PokerStars or 888Poker
Both poker rooms were launched at the beginning of the 2000s, and they took different paths in 2006 after the UIGEA act. 888Poker, like many other sites, decided to leave the United States, while PokerStars remained. The decision was one of the reasons for the beginning of the era of the PS leadership in the industry.
After rebranding from Pacific Poker in 2010, 888Poker began to work in its niche with poker fans. In 2014, the site inked up a partnership with the WSOP, which has consistently been at the TOP10 of the online poker traffic ranking since then.
PokerStars has changed ownership since then and ran not very successful experiments, the main of which was the launch of infamous "chests." As a result, PokerStars lost the leadership to GGPoker but still remains for many a brand that personifies online poker.
Pokerstars vs 888poker rake
|Rake||Cap (5+)||Rake||Cap (4+)|
Let's start this benchmark with the rake and commissions both sites charge the players.
PokerStars is definitely better in terms of rake structure in cash games. At stakes up to NL25, it's less than the standard 5%. Across all stakes, caps are smaller than 888Poker, and the difference is especially noticeable at the lowest stakes.
It's the same situation with Spins. In both rooms, in more expensive tournaments, the rake is lower. For PokerStars, it ranges from 5% to 8%, and for 888, it's 6.13%-10%.
Rakeback and bonuses comparison
How do both sites invest money to attract and retain players? Newcomers who make their first deposit get similar bonuses. Only at PokerStars the player has two options: 100% up to $600 or $30 ($21 in tickets and $9 cash) within 6 days for a deposit of $10.
888Poker grinders can use the code "WELCOME100" to get a 100% wagered bonus of up to $1,000 and a set of 8 freeroll tickets. Beginners can try the $88 no deposit bonus, although it's challenging to wager it fully.
But it's in the loyalty programs where we find substantial differences:
- Stars Rewards: six monthly tiers with direct rakeback from 15% to 25% and additional challenges to boosting the return another 10%-40%
- 888Club: consists of hundreds of levels and points for achievements (tasks) that are often not poker-related. At each level, the player gets freeroll tickets and gold tokens, which can be exchanged for cash, bonus, tournament tickets, spins, and bets. There is no direct rakeback, and estimations reveal a 3%-5% return.
If poker is just a hobby for you and you are not going to grind, then the 888Poker VIP program is more suitable for you; however, if you need rakeback to fix your graph, then your choice is PokerStars.
The PokerStars platform has long been considered the benchmark in the online poker world. Over the years, the developers have created a poker client that meets the needs of even the most demanding players. The lobby is divided into several sections by game format and user-friendly filter. Many options have been added to the table design.
The only thing that has caused complaints from players in recent years is the new Aurora engine, which has reduced the software stability, caused problems with fonts, and overloaded table themes.
888 Poker also switched to a new client, which became more functional, received a modern and bright interface, and caused technical problems, especially in older PCs.
Overall, we can say that although PokerStars software can be called more advanced, most players will find all the necessary options for a comfortable game on both platforms. High-end players can always install external layouts.
Customers of both sites can use approximately the same set of external programs during sessions:
- To display HUD — any popular tracker
- To customize the client — software from the "Caption" series
Auto-seating scripts and any kind of RTA or automatic tools are prohibited.
Like the desktop PC client, software for gadgets at Poker Stars and 888 Poker is regularly updated per modern requirements. All games are available to mobile players, multitabling is possible, deposit and withdraw, and portrait orientation of tables.
This section has no clear winner, as both apps are pretty good. The only thing that makes the 888Poker app stand out is the brighter interface, but this feature isn't for everyone.
888 vs Pokerstars: traffic overview
Most players know that PokerStars was the undisputed online poker leader for many years, and now it has dropped to second place. According to PokerScout, on average, there are up to 7,000 connections in cash games per day, and in 888Poker, only up to 1,200.
However, such numbers say little to players, for whom it's much more important to have action at the suitable game at a certain stake level, at the optimal time for them.
Therefore, we will further try to declassify traffic indicators in both rooms, considering the game variety and availability.
According to the general set of poker formats, PokerStars is far ahead. Here you can find the following games:
- 7-card stud
- 6-card Omaha, Hi-Lo
- 5 card draw
888Poker doesn't boast traffic in such formats, even during peak hours.
In both rooms, almost all cash games focused on 6-max and 9-max tables. However, PokerStars features many more tables across all stakes in these formats throughout the day. The maximum stake is also higher.
PS has an advantage in this format: the number of connections, active stakes (8 vs. 6), and the highest playable stake during the day (NL200 vs. NL25). There is even a 9-max offer at $0.01/$0.02.
For tournament players, both rooms offer well-designed grids. Of course, PokerStars guarantees bigger prizes in regular and serial events. However, 888 also features undeniable advantages:
- Smaller fields in MTT
- More deep tournaments
- Weaker villains
Spin and Go
PokerStars can be called "trendsetter" in this format. Spin & Go is played from $0.25 to $1,000 in two formats — classic and flash, with blinds increasing every minute. Spin & Go Max and Omaha Spins are also played.
Blast in 888 Poker is a fun game. The blinds rise every 2 minutes, and players go all-in automatically after 6-12 minutes (depending on the multiplier).
Softness of the field
Although you already understood that PokerStars beats 888 in all traffic indicators, the incredible popularity of PS has led to a "regfestation" of the Stars tables.
This can be seen from the lowest stakes, where players who decide to make poker their profession begin their careers. 888Poker doesn't offer a large direct rakeback, reduces most bonuses to missions and freerolls, and is the most enjoyable of the TOP10.
Policy towards amateurs and pro-players
888Poker focuses on attracting and protecting casual players, even before the "ecology" boom. Also, the room is not unfriendly with regs: it allows using HUD and doesn't restrict multitabling or table selection. It's just that all bonuses and promotions began to be launched with the casual player in mind.
888Poker remained in the TOP10; hence we can say their decision was beneficial.
On the other hand, PokerStars began its journey to protect the poker ecology with drastic steps — the death of rakeback, active waiting lists, new sit-out rules, limiting the number of tables to four, and switching promotions to random missions.
It cannot be said that a new wave of poker fans rushed to the tables. And although the classic VIP returned a few years later, regulars don't feel more comfortable at PokerStars than at 888Poker.
The teams of players in these rooms are similar, and their members are no longer massive pros.
Now the team pros are working with either low-stakes streamers or well-known personalities: football players Neymar and Ronaldo in PokerStars, boxer Chris Eubank in 888Poker.
Deposits and withdrawals
Both rooms are similar in this aspect. The cashier offers all the classic payment processors, and the withdrawal time is about the same.
The only nuance at 888Poker — the currency for deposits and withdrawals is set depending on the country of registration. Hence, the player must contact support to change the currency or pay extra fees if it doesn't match the wallet.
None of the two poker rooms are crypto-friendly.
The difference in customer service between the two sites has decreased in recent years. 888Poker improved a lot ad began to answer faster, and a chat was added to the client.
On the other hand, after the "optimization" of costs, the number of support staff has decreased, and their interaction with players is no longer as prompt as before.
Overall, customer service is similar and solves problems within a reasonable time frame.
Final thoughts: Pokerstars or 888poker — which is better?
PokerStars has clearly and objectively outperformed 888poker in many criteria. However, the choice between one of these rooms is not as obvious as it might seem.
In this case, everything depends on the need of the player himself, which we have tried to emphasize in this article. If poker is just entertainment for you, then you can choose PokerStars because:
- You would like to try exciting and unusual formats in Spins, 6+ Hold'em, Neymar Jr Kick Off
- You can afford to play the highest stakes
- You like tournaments with bigger prize pools
If you are a professional player, then PS can be your main room because it has:
- Good software compatible with trackers and other third-party software
- Low rake, especially at small stakes
- 15%-25% direct rakeback and the opportunity to boost it up to 40% return
- Many more tables to choose from, but they are restricted to 4
- Good traffic across full-ring and classic SnG
As you can see, PokerStars can adjust to pros and amateurs.
On the other hand, 888Poker is suitable for regs who:
- Are not used to strong restrictions to select tables
- Get profit by playing with weaker opponents and don't really count on rakeback
- Are used to play more than 4 tables
- Prefer MTTs with fields of no more than 1k-2k participants
Amateurs at 888Poker are attracted by: A variety of bonuses that you can often get without spending a lot of time playing; The opportunity to play in a field with newcomers.
As a result, we can say that the final answer to the question: which poker room is better, PokerStars or 888Poker?: depends only on you. We recommend checking both sites and testing the waters to make decisions based on your personal experience.
Or you can just read our PokerStars review and 888poker review, reach our customer service and ask for a round-table to find out what other rooms fit you better:
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