Online poker for real money has flourished in Canada over the last decade. Some of the most popular players in the world hail originally from Canada. Although many of them have migrated to the poker mecca of Las Vegas, seeing the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, Kara Scott and Evelyn Ng on poker TV shows representing their country proudly has helped develop a strong fan base for the online game. In 2010, French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel won the Main Event of the World Series of Poker for $8.9 million sparking yet another spotlight on Canadian poker talent. Quietly over the last decade, a younger generation of promising poker players has grown up and is achieving tremendous poker success. Canadian poker players like Mike McDonald, Shawn Buchanan, Cory Carroll, Glen Chorny, Owen Crowe, Sorel Mizzi and Mike Watson are winning tournaments around the world. Their success has inspired countless others to get into the game to try to follow in their footsteps.
The formula for poker success is evident in Canada. It is an educated populace with lots of time on their hands during the long hard winters to work on their game. Within a gray area in Canadian gambling legislation, poker players can play online poker games 24 hours a day, choosing from all types of poker games (i.e. tournaments, SNG’s, cash games) played at all monetary levels to suit their desired investment and risk. The choices of where to play online poker are so plentiful that in the wake of poker’s Black Friday, many established American poker players have made the move to Canada to continue their lucrative craft. Poker sites have discovered the Canadian real money poker passion and many have customized their sites to cater to Canadian poker players; whether it’s using $CAD denominations instead of the standard U.S. dollar denominations or implementing French language sites to help Quebecois develop community and comfort playing online.
Reasons for selecting an online poker room
The five biggest factors that players consider when selecting a poker site to play on are:
- Safety and Security
- Game selection and traffic
- Customer Service
- Gaming software
- Ease of Depositing and Withdrawing
Safety and Security
Canadian real money poker sites should be properly licensed by a sanctioned outside authority that monitors and ensures certain levels of financial and administrative compliance. All major poker rooms are properly licensed although the standards differ from the Isle of Man, Kahnawake, Malta or Alderney.
Game Selection and traffic
There is usually a direct correlation between a site’s traffic and the number of games they offer. Players appreciate having more tables and games to select from at various hours so they naturally gravitate to larger trafficked sites.
This is one area that poker rooms can under appreciate, but customer’s experience are often made or broken by how poker rooms respond when their customers have specific problems or issues. Poker players naturally want the poker rooms to be efficient and understanding of their playing issues and will be quite passionate about seeking a favorable solution for themselves.
Both the aesthetics of the display, its functionality, options for customization and its overall speed are big influences on players and where they play. Most sites invest heavily to ensure the playing experience is appealing, easy to navigate and swift.
Ease of Depositing and Withdrawing
Convenience is key. Players was swift and easy methods of both depositing money and withdrawing money from poker sites. Any delays or complications in the process can severely impair the player’s trust and satisfaction.
There are additional factors that players weigh in deciding on a poker room; including where their friends or poker heroes play, and what bonuses or special promotions are available.
Canadian Poker Sites for Real Money
While official Canadian law states that it is illegal to run an online poker operation inside of Canada, it is not illegal to participate in real money holdem as a Canadian citizen or resident and there is no legislation to prevent payment processors and banks from working with offshore poker sites. Therefore Canadian poker players have access to dozens and dozens of online poker rooms and enjoy swift and easy deposit and withdrawal options.
We are listing ten of the biggest, best and most trusted options in the poker world to consider when deciding where to play your next online poker game.
- PokerStars – The world’s largest poker room by a large factor, PokerStars has proven time and again that they deserve the title of most popular poker room. They offer the most games, game types, tournaments and promotions. They have responsive customer service, solid gaming software, and industry leading safety, security and ease of depositing and withdrawals. They are currently promoting their 75th billionth hand played promotion, with an expected 100th billion hand promotion scheduled for later in 2012. Incredible volume of play on this site.
- PartyPoker – Having the distinction of being the largest publicly owned poker room in the world has always meant PartyPoker provides great safety and security for players. The site has a reputation for focusing on their international clientele with various customizations. Owning the World Poker Tour over the last few years has led to some fun and inventive promotions for players. The second or third largest poker room in the world (they are in a tight ongoing race with iPoker network) ensures that they always have plenty of action going and various levels of play. Canadian players are offered the option to track their bankroll using Canadian currency instead of the standard U.S. dollars. The gaming software has improved over the years, as has the customer service.
- TitanPoker – One of the largest poker rooms on the iPoker network that battles PartyPoker for the coveted second biggest poker room designation, Titan Poker is another poker room that has the traffic, security and gaming options to suit any poker player. They offer Canadian players the option to manage their funds in U.S. dollars or $CAD making deposits and withdrawals much easier to manage. The software is fast and has nice 2D and 3D graphics available. Many good promotions and customizations make Titan Poker a good choice to play on.
- 888poker – An early pioneer of the poker boom as Paradise Poker dating from 2002, after a few years of stodgy leadership and slow dull software, the site was remade with much improved promotions and software and customers have rewarded the poker room with the largest year over year percentage gains in 2011. Now you find improved traffic, sleek graphics, quick game play and superior promotions that give away free money to play when establishing a new account. The site has a reputation for softer games than other sites with its attached casino and sports book. The loyalty rewards are very popular and customer support offers telephone, live chat and email options.
- Lock Poker – One of the most popular poker rooms on the Merge gaming network, Lock has marketed to a young demographic with respected young poker pros like Chris Moorman, Casey Jarzabek, Melanie Weisner, Jason Young and Leo Margets the face of the site. The traffic is medium sized but growing and the software is middle of the road. They offer numerous promotions and bonuses to encourage real money play on their site.
- Bodog – The long standing sports betting and casino site offers a poker room as well. Over the last couple years, Bodog has developed new gaming software that makes your play more anonymous to thwart player tracking and using player history when selecting opponents. It will be interesting to see how poker players respond to these changes as the poker traffic and gaming options on Bodog have been more limited than on some larger sites. The historical playing atmosphere has typically been one of wilder than average play due to the heavy sportsbook focus.
- Bet365 – A large betting and casino site that also offers a poker room. They are aligned with the iPoker network, ensuring the stability and traffic of a large poker network. The site is popular in the U.K. and has customized the site for Canadian players to allow you to deposit and withdraw with Canadian Dollars.
- Cake Poker – This medium to smaller sized poker room is part of the Cake Network originally created in 2004. The software is solid and graphically pleasing. The site has had an inconsistent history in terms of promotions, customer service, and security, but has weathered through the years to become a reasonable option for players looking to have a different poker experience than playing on the big handful of poker sites where all the regulars play.
- Betfred – For those that also enjoy sportsbetting and casino games like blackjack, Betfred is a good option for Canadian poker players who want easy depositing and withdrawals in Canadian dollars. The site is also on the iPoker network ensuring sizable traffic and security.
- Minted Poker – The smallest of the ten listed poker rooms, Minted poker is located on the Everleaf Network. The site has lesser traffic, but a trusted history and reasonable software. The site offers Texas Hold’em geared to newer players. There are numerous freerolls and promotions geared to the smaller limit player with a less intimidating environment. The traffic is less than many other sites, but the software is solid and the play is more fishy than most other sites. One of the best destinations to play online poker for real money in Canada.