For more than a decade, PokerStars maintained a staunch, online poker only gaming regimen. Since the takeover by Canadian-based Amaya last year, much has changed. The world’s largest internet poker room released online and live dealer casino games, and has gotten its foot back in the US door via a New Jersey license and a venture into DFS. Now, PokerStars is expanding again with the integration of video poker games on its casino client.
There’s no denying that PokerStars is—and has been for years—the most popular destination for online poker players around the world. Having been without US customers since early 2011, the operator has still managed to supplant its global competition by leaps and bounds, and when online casino gambling was added to the menu, it only served to further solidify PokerStars’ imminence in the universal iGaming market.
Those who already enjoy the fruits of PokerStars Casino will now find a new ‘Video Poker’ tab gracing the main menu of the website. Clicking the tab reveals a moderate lineup of 5 video poker games, including some of the most popular titles known to fans of these skill-based card-gaming devices. They are Deuces Wild, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Jacks or Better and Joker Poker.
Each video poker variants has its own distinct set of rules and payouts based on traditional poker hand rankings. As the names imply, Deuces Wild gives players the opportunity to use wild cards, while Jacks or Better pays a player anytime they achieve a hand rank of a ‘pair of jacks, or anything better’. Similarly, Joker Poker throws a single joker into the deck.
The new additions are sure to pique the interest of many online gambling fans. Video poker games are akin to several other casino-style genres, but give specific opportunities that some players find far superior to their related cousins.
For example, video poker is much like a combination of poker and blackjack, giving the player the opportunity to make strategic, skill-based decisions that directly affect their odds of winning, yet pitting them only against the ‘house’, not a group of other players. It’s also similar to slot machines, wherein the player enjoys a private, personal experience in front of a machine, rather than a socialized table.
Other Recent Moves by PokerStars
Under the new ownership of Montreal, Canada’s Amaya Gaming, PokerStars has been making lots of moves to integrate its services throughout more regions of the world. In fact, PokerStars has finally made its way back into the US market for the first time since Black Friday, April 2011.
PokerStars acquired US Daily Fantasy Sports operator Victiv.com earlier this year, rebranding it as StarsDraft. Then, late last month, word came down from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement that PokerStars had finally received a transactional waiver to begin operating in the Garden State via a partnership with Resorts Casino.
The PokerStars Casino received a boost to its slots offering, bringing the online total to 87, and the mobile casino to 16. The operator also moved to launch its casino slots in Spain, which was previously limited to table games, (and online poker of course).
The online blackjack games were enhanced, too. A new multi-player blackjack variant was added, known as HighHand Blackjack, that brings player-versus-player action onto the virtual felt by mandating a side pot that goes to the player with the highest hand. Other blackjack side bets against the house were also integrated.
Finally, PokerStars Casino introduced Live Dealer table games to the Italian market, having done the same at its Spanish and dot-com operations in early 2015.
Clearly, Amaya Gaming intends to spread the wings of its number one operator as much as viably (and profitably) possible. So long as the PokerStars software maintains its classic standard of superior excellence, it should prove an enormously successful venture by the Canadian based iGaming giant.
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