In 2008, PokerStars launched its Italian offering. Under the law at the time, they originally only offered play-money games. However, real cash play for Italian players was legalized in 2011 – and PokerStars IT has been going strong ever since. In fact, they are now the biggest poker site in Italy by quite a margin, with over double the average player numbers of their nearest competitor.
How to sign up for PokerStars IT
The process of signing up at PokerStars IT is similar to the one on the standard PokerStars site and should only take a few minutes. However, one key difference is that you must provide a valid Italian fiscal code. This means that if you are not from Italy, you will not be allowed to register an account with PokerStars IT.
Other than that, registration follows the usual guidelines. Just remember that as usual with online gambling sites, PokerStars will ask for identification when you request a withdrawal. So make sure you input correct and accurate information the first time in order to avoid a hassle further down the line.
Bonuses at PokerStars.IT
There are fewer promotions at PokerStars IT than there are at PokerStars EU, but the former still has a more-than-decent selection. The standard first deposit bonus on offer here is 100 percent up to €1,000. This sounds absolutely fantastic at first, but the catch is the bonus money is released fairly slowly.
You get five redemption points for every €1 you spend on tournament entries or pay in rake fees, and when you reach 80 redemption points your account will be credited with €5 of the bonus. So for every €16 you spend, you’ll get €5 bonus money back – a 31 percent rakeback.
You have four months in which to claim your bonus money before it disappears. You can, however, split the €1,000 over your first two deposits. Any withdrawal in-between your first and second deposit makes the second deposit ineligible for the bonus.
The second deposit bonus welcome offer available at PokerStars IT is a World Cup-themed promotion, offering two lots of €5 entry tickets to Spin & Goal (Spin & Go) tournaments and a €5 cash bonus. Split over three days, this totals €15 only – but it is a lot easier to claim than the standard welcome bonus.
PokerStars IT is consistently the biggest online poker room in Italy by traffic. With a weekly average of 600+ cash players at any one time, it beats out its nearest direct competitor (People’sNetwork IT) by nearly 200 percent. Considering the global reputation of the PokerStars brand, this is not surprising.
Any poker market they choose to compete in they will probably dominate – but PokerStars IT has a good market share even by their own standards. With 1,200+ cash players at peak times, new players and Italian poker maestros alike should have no problem finding a suitable table or tournament.
Games on PokerStars.IT
Unlike at PokerStars EU, the Italian government doesn’t heavily regulate which types of real-money poker can be offered. As a consequence, only four kinds of poker games can be played with real money on the line:
As with most poker sites, real cash No-Limit Hold‘em is by far the most popular table type at PokerStars IT. Ring games, as opposed to tournament games, start at €0.01 buy-ins and go up to €10.
Many of the most popular tables are Zoom poker, which combines multiple tables into one. As soon as you fold, which you can do before it’s even your turn to act, you’ll be seated at a new table with the same extended set of players rotating each time. Some of these tables seat 90+ players during off-peak times. If you’re a fan of Hold’em, and most poker players are, you should always be able to find a table at PokerStars IT – no matter the day or time.
Pot-Limit Omaha was the second-most popular poker variety at PokerStars IT when we checked. It had far fewer players than No Limit Hold’em, but there was always a table available even during off-peak hours. Again, buy-ins started at €0.01 and maxed out at €10.
Hi-Lo Omaha, on the other hand, seemed pretty quiet to us. There were only a few tables available and only a few solitary players sitting at them.
As far as we could see PokerStars IT did not offer any ring games of Stud poker. However, they do run daily stud tournaments which gather only a few (less than 10) players each day in our experience. Players can also play Stud varieties of poker in the 8-game mix or HORSE tournaments that are on offer daily, although these tables don’t always fill up during off-peak hours.
Mixed game action
Italian players can play HORSE for real money, as well as 8-game mix. These include games such as Razz, which Hold’em pros often deride, and Omaha Hi/Lo, which isn’t particularly popular anywhere online. These tournaments can be fairly busy at peak hours on a weekend, but don’t go in expecting much activity on weekday mornings, for example.
A wide array of tournaments is available at PokerStars IT. Saturdays are for newer players and fish – Sundays are when the big guys come out to play.
Saturday tournaments have €5 to €25 buy-ins and reach prizes of €5,000. Sundays have a barrage of tournaments, starting with (appropriately) the Sunday Starter and ending with the Sunday Special.
With a buy-in of €100 and a prize fund of €100K guaranteed every Sunday, this is Italy’s biggest weekly poker tournament. Certified excitement, if you can afford it. However – there are weekly feeder competitions for these big Sunday tournaments that can bag you cheaper, or even free, entry alongside their cash prizes.
PokerStars.IT rewards program
The PokerStars IT reward Program is almost exactly the same as the general PokerStars reward Program. However this system can be a little confusing – so it’s worth explaining briefly again here.
The StarsRewards system is built around leveling up your account by playing real-money games. Every €1 paid in rake fees gives that player 100 reward points. Every time you accrue enough points to go up a level, you’ll unlock a chest. Unlock four chests in a day and you’ll progress to the next level of chests – which cost more points but have better prizes. These start at Red and go all the way up to Platinum – for the most loyal customers only. Chests can contain:
- One-off special promotions
- Cash bonuses
- Tournament tickets
- Rewards points boosts
- Live event tickets
StarsCoins can be used to purchase tournament entry at discounted rates or purchase PokerStars merchandise, poker equipment, and more from the reward store. They can also be exchanged for cash (minimum €25) at a rate of €0.01 per coin.
Lastly, during the 2018 FIFA World Cup season PokerStars IT is also offering exclusive football chests. They appear 10 percent of the time when opening a normal chest and contain cash prizes, which increase in value as you rank up your account.
There are 11 different ways of depositing money into your account at PokerStars IT. These are:
- Ricarica Cash
- PaySafe Card
- Local bank transfer
Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill should all be instant transactions. Maestro, MasterCard, and VISA debit or credit cards might take longer. PaySafe cards and Ricarica cash have to be purchased from shops and loaded with prepaid cash. These are quite safe and are good for limiting your spending, but can be inconvenient to top up.
PokerStars IT offers significantly more withdrawal options than PokerStars EU does – in fact, seven different withdrawal methods can be used. These are:
- Wire CashOuts
- Direct Bank Transfer
Players who have previously deposited with Neteller, Skrill, or PayPal can get instant withdrawals through these same e-wallets. All other methods have a 72-hour processing period. After that, bank transfers and wire cashouts take 2-5 business days and VISA or Entropay cards may take up to 10. This is quite slow, so our advice would be to use e-wallets when you can.
Support for PokerStars.IT
PokerStars IT has a similar customer service structure to the rest of the PokerStars network – with a strong FAQ selection (in Italian and English) but no live chat or telephone support. Queries or complaints can be submitted through the customer support portal or e-mail only.