Recommended Poker Sites
Welcome to our extensive guide for the best online poker sites in Canada. Our team of poker experts at CasinoSource.ca brings you an overview of poker games and rules, reviews of the best poker sites and the biggest online poker bonuses and offers for 2021. Whether you are an experienced poker player, or a newbie just looking to learn the game – read our complete guide and start your poker adventure now!
With online poker enjoying a new surge in popularity, there is a huge array of poker sites in Canada to choose from. But of course, not all online poker sites were created equal. So instead of listing every poker room available to Canadian players, our CasinoSource.ca team has put together a list of the best ones:
Canada’s Most Trustworthy Poker Sites
There are many different things to consider when choosing the best online poker room. As safety and security are a top priority, the trustworthiness of an online poker site is a key factor in every poker site we review.
Our experts put together a list of the best, most trustworthy poker sites in Canada that let you play poker for free and real money. Use our site to find general ratings, the poker site’s specific advantages and its licensing information. You can browse through the online poker bonuses available in 2021 and click further to read our in-depth expert reviews to find the best online poker site for you.
Having played and reviewed hundreds of online poker sites, we only bring you the best sites and most generous bonuses found in Canada. We constantly update our guide with new sites and bonuses, so bookmark this page and visit us regularly to stay up to date with the latest online poker news and offers.
Choosing the Best Online Poker Sites
Back in the days, the game of poker was usually played by hardened, professional gamblers. However since invented in the 1800s, poker was transformed to become both a professional sport and favourite pastime for casual gamblers. Today, poker is one of the most popular forms of online gambling in Canada and around the world.
British players are spoiled for choice with plenty of online poker rooms from the industry's top-rated gambling operators. Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of poker, but there are plenty of versions for those who want their poker fast, or for those looking for a more relaxed game. If you’re a poker player who's looking to learn the game for free, or play online poker for real money and win big prizes, you will find this 2021 expert guide to Canadian internet poker sites extremely useful.
With a wide selection of top online poker rooms to choose from, there are many aspects our poker experts at CasinoSource.ca consider before recommending a poker room. The best online poker sites compete with each other by offering different poker games, innovative software and generous bonuses. Many of the biggest and best Canada poker sites are even creating their own poker versions and tournaments.
The variety of tournaments and games, quality of software, player traffic, bonuses and freerolls – all separate the top-rated poker sites from the rest. As player traffic and tournaments are a major part of an online poker experience, you should also think about the site’s player community. This will directly affect the variety of available game tables, prize pools and what incentives are offered. For example, some poker sites offer satellite tournaments to land-based events, where the prizes will include travel tickets and expenses for participation in the tournament finals.
Poker Promotions and Bonuses
- A key factor that attracts most online poker players is the promotions and bonuses that are given to new and returning players. The biggest bonuses are usually offered upfront to new players, with sites awarding generous bonuses on your first deposits. Some poker sites will give you bonuses just for signing up and creating an account.
- It is also important to consider bonuses that poker sites give to returning players, as these are awarded for loyalty and can pay handsome rewards in the long run. So look for sponsored tournament entrees, rake-backs, subsequent deposit bonuses, loyalty programs, etc.
Online Poker Traffic
- The more player traffic a poker site has, the bigger variety of games and tournaments it has to offer. Large poker sites can host thousands of online poker players at a given time. So you can find an endless number of tables offering cash games and tournaments, different stakes and prizes, etc. Larger poker sites are also considered to be more established and offer more innovative features and sometimes better customer service.
- However, there are also advantages to playing at smaller poker sites. Some online poker players prefer the tight-knit player community and more personal customer support they receive at smaller poker rooms.
- With poker being a community game that involves an element of skill, more experienced players stand a better chance to win money off beginners. When looking for the best online poker site, it is important to consider your level of skill and poker experience. So you can choose a poker site that has the right level of competition for you. While some large sites and networks are known to have many experienced, poker savvy players, there are smaller sites that would usually offer lower stakes and therefore attract novice and intermediate players.
- Some online poker sites tend to offer just the most popular poker games. Usually, this includes the vastly popular No-Limit Texas Hold’em and in some cases Pot-Limit Omaha. However, some sites are known for offering a wider selection of variants such as Razz Poker, Seven Card Stud, Chinese Poke, Caribbean Stud Poker and more.
- If you just like to play Texas Hold’em as many players do, you are spoiled for choice and should probably not consider in your search more game variations. However we strongly recommend you explore new games. Not only can it be great fun, but perhaps you can become an expert and find a winning strategy in a poker game that has considerably less skilled competitors.
- The best online poker sites offer a huge array of tournaments for players at all levels. Tournaments are a great way to interact with other players and become part of the poker community, as poker is a social game after all. It is also a great way to develop your poker skills and strategy in a real-game environment. Poker tournaments provide the excitement of competition, leader boards and of course big prizes for winners.
- There are different types of tournaments including scheduled tournaments and Sit & Go tournaments that start as soon as a table fills up with players. There are also Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs) that attract hundreds, and sometimes thousands of players. Satellite Tournaments will allow you to qualify for major poker competitions that sometimes end with a live event. We named only a few, but there are many more exciting kinds of tournaments available to Canadian online poker players.
- If you do not feel like waiting for a table to fill up for a Sit & Go tournament, or do not want to spend a tournament buy-in amount, cash games are a great way to dive into poker action right away. Cash games are more casual and do not require players to spend large amounts at the table. This is why many novice online poker players prefer playing cash games until developing their skills further to then join tournaments.
- Our experts at CasinoSource.ca always look for online poker sites that provide a variety of cash games to include No-Limit and Fixed-Limit bets games, more types of betting options and of course a large number of cash tables available at any given time.
Online Poker Software and Poker Networks
- One of the most important factors of the online poker experience is of course the software and site structure. Starting with reliability and connectivity, imagine playing at a cash table or tournament where the software disconnects or freezes just as you are about to raise your bet or fold.
- However reliability is not the only element to consider when looking for the best online poker site. Poker gameplay experience will also depend heavily on design and features. Another key factor is whether the poker site you are considering is part of a network with many more players joining from different sites, or a standalone poker operator that caters only to its own players. While some players prefer the large traffic a network brings, others like to be part of a specific poker community that enjoys exclusive tournaments and features of one site.
Poker Room Features
- Some online poker rooms have a stable platform that is easy to use and offers no thrills, whilst others pride themselves on unique features and innovation. There are sites with snap-cam avatars, 3D tables, personalised game function keys, in-game dashboards and more unique features. While some players prefer the straight-forward poker experience, others use new features to take their poker gameplay to a whole new level. When looking for the best online poker site for you, consider which type of site will provide you with the best poker experience.
- The ability of an online poker room to provide a uniform experience across platforms and devices is extremely important. Additionally, the main desktop client, most Canadian online poker sites provide an instant-play poker client that is accessible through a mobile-device browser. The leading poker sites in Canada also offer mobile poker apps that are easy to use and responsive. Apps are available for Andriod, iOS and some for Windows Phone operating systems. So whether you are looking to play poker on a PC, Mac, mobile device or perhaps even alternate between a few devices – always check the poker site’s compatibility across platforms. Most online casinos will have a mobile casino platform which supports poker play.
Sign Up Process
- The sign up process for Canadian online poker sites is pretty much standard these days, as all MGA licenced sites must do an account verification for new users. Still, some poker rooms let you sign up very quickly and easily with just a few required steps, whilst others ask for more information and details in a process that can be a bit tedious. All the online poker sites we recommend on CasinoSource.ca have a swift, easy and intuitive sign up process.
- Your safety and security is our primary concern when reviewing and recommending online poker sites. We therefore only list on CasinoSource.ca poker sites that are fully licenced by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). These sites are 100% legal and comply with the highest standards of encryption, security, safe gambling and fair play.
- Many online poker players rate their entire gameplay experience based on the quality of customer support they receive on the site. When reviewing poker sites, we always look at all the support methods available (e.g. FAQ section, email, phone, etc.) and contact the agents to see how professional and helpful they are. We also consider the site’s hours of support and response times.
Most Popular Online Poker Games 2021
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most popular poker game online, and probably offline as well is Texas Hold’em. Omaha Poker comes in distant second place, but Stud Poker and other game variations also have their legion of fans. Following are some of the most popular poker variations, as well as niche poker games that are gradually gaining traction with online poker players:
- Texas Hold’em: The most recognised version of the game which is estimated to capture over 80% share of all poker played online. Hold’em Poker is played by the best players in the world in the World Poker Series Main Event, among other tournaments.
- Omaha: A great game for you to try if you are a fan of Texas Hold’em. With each player receiving 4 hole cards instead of 2 as in Hold’em, this is an action-packed game which draws many players, especially for Pot-Limit Omaha.
- Casino Hold’em: A relevantly new game in poker history which dates back to the 1990s but quickly earned its popularity in online casinos . The rules are pretty similar to Texas Hold’em Poker and the hand rankings are identical. The biggest difference is that you don’t play against other players, but rather your goal is to beat the dealer like in most other casino table games.
- Seven Card Stud: It was one of the most popular games in America a few decades ago. If you played Texas Hold’em before, it will take some time getting used to. There are no community cards and it’s almost always played with fixed betting limits. Though it's a challenging version of poker that takes time to master, it rewards good memory and skill.
- Razz: A lowball poker game which means the card and hand rankings are the opposite of Texas Hold’em. The goal in Razz is to get the lowest-ranking hand according to traditional poker. Razz is easy to learn and has a slow, relaxed game pace. It is mostly popular amongst older players and poker purists.
- Five Card Draw: The classic version of poker that reminds of Texas Hold’em but with some key differences. Five Card Draw is played with a dealer button and blinds just like Hold’em, but there are no community cards. It is relatively easy to learn, but there are a lot of mind games and strategy involved in this poker variant.
- Red Dog: A fast-paced banking game (where you play against the dealer) in which two cards are dealt face up, and the player bets on whether the third card will rank between the first two cards dealt. Red Dog Poker has several game variations such as Shoot, Slippery Sam and Polish Red Dog.
- Three Card Poker: An easy game to learn that is liked by players of all skill levels. There are two ways to play it: an Ante Play where you play against the dealer and a Pair Plus where you place a bet on whether you are dealt a pair or not.
- 2-7 Triple Draw: Another fun lowball poker game where the goal is to make the best possible five-card low hand. Online poker players love this game because it’s a fun way to spice things up when Texas Hold’em gets a bit redundant. It’s also a great game for bluffing and playing mind games.
- Chinese Poker: A game that is very different than normal poker and takes time to learn and master. Still, it’s a great game of skill and many players say it’s worth the effort. Chinese Poker is played with four players, where each is dealt 13 cards and needs to arrange them into three different poker hands. Once learned, it’s a game with a lot of action and strategy.
- Live Dealer Poker: If you play poker online because of convenience, but still miss buzz of the land-based casino floor, Live Dealer Poker is for you. It lets you join a poker table and watch the dealer and table streamed to your computer screen or mobile device in real-time. As the name suggests, Live Dealer Poker is usually offered for variations such as Casino Hold’em where you play against the dealer. The best poker sites have an extensive live dealer section with poker, blackjack and many other live casino table games on offer.
Freeroll in poker refers to the situation where you never lose, but still stand a chance to win. Freerolls are a great way to join poker tournaments, as you will not be charged any entry fees but still have chances to win prizes. Some online poker sites also offer freeroll hands which guarantee that you split the pot if you and another player have a winning hand. But there’s also an additional draw component (e.g. certain cards dealt) which can let you win the entire pot.
Pot Limit, No Limit, Fixed Limit - What’s the Difference?
The wagering structure differs between poker game variations, tables and tournament structures. In order to better understand the differences, it’s important to first know the basic terms:
- In Pot Limit poker games, as the name suggests your bets are limited to the amount of money in the pot.
- In a No Limit game of poker, you can bet at any stage of the game on part of, or all the chips you own.
- In Fixed Limit games, you can raise the stakes to a pre-set amount that is defined for the table or tournament you are playing at.
Poker Strategies and Learning the Game
Poker is a great game that combines luck, skill and strategy. Beyond understanding the basic rules and fundamentals of the game, learning poker depends solely on the player and how he/she wants to develop and implement their strategy. You can develop your own style of play which suits your personality: whereas some players are happy to take risks at the table, others are risk-averse and calculated.
While aggressive players tend to constantly bet, raise the stakes and put other players under pressure, passive players will call or fold until they have a promising hand – but there is no one winning strategy. The following are a few popular strategies and tactics:
- Loose: Continue playing with weaker hands and rarely fold.
- Tight: Avoid weaker hands and fold often to avoid major losses.
- Passive: Play a lot of hands and make frequent calls.
- Aggressive: Try to intimidate and confuse players by raising stakes often.
- Position: Use the seating order around the table by taking advantage of later hands.
- Bluff/Deception: Try to act differently than how you normally would when you see/play your actual cards.
The Rules of Poker
Although the rules between poker variants differ, there are some similar fundamentals across all types of poker games. Once the initial cards are dealt, players are expected to react by placing bets. In Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker, these are known as Small Blinds and Big Blinds. If there is no bet placed in the current round a player can check, or forfeit his/her hand by folding. A standing bet can be matched by a call. When a player raises, you are expected to match the bets which have increased in value. Rules then differ between poker variations, with a few examples below:
- Rules for Texas Hold’em Poker: Each player gets two hole cards dealt face down with five face up community cards to make a five-card hand.
- Rules for Omaha Poker: This poker game uses four cards per player instead of the two used in Texas Hold’em, but at least two of those need to be used along with the three community cards.
- Rules for Stud Poker: Players start with three cards: one face up and two face down. Three other cards are then dealt face up and the seventh card is dealt face down. The aim is to end with the best five-card hand, as there are no community cards dealt in this game.
- Rules for Razz Poker: Similar to Stud Poker, this game has a seven-card draw and the same dealing pattern, except this time it’s the lowest five-card hand that wins the pot, so the best hand would be A-2-3-4-5 (a 'wheel').
Comparing Texas Hold’em vs Omaha vs Stud
Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud poker have some similarities but where they differ is in the number of cards dealt to each player. Stud is a little more challenging than the other two poker games because of the cards some of the players receive are dealt face up. This means competing players can see a few of your cards from the start, thus shaping their next moves. Each version still holds the element of bluffing but with Stud, there's a twist because the competing players can have a glimpse into your game plan.
Payment Methods Available at Online Poker Sites
The best online poker sites in Canada offer a variety of payment methods that enable you to deposit funds and withdraw winnings quickly and easily. Methods include traditional bank and wire transfers, e-Wallet and other online banking methods, pre-paid cards and more. Some online gambling sites also let you pay by phone.
Deposits are usually instant and withdrawal processing times may take a few days depending on the method used. All payment methods, including the likes PayPal, used on MGA licenced poker rooms are safe and 100% legal. It is still recommended to check the terms and conditions of each payment method for limits, processing times and possible fees.
Legal and Trusted Poker Sites
Online gambling is regulated and legal in Canada. This includes poker sites that must be licenced by the MGA for them to offer a legal form of online gambling. To obtain an MGA licence a poker site needs to go through strict background checks. Once the licence is granted, each poker room must comply with the government policies and regulations.
Many online poker sites in Canada became household names that certainly guarantee a safe and secure online gaming experience. These sites use state-of-the-art encryption to ensure player protection during any and all financial transactions as well during gameplay. Beyond the MGA licence, many poker rooms go through external testing and auditing by third-party companies such as eCOGRA. These stamps of approval mean that the site uses a random number generator (RNG) that ensures fair play. Always look for the license number and other certifications at the bottom of the poker site, and only play in licenced sites which are legal and provide a safe gambling environment.
Top Poker Software Providers in Canada
There are many different options for playing poker online in Canada. Some sites provide their own proprietary software that lets you play against fellow players that are visiting the same site. the most famous online gambling operators in the world.
There are also poker sites that are part of a network which lets players from many different poker sites play against each other on the same tables. One example is Playtech’s iPoker network which sets a high standard in online poker with a huge community and a variety of classic and modern poker games.
Starting with desktop clients, poker sites offer browser instant-play versions. There are also poker rooms that offer a downloadable client that gives you access to their poker lobby, rooms, tables and features. Many poker sites provide an instant-play browser client that is accessible through any mobile device, and some also offer a poker app that is available for Android and iOS systems.
Final Words on Playing Poker Online
Online poker has many great advantages, the most obvious being that you can enjoy 24/7 poker action from wherever you are. You can find poker games that suit your speed of play and your budget in no time. Plus, there’s a huge selection of tables to choose from compared to brick-and-mortar casinos. What’s more, you can find Freeroll tournaments so you can enjoy poker action without buying in with real money. You get to play against people from all over and they don’t get to suss out your poker face!
Although poker requires skill, always remember that luck has a big part of the game and it is therefore considered gambling. Set times and spending limits for playing and keep a close eye on your bankroll. Always gamble responsibly, so you can keep coming back and safely enjoy great games of poker at the tables.
Which is the best poker site?
- There are many different kinds of poker sites that vary by the game variants offered, software, tournaments and more. Read our reviews and find the poker site that is best for you based on your preferences.
Which poker site has the most players?
- The amount of players on different poker sites changes during different days, hours, across regions, etc. PokerStars and IDNPoker are considered two of the biggest sites and PartyPoker and 888 are also known to have a lot of players.
What is the best Android poker app?
- As the poker app is usually an extended mobile version of the poker website, choose the app based on your favourite poker room. Most apps offer similar layout and features across Android and iOS platforms.
Can I play online poker professionally?
- There are many professional poker players that have started their career by playing online. You can develop your poker skills to a professional level, however keep in mind there is always an element of luck – so always gamble responsibly.
How do I win real money playing online poker?
- Winning in poker takes practice, skill, strategy and of course luck. To win real money playing online poker, sign up to one of our recommended poker rooms and make use of available resources, bonuses and Freerolls to practice. Then gradually advance through cash games and tournaments that suit your level of skill.
Is online poker legal in Canada?
- Yes it is. All the poker sites that we feature on CasinSource.ie are licensed by the MGA and are therefore 100% legal in Canada.
How good is the software at the top Canadian poker sites?
- The top Canadian sites invest millions of pounds in updating and innovating their software every year. This includes constant upgrades to both desktop and mobile versions, providing Canadian poker players with the latest technologies and a world-class poker experience.
Can I trust poker sites in Canada?
- Yes, all poker sites in Canada are fully legal and licensed by either the UKGC or the MGA.
Can players from the US play at poker sites in Canada?
- No they cannot. The US government regulates online poker by individual state. Therefore US players can only play online poker in the state they are in (if it’s legal) and cannot play legally in Canadian sites.