The changing face of PokerStars

You may have heard that we recently celebrated dealing our 100 billionth hand. That wouldn't be a surprise, we didn't keep it too quiet. In fact, we gave away $1,000,000 on that one big hand amid a $5,000,000 celebration. That's great, but us guys in Poker Room Management, we're all about the experience - the actual playing of the game - and with that Mega Milestone coming up it made us think back. How, over those 100,000,000,000 hands, had the PokerStars of then become the PokerStars of now, and how could we help you get the most out of what we all work so hard on to be the best in the business?

Every month or so you'll notice that the PokerStars servers are switched on and off. This isn't just housekeeping, this is done to allow the servers and your software update with all the tweaks and improvements we make, such as the introduction of 'Star Codes' (more on that later). The most obvious change is when a new default table theme kicks in. Since 2001, not only have the look and feel of the tables changed, but also the options players have to customize their tables.

The 'Classic' theme, which many of you older grinders will remember, is called so with good reason. It was the original theme used when PokerStars opened its doors in 2001. While other themes and options were added over the years, the default didn't change until March 2010. Then again in December 2012.


The original 'Classic' theme. AceQuad went on to win this 5-card draw tournament.


The default 'Black' theme from March 2010.


The new default 'Nova' theme from December 2012.

While those big defaults were eye-opening, we had been adding different table themes and options regulalrly, but one of the biggest changes took place in 2011. The new Table Themes window was introduced, which allowed players to quickly and easily change the look of tables with a full preview. Getting the tables exactly right is a breeze. You have the option to change themes, background color, felt color, and decks.

Changing tables
Try it out yourself! Customize your tables by opening the Table Themes window. You can get there from the lobby by selecting the option menu 'View' > 'Table Themes'.


Feels like a day at the beach, using the Nova theme with the background from Marine theme.

You probably know how to change how your tables looks like already, but did you know that these options can be set up differently for individual tables and game types? If you've ever confused your Sunday Million table with a Sit & Go, you'll know how valuable this is! You may even want to change the felt color of a certain tourney table when you're near the money bubble to give it extra attention. You can do that, too.

Choosing the right table theme is important. Team Online member Felix "xflixx " Schneiders uses a simple theme so he can focus on the game. xflixx also uses a contrasting deck so he can quickly tell who's in the hand and a four-color deck to make sure he doesn't miss a flush.


Xflixx getting ready to raise with Nova Gray theme

Looking to the future
We're also just introduced 'Star Codes' which are something to keep an eye on for the future. They'll be useful for all kinds of things, but for now why not try this. Click on 'Account' > 'Enter Star Code' in the lobby drop down menu and enter 'serverrestart' (without the quotes) and you'll get advanced notice of PokerStars server restarts.

If you really want to get your techie history head on then click here to see the full PokerStars legacy of software updates.

Caleb Sheridan is a member of the PokerStars Poker Room Management team.

Caleb Sheridan
@PokerStars in PokerStars news