Legal online gaming is now available in Ontario. Of course, much of the focus is on online sports betting, but there are still plenty of online poker sites to consider if you love this card game. You can play for cash or for fun (or both). Let’s break down everything you need to know about online poker in Canada.
Top Online Poker Sites In Ontario
There are dozens of different online poker sites you can try out if you’re an Ontario citizen. However, only some of these poker sites will be worth your time and money. Here’s a list of some of the best and safest online poker sites you can enjoy and rely on to keep your winnings safe.
PartyPoker is another popular online poker app for Canadians, especially since it’s the original online poker place for Canadian citizens. Partypoker and PartyCasino are owned by the same parent company, so there is a lot of crossover between the two sites.
Partypoker offers both real money and play money games. There are options for cash games, tournaments, fast-forward games, SPINS, and Sit and Go games. Some of the most popular options for bettors are its renowned Daily Legends and Super Sunday tournaments.
BetMGM Poker Ontario
BetMGM has secured its Ontario license and has been cleared by AGCO for an Ontario launch. It is an official legal online poker option for interested Ontarians. BetMGM is one of the first and only operators to feature sportsbook, casino, and poker platforms online in the province.
Focusing in specifically on the poker offering, BetMGM is an excellent choice. BetMGM Poker is an approachable online poker operator with cash games, Sit-N-Go tournaments, and daily and weekly tournaments.
WSOP (or WSOP.ca) may very well have the most name recognition of any poker site. After all, the World Series of Poker Main Event was really at the forefront of televised poker and remains the most popular tournament in North America. In fact, some would argue that the Main Event is responsible for ushering in the popularity that Texas Hold’Em has today.
The WSOP online platform lives up to its reputation with a great interface, smooth gameplay, and fun special events. But the biggest draw that sets WSOP apart is the face that you can earn official WSOP bracelets and even entry into the Main Event.
PokerStars is easily the biggest online poker site in Canada, and many consider it to be the best or go-to choice. It’s home to tons of popular poker tournaments and events, including Sunday Million, Zoom Poker, and WCOOP. In fact, PokerStars has more game variety than any other online poker site in Canada overall.
PokerStars was available as a grey-market site in Canada for a while. However, those in Ontario now have access to PokerStars as a licensed and regulated operator.
Other Online Poker Sites Available In Ontario
World Series Of Poker (WSOP) / GGPoker
Often abbreviated as WSOP, the World Series of Poker is one of the most popular poker organizations in all of North America, especially the United States. WSOP has secured its Ontario igaming license and is an early launch in the industry.
WSOP offers ongoing promotions, fun tournaments, and one of the largest player bases on the market. So, Ontarians should be able to find poker games with other online players during most of the week at most times of the day.
Bet365 is a multinational gambling company that also offers sports betting. It has also secured an Ontario igaming license, so it will be able to offer legal sports betting, casino gaming, and poker to Ontario bettors.
Since this app includes sports bettors and online casino players, bet365 will probably have many poker games available throughout the week at all hours of the day.
888Poker is another classic online poker site for Canadian residents, but it originally was called Pacific Poker. Ever since its redesign, 888Poker has been a major online poker force in the industry, offering fresh poker formats, such as Blast Poker and Snap Poker. 888Poker has secured its Ontario igaming license and plans to be available to users on April 4.
Online Poker Partnerships In Canada
GGPoker and WSOP have announced a partnership going into Ontario’s private igaming industry launch. Both companies are licensed in Ontario, so they’re working together to launch in April. Once the company receives final approval from iGO, GGPoker will launch under WSOP’s brand name. Players with GGPoker accounts will automatically have their accounts moved, so they don’t have to worry about signing up for a new site.
Types of Games on Legal Canadian Online Poker Sites
As you have probably noticed, online poker in Canada is a bit of a complex subject! Here’s a five-minute breakdown of legal Canadian online poker sites.
Online Poker Cash Games In Canada
Cash games are the original form of poker, so it’s no surprise that online poker apps offer plenty of cash games where you can win real-world money. Generally, online poker apps have cash games for pennies, dollars, or even a few hundred dollars.
Typically, online poker apps will offer games with two, six, or eight hands. This allows online poker players to jump into games quickly and exit just as fast if they only have time for a short session.
Different poker apps will offer different variations of the core poker game. But the most popular online poker games you can find as a Canadian include Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Omaha Hold’em, and No-Limit Hold’em. Some online poker apps may include games like Stud Poker and Draw Poker.
Canada Poker Tournaments
Online Canada poker apps also host a variety of tournaments. Tournaments give you the opportunity to win big and are usually scheduled well in advance. The majority of tournaments take place on weekends (i.e. Friday to Sunday), although some take place during other weekdays as well.
App tournaments can vary heavily in terms of buy-in level, the size or number of players included, and the speed of the games. These furthermore include Sit and Go tournaments, which are single table tournaments that allow the top three players to receive a payout. Sit and Gos are very popular with online poker apps since they are easy to jump into and don’t require a huge time commitment.
Legal Ontario Online Poker Sites Versus Unregulated Online Poker Sites
As of April, Ontario bettors will get several online poker operators that are licensed by AGCO and which operate legally. So, Ontarians have no reason not to avoid illegal online poker sites.
Illegal or sketchy online poker sites:
- Usually have poor digital security.
- May even decide to steal your funds or personal information themselves.
- Rarely offer great poker games or betting action.
- Offer small player bases.
In contrast, legal online poker apps in Ontario will feature:
- Stickers or icons at the bottom of their screens or app interfaces that mark them as regulated or overseen by AGCO or iGO
- Security policy details, which are usually available on corporate websites
- Good reviews on app databases or stores, such as the Apple Store or Google Play Store
When in doubt, look up reviews for a given online poker site and see what other players have to say about its security, quality, and legitimacy. It’s usually pretty easy to determine whether an online poker site is legit.
How Do I Know Legal Online Poker Sites In Ontario Are Fair?
Online poker can be extremely fun for Ontarians, but you have to be sure that you’re using a trustworthy, safe site so your funds or personal information aren’t stolen. Fortunately, there are a few things you can check to determine whether an online poker site is legal and fair.
Who Regulates Legal Online Poker Sites In Ontario?
For starters, make sure the poker site is regulated by an authoritative body. AGCO and iGO will regulate Ontario’s new private igaming industry. These regulators outline technical requirements and industry rules for online poker operators to follow. This ensures that consumers are protected and have online poker apps that will protect their account information, not steal their funds, and offer fair and transparent operating rules.
No matter which online poker app you decide to try, check its licensure from Ontario regulators. If Ontario has licensed it, then that poker site is trustworthy and can be enjoyed freely.
Should I Trust Legal Ontario Online Poker Rooms Or Sites?
Yes. Because these legal apps and sites have already been investigated at least once by an authoritative body, the apps and sites have been checked for:
- Digital security
- Fraud prevention
- Operating procedures
- Insurance to protect player funds from data breaches
If Ontario has awarded an online poker operator an igaming license, then that operator can be considered safe and trustworthy.
How Do I Get Paid If I Win?
Online poker apps in Ontario will allow bettors to withdraw winnings with a variety of methods.
Each poker app may have a different list of accepted withdrawal methods. Players should also expect electronic withdrawal requests to take a few business days to clear. But most legal poker apps will offer withdrawal methods like:
- ACH or bank transfers
- Credit card or debit card transfers through Visa, MasterCard, or Discover
- Bank wire transfers
- E-wallet transactions using a platform like PayPal or Skrill
- Physical checks mailed to your address
However, Ontario players will have to consult each legal poker app for its list of withdrawal methods.
Ontario Legal Online Poker FAQs
All kinds of online poker site games are legal in Ontario, ranging from cash games to tournaments to more. These include popular poker variants such as Texas Hold’em. As long as the online poker operator is licensed, it’ll be able to offer the most popular variants of poker games.
Players must be 19 or older to play poker online at a legal, licensed online poker site.
Online poker operators will pay 20% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) in taxes to Ontario.
Any online poker site can apply for an igaming license in Ontario. However, AGCO’s go-live requirements list some of the technical specifications and factors that go into awarding a license. These include security performances in previous markets.
So, an operator with a history of compliance issues could struggle to gain access to Ontario’s market. In contrast, an operator with a sterling security record and who meets the remaining requirements could secure a license much more easily.