Why ACR Poker is gradually gaining more popularity than Pokerstars

Why ACR Poker is gradually gaining more popularity than Pokerstars

Over the past few years, America's Cardroom (ACR) has steadily grown in popularity among online poker players in the United States. At the same time, industry giant Pokerstars has seen its reputation decline due to its exit from the American market in 2011 and controversial business practices. There are several reasons why ACR is becoming a preferred option over Pokerstars for American poker enthusiasts:

ACR remained in the US market

When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006, it forced many American online poker sites to leave the American market. However, ACR (then known as Doyles Room) chose to stay and focus on providing an online poker offer specifically tailored for Americans. This established goodwill and loyalty among players in the States. Meanwhile, Pokerstars abruptly closed US player accounts on “Black Friday” 2011 due to threats of Federal prosecution. This tarnished Pokerstars reputation among its American customer base.

Weakened poker Ecology Benefits ACR

Pokerstars held a dominant position in online poker's “poker ecology” in the 2000s. But the departure left a vacuum in the ecosystem. ACR moved into this space, gaining market share and improving its products. Today, despite Pokerstars again New Jersey and Pennsylvania recently, reinforced his absence at the national level over the past ten years platforms like ACR across America.

Robust tournament schedule

ACR runs the most active tournament schedule for American players. It provides a multitude of guaranteed prize pool (GPP) events, including a $1 million weekly GPP. In addition, it runs special event series such as Online Super Series, Online Series Leaderboards and various live tournament packages. This bustling tournament ecology suits both casual players and aspiring pros alike. In contrast, Pokerstars USA limits players to only NJ and PA – limiting its tournaments.

Lucrative Rewards Program

The ACR rewards program gives players 27.5% rakeback along with bonuses and promotions. In addition, new players can claim a 100% first time crypto deposit bonus up to $1000. Such incentives benefit low-stakes reels and attract more recreational players. Although Pokerstars has a long-running rewards program, it pales in comparison for US players due to the limited reach of Pokerstars at the moment.

Wider range of games

ACR distributes games such as pot limit Omaha, Omaha hi / lo, 7 card stud, and mixed poker variants in addition to regular No limit Texas hold 'em. They appeal to players who are looking for more poker game variety. Currently, Pokerstars NLHE offers cash games and tournaments primarily to fit its smaller player pools in NJ and PA. Expansion of gaming variety seems unlikely there in the near future.

Cryptocurrency Support

ACR processes deposits and withdrawals 60+ cryptocurrencies in addition to regular payment options. This provides additional flexibility and privacy. Pokerstars does not use crypto, only traditional banking methods. For American players wary of strict anti-gaming financial regulations and bureaucracy, ACR holds an advantage in offering bitcoin transactions.

Recreational player Friendly

ACR actively promotes a “fish-friendly” environment catering for casual poker enthusiasts through various measures such as limiting heads-up tables and limiting the use of certain tracking software. This approach attracts more new players and discourages pros from preying on recreational players. Although Pokerstars claims to have a recreational player friendly ecology, many still accuse it of indifference to regs aimed at weaker players.

Aggressive expansion

Winning poker network, which operates ACR, has been aggressive in its development plans recently. It struck deals for power poker rooms in casinos in Las Vegas and expand in Latin America. Such an expansion indicates the long-term ambition to one day rival the scale of Pokerstars. In comparison, Pokerstars content seems currently boxed in NJ and PA with no fixed national plans. The global withdrawal of dozens of trademarks also tarnished its image.

Controversies surrounding Pokerstars

Over the years, Pokerstars has attracted many controversies – from insider cheating scandals to recent accusations of operating virtual casino-like games while classifying them as poker variants. Such problems undercut player confidence. ACR meanwhile maintains relatively transparent operations and consistent product focus on poker. This inspires confidence in their brand integrity.

While Pokerstars maintains higher brand recognition at the moment thanks to its years as the #1 online poker room, recurring problems plague its reputation while America's Cardroom remains laser focused to capture the American online poker market. With the momentum accelerating, ACR seems poised to establish itself as the dominant player in this lucrative market. While dethroning Pokerstars seems completely unlikely given its vast resources and scale, ACR dominating America seems a realistic possibility in the 2020s.


Through a combination of focus on the American online poker market and catering well for recreational players, America's Cardroom has rapidly grown its player base and casino traffic over the past ten years. Its expansion plans, cryptocurrency support and aggressive rewards further strengthen its appeal.

At the same time, the exit of Pokerstars from America during 2011-2018 has greatly damaged its brand appeal and the confidence of players in this lucrative market. The limited re-entry later in a few states paled against America Cardroom's national presence. Ongoing controversies also undermine the reputation of Pokerstars.

As America's Cardroom continues to improve its products, launch live poker room partnerships, expand into Latin America and maintain its friendly approach to recreational players – it appears poised to cement itself as the #1 US-focused online poker site. Pokerstars seems to have missed the boat for American online poker dominance due to its blinkered strategy over the past ten years. Although its wider global brand recognition currently persists, the rise of America's Cardroom reflects how Pokerstars is slowly but surely losing its popularity and player base to this ambitious rise in its home territory.

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