PokerStars is by far the largest online poker site in the world, now that Full Tilt Poker has gone offline. Poker Scout has PokerStars with an average of 26,000 cash game players online at any given time, which is far more than the 740 averaged on the Cake Poker network. That doesn’t even take into account the tournament players. For the reason that PokerStars houses about half of the total online poker population I wanted to take a look at their bonus and compare it in some ways to the Cake Poker bonus.
PokerStars offers new players a 100% matching bonus up to $600. This offer is still available for the first 3 deposits that a player makes up to the maximum $600 bonus (90 days to make the 3 deposits). Like all poker rooms, the bonus is initially placed in a pending bonus account and the player must play in tournaments and cash games to earn points in order to clear the bonus and have it released. At PokerStars VPPs are earned by playing in cash games or tournaments. You earn 5.5 points for every $1 that you pay in tournament fees or contribute in rake to a cash game pot. Every 17 points you earn gets you $1 of your bonus. This equals out to about $0.32 of your PokerStars bonus being cleared for every $1 that you pay in fees or rake to PokerStars. The bonus is paid out in $10 increments and you have 6 months to clear your bonus and any amount that is not cleared after that time will be lost. You must use PokerStars marketing code 2012 STARS600 in order to qualify for this bonus.
The 100% matching bonus up to $600 is almost exactly the same as the 110% matching up to $600 that Cake Poker offers, except that PokerStars allows the first 3 deposits made in 90 days to qualify to receive the bonus, which gives the edge to PokerStars in that category.
The Cake Poker bonus is paid out in $5 instead of $10 increments, which is a little bit better and when looking at the tournament fees (because Cake pays out points differently in cash games) Cake has the edge because you clear about $0.42 of the bonus for every $1 paid in fees, as compared to $0.32 from PokerStars.
PokerStars gives 6 months to clear the bonus though, while Cake only offers 90 days before the bonus must be cleared. This is twice as much time and for slower casual players will likely result in almost twice as much bonus.
Overall, the PokerStars bonus has some qualities that are better than Cake Poker, but their clearing requirements are slightly more strict. I would suggest playing at both sites and getting as much bonus money as you can!