry, PKO, Mystery Bounty, PLO,and More
SNGs$0.25 to $1,000 $0.25 to $200
Jackpot SNGsSpin & GoSpins
Fast Fold PokerZoom PokerZoom Poker
Mixed GamesCash Games and TournamentsPLO, Short Deck, Stud
Special Game FormatsKick Off, Power PathSpins, Spins Overdrive

Verdict: Both sites offer plenty of options in both cash game and tournament arenas. PokerStars offers more volume, and PartyPoker will give you access to softer games that are easier to beat.

Software & Mobile Support on PokerStars vs. PartyPoker

Both PokerStars and PartyPoker have perfected their platforms over the years, and today both offer a state-of-the-art online poker experience for both desktop and mobile players.

The vast majority of gameplay features such as four-color deck, table customization, bet-slider customization, etc, are available on both platforms across devices.

While PokerStars platform performs a bit better when multi-tabling, it is also worth noting that PokerStars has a 4-table limit for cash game grinders, which may come as a hindrance at times.

Both online poker apps can be downloaded directly from the operators’ websites, and can be installed on Android and iOS devices alike, giving you access to the full scope of games, including cash games and tournaments on both platforms.

Verdict: There is little difference in terms of platform quality between the two, although PokerStars will provide you a slightly smoother experience when multi-tabling.

Final Verdict

PokerStars and PartyPoker are two sites with some major differences at this point in time, and not necessarily ideal for the same groups of players.

  • PokerStars is ideal for professional poker players, providing a lot of volume and great welcome bonus, but also a lot of stiff competitors that may be hard to beat.
  • PartyPoker offers softer games and a smaller player pool, along with great player rewards for the big rakers, and some extra value to those joining with a small deposit.

Whether you are looking to play cash games or tournaments, both PokerStars and PartyPoker have a lot to give you.

If your focus in on table selection and finding the softest games around, PartyPoker is probably one of the top sites to look at, as the games there tend to be less serious and populated with more recreational players.

However, if you want to play in the biggest tournaments each week, and find the most cash game action around the clock, PokerStars may be the place for you.

It is worth noting that the weekend tournament schedule at PartyPoker has become very interesting lately, so even if you do regularly play at PokerStars, looking at PartyPoker on Sundays could be worth your time and effort.

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