Ever since the death of rakeback by PokerStars in 2017, many players have decided to leave this poker room and begin their search for alternatives. Even though PokerStars is still one of the most popular operators in the world, there are still a number of factors that make players avoid it. There are plenty of grinders even at the lowest stakes that are ready to sit at the tables for hours and drain bankrolls of recreational players. A high rake is also one of the reasons why this room has lost some of its popularity. On top of that, cold and unresponsive client support does not help the situation.
There was a time when PokerStars was the only place to play. The choice of games, big tournament guarantees, and slick software made them stand out from the other sites.
But there is also some good news. Times, when PokerStars was the only place for online poker, are long gone. Throughout these years, the list of alternatives to PokerStars had grown in size and quality. Therefore, in this article, we have decided to make a list of the TOP 5 Best Alternatives to PokerStars as of 2021. In this review, we will discuss the potential pros and cons of each room and why we think it is a good alternative. Read on for more details.
This one comes as no surprise. Recently, GGPoker was able to surpass PokerStars in the rankings in terms of the overall traffic, making it the most popular operator in the world. And there are plenty of reasons for that. GGPoker is probably the best skin on the GGNetwork due to the highest traffic, a good welcome bonus of $600, and a well-developed Fish Buffet rakeback system. Not to mention the fact that GGPoker is an excellent choice for beginners, as there is going to be a bunch of action at lower stakes and there is a ban on HUDs and other software. Here are the main reasons why we recommend GGPoker as an alternative to PokerStars:
- A well-developed and balanced poker ecosystem between regular players and amateurs.
- Huge traffic and a shared player pool with Asia and Europe
- Action at all kinds of stakes and poker variations (including fast-fold poker). From low stakes to more expensive games up to NL/PLO 40K.
- A modern-looking and functional in-game client
- Tournament series with millions of dollars guaranteed.
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Partypoker is one of the most recognizable poker brands in the world, even among people that don’t play poker at all. When compared to PokerStars, there are way more recreational and fun players. There is still a certain percentage of regulars and grinders, however, it can be easily tolerated and you can still have fun playing poker. You will be also met with lots of high-stakes action. If you are a High Roller, then partypoker is definitely a place for you.
Partypoker has released a new software update relatively recently. Over the past few years, the in-game client has changed drastically for the better. By downloading their client, you will the full functionality, which is especially useful if you are playing on a desktop or laptop. You can also play from your smartphone via partypoker mobile app. The app is fast and works smoothly, however, multi-tabling is going to be harder. Therefore, we recommend it for Sit&Go and fast-fold poker.
Here are the main reasons why we recommend partypoker as an alternative to PokerStars:
- A popular brand that attracts casual players
- Rakeback each Monday
- Soft field of recreational players (softer alternative to PokerStars)
- 100s of tables in various poker formats
- Many events and qualifiers for live events
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Unibet is a unique pick on this list. Compared to the other rooms mentioned, this operator offers a completely different angle on the poker game. In general, their tables are colorful and almost cartoon-like. The action is going to be much slower and you will not find many grinders, even though there are plenty of games. Unibet is an excellent poker room if you are looking for a laid-back and fun experience in a well-balanced poker environment when playing.
As mentioned, you won’t find many grinders on this website. However, you will run into good players at medium and high stakes, but they are likely just having a laugh and taking a break from more serious competition. Unibet offers cash games, single table tournaments, and MTTs. The rake system according to the weight-contributed system is very friendly to the micro stakes players. Unibet also has a multi-level loyalty program where you can get up to 51% rakeback. It also offers a nice welcome bonus of $200.
Here are the main reasons why we recommend Unibet as an alternative to PokerStars:
- Attractive in-game client and design
- A very soft field due to a lack of pros
- “Unibet Open” qualifiers
- Well-developed and fully functional mobile app
There is no doubt that GGPoker, partypoker, and Unibet have all grown and improved over the last couple of years. In general, they offer a more laid-back and recreational experience when compared to PokerStars. As mentioned previously, there are going to be regulars in these poker rooms, but their attitude is different as they are looking for a relaxed game. Therefore, all of these sites have a well-balanced poker ecosystem. So if you are looking for a break from grinding, you can be sure that GGPoker, partypoker, or Unibet will all be a great choice.
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Wrapping Things Up
As we have discussed all of the necessary details about these poker rooms the choice is all up to you. PokerStars undoubtedly have a love/hate relationship in the poker community. They should be given credit where credit is due for their big and diverse tournaments. Nothing can quite match their WCOOP and its huge guarantees. Their field is greatly populated by grinders, which can be a good thing if you are a regular who is up for a challenge.