Did you know that the first online poker room was created in 1998? Since then, poker has become one of the most played online casino games, with hundreds of millions of players across the globe.
Most online casinos offer at least a few poker varieties, making it easy to scratch that itch at any establishment—but you should still choose where you play carefully. Playing at an unregulated, shady casino means risking your money and personal information.
This guide will give you a few suggestions on where you can play the best online poker in Canada. We’ll also explain the factors we considered while evaluating these establishments so you can always recognize a respectable online casino and avoid scammers.
How To Choose the Best Online Poker Websites in Canada
Our list of Canada’s best online poker sites only contains vetted, reputable venues—you won’t go wrong playing at any of them. We still recommend you learn how to evaluate online poker sites yourself. New establishments appear all the time, and you should be equipped with the necessary knowledge for making an informed choice.
We use the following criteria to determine the quality of an online casino website:
- User experience
- Playthrough requirements
- RTP rates
- Casino licenses
- Independent audits
- Available payment methods
- Game library
- Digital security
- Customer support
- Data privacy
One of the most obvious signs of a high-quality online poker site is an excellent user experience (UX). Considering the amount of visual content online casinos present to players, a well-designed user interface is always a competitive advantage.
That’s why the most legitimate (and most successful) iGaming venues always invest in top-notch UX. Shady casino sites don’t put as much care into their presentation because they’re not looking to maintain a loyal player base in the long run.
In practice, this means you should only play at online casinos with a well-designed website. Check if the site is easily navigable, with clearly labelled sections and visible links. Your player profile section is paramount—all the options related to your account should be present and accessible.
Compatibility with various devices is also vital. Modern websites are designed with smartphones and tablets in mind because over half of all Internet traffic comes from portable devices. Plenty of poker enthusiasts prefer playing their favourite game on the go—which is why most reputable online casino sites are also available on mobile devices.
In some cases, they even have dedicated Android and iOS apps, but this isn’t always necessary. Websites that follow the principles of responsive design can adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions without a separate app, making them equally functional across various devices.
Wagering requirements, also known as playthrough requirements, are an essential metric while evaluating any casino website.
Most of these websites run regular player campaigns, often involving casino money given to eligible punters. While you can use these funds for betting, they usually come with certain requirements you have to complete before making a withdrawal.
These requirements are designed to stop punters from withdrawing casino funds without making any bets with them. They’re called playthrough requirements because they’re usually expressed in a certain number of playthroughs—the number of times you must bet with the amount of money you’ve received before requesting a withdrawal.
Let’s say that a poker site offers $200 in casino money during a campaign with a 20x wagering requirement. To make a withdrawal, you’d need to bet with $4,000 first.
The calculation is often more complicated in practice because different games might contribute to your playthrough count unequally. For instance, video poker titles might contribute only 20% to your playthrough count, meaning that bets of $100 would only increase your playthrough count by $20.
Playthrough contributions might differ between individual poker titles, too. While Jacks or Better might contribute 20% to your wagering requirements, a title like Loose Deuces could contribute 50%.
Always play at establishments with reasonable wagering requirements. It’s worth keeping in mind that playthrough requirements only apply as a measure of fairness if you participate in casino campaigns. There’s another crucial fairness metric applicable to all casino games—the return-to-player (RTP) rate.
Return To Player Rates
Predicting the outcome of a single wager on any casino game is impossible—provided its rules are fair and the players or casino aren’t cheating.
However, you can predict the percentage of all bets that players will win as an aggregate—the amount of money that they’ll collectively win back in the long run. This percentage is called the return-to-player rate, and it’s calculated by dividing the total amount of money received by winners by the total amount of all the wagers.
Let’s say that all players who ever played a specific video poker title have collectively bet $1,500 on it, and won a total of $1,350. The RTP rate of that game would be 1,350 divided by 1,500, or 0.9. When expressed as a percentage, that is a 90% RTP rate.
You can calculate the RTP rate for any casino game, but the calculation is more complicated for skill-based games like poker or blackjack. In such games, your game strategy can affect the outcome, even in the long run.
As a player, your goal should be wagering on titles with the highest possible RTP rate. With poker, iGaming regulators calculate a theoretical RTP based on the game’s rules and provide casinos with an acceptable deviation rate in a given time period. If inspections show that the casino payouts have gone outside the acceptable deviation margins, the operator risks losing their gaming license.
If you opt for video poker, you should also consider the game’s volatility besides the RTP rate. Based on this metric, we categorize video poker titles as either:
- High-volatility games, with rare and large payouts
- Low-volatility games, with frequent and smaller payouts
Unlike the RTP rate, this is a subjective value which you should consider according to your personal playstyle. Keep in mind that regular online poker does not entail such categorization.
While there are many ways to determine a casino’s legitimacy, no criteria are as important as the casino’s legal status. Even though most online casinos serve a diverse global audience, each venue has a home country—the place where its operator is registered as a business.
Only play at online casinos with a valid, up-to-date gaming license from its home country. Many online establishments also have licenses issued by other gaming authorities from around the world.
Gaming regulations are different from country to country—some places are liberal about online and in-person gaming, while others prohibit or restrict betting. That’s why some countries have emerged as safe havens for the industry—Malta is an excellent example.
Before making your first deposit at an online casino, check its website for credentials that show you’re playing at a legal establishment. Take a look at the table below to learn about some of the world’s most reputable iGaming regulators:
|Malta||Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)|
|Isle of Man||Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (ISGSC)|
|United Kingdom||United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)|
|Gibraltar||Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC)|
|Curaçao||Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB)|
|Sweden||Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA)|
|Alderney||Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)|
In Canada, two provincial regulators issue iGaming licenses:
While their official jurisdiction is limited to their home provinces of Ontario and Quebec, players from the rest of Canada also follow these regulators’ instructions while researching online casinos.
While checking a casino’s RTP rates for various games is important, doing so as a player is often impractical. Many casinos don’t display the RTP rates of their available titles on their websites—and even if they do, who’s to say if the establishment is honest about the rates?
That’s why third-party auditors thoroughly check the gaming conditions at various online casinos, issuing certifications to establishments that meet their standards. Among other things, the auditors check:
- RTP rates for all games
- Casinos’ security
- Withdrawal request processing
When a reputable auditor issues its certificate of validity to an establishment, you can be sure that their games have fair RTP rates and that your deposited funds and shared data are safe with the venue. You’ll also know that the withdrawal process is player-friendly and reasonably fast.
After gaming licenses from the appropriate government regulator, these auditor certificates are the second most important credential of any online casino.
Bear in mind that these audits are performed by private companies—only trust certificates issued by reputable auditors known in the iGaming industry. Some scammers invent fake auditors and create “certificates” that falsely confirm their casino websites as legitimate.
To avoid this, here’s a list of iGaming auditors you can trust:
- Technical Systems Testing (TST)
- Bellamy, Miller and Monypenny (BMM) Testlabs
- Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)
- eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA)
- iTech Labs
There are other legitimate auditors as well, but check if they have the appropriate ISO certification before trusting their assessments.
Available Payment Methods
Depending on your personal finance habits, you probably have a preferred payment method for your iGaming activities. The majority of legal and legitimate online casinos try to offer the greatest possible variety of payment methods as a way of ensuring a better player experience. A wide range of available payment methods also provides more credibility to the establishment.
Most casinos support some of the following banking options:
- Apple Pay
- Gift cards and other prepaid cards
- Various credit and debit cards
- Pay N Play
- Bank transfers
Bear in mind that some of these payment methods are only available for withdrawals or deposits. For instance, you can’t make withdrawals via gift cards.
Apart from the variety of available payment methods, there are three other payment-related factors to consider:
- Withdrawal limits
- Processing times
- Transaction fees
Venues with high withdrawal limits are preferable, especially if you intend to use a payment method that comes with additional fees. A higher withdrawal limit means you won’t have to break up your withdrawal into multiple individual transactions, potentially saving you some money on processing fees.
Fraudulent casinos often try to avoid paying out by prolonging payments or delaying them indefinitely. Before making your first deposit, check the casino’s policies on processing times and read online reviews to see how they hold up in practice.
Choose establishments that don’t levy unreasonable or unnecessary fees on your preferred payment method, and compare the fees with those at other reputable venues.
As a poker enthusiast, you’re not just concerned with an online casino’s legitimacy and legality. You also want to know if the establishment offers enough poker-related content. This means a large gaming library containing a decent variety of poker titles—but also poker tournaments and poker-specific campaigns.
The quality of your betting experience will also be determined by the developers providing the casino with poker games. Here’s a list of some of the most reputable software providers in the iGaming industry:
- Pragmatic Play
- Big Time Gaming
- Relax Gaming
- Nolimit City
- Red Tiger Gaming
- Evolution Gaming
- Yggdrasil Gaming
When you pull up a casino’s game library, it’s a plus if the available titles are well-organized and easily searchable. The best online poker sites for Canadians provide a variety of filters you can use to narrow down your search to a few fitting games.
Many websites also let you try out casino games in demo mode, with virtual bets that don’t result in real winnings but allow you to test a game before wagering real money. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to do this with live poker games—demo mode is only available for games you can play against the AI.
If there’s one thing that top Canadian online poker sites have in common, it’s robust cybersecurity—a necessity, considering the personal information each online casino collects from its players.
Most third-party auditors check a casino’s cybersecurity posture before issuing their certificate, but you can also perform some basic checks yourself. When you visit the casino’s website for the first time, inspect its URL and see if there’s a small padlock icon to the left.
The padlock icon indicates that a website has a valid security certificate—most often according to the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption standard. This type of encryption protects any data you share with the casino from unauthorized access by third parties.
Besides an SSL certificate, the best online casinos use other methods to raise their security profile. Some establishments let you enable multi-factor authentication for your profile—a more secure login method than the default one, which solely relies on your username and password.
Apart from these credentials, two-factor authentication (2FA) uses an additional factor to check your identity before logging in—usually a randomly generated code that’s sent to your personal smartphone.
The fact that this code is necessary means no hacker could access your casino account even if they obtained your username and password. They’d still need access to your phone to retrieve the code, making unauthorized access exponentially more difficult.
Cybersecurity isn’t the only way a reputable online casino protects players. Many establishments also maintain visible links to mental health organizations for problem gambling, along with responsible gaming options, such as self-imposed deposit limits.
Choosing one of the best online poker sites in Canada reduces the risk of any major issues to a minimum, but there’s always a chance you might need help with something. This makes an online casino’s customer support staff a crucial benchmark of quality and credibility.
Only play at establishments whose customer support is available through different channels, including:
- Live chat
- Phone lines
- Email addresses
The most reputable poker rooms and online casinos provide access to all three options, although they might not be available simultaneously. In most cases, a casino’s phone line will only be available during local working hours.
Live chat is usually handled by a different set of customer support agents, available 24/7. The same goes for email queries, though trying the live chat function might be a better idea if you need a quick answer. Most respectable establishments try to answer emails in a 48-hour window, so use that option if you need a long-form answer that isn’t time-sensitive.
Venues that maintain a responsive customer support system show that they care about their players, which is an obvious sign of a legitimate online casino. A comprehensive FAQ page is also appreciated because it allows you to solve minor issues on your own without waiting for a response from the customer support staff.
Many punters are unaware of the massive amounts of personal data all online casinos collect from their players. It starts when you create an account and provide your basic personal information, like your full legal name and address.
The venue also collects some financial data to facilitate deposits and withdrawals, such as:
- Credit and debit card numbers
- Bank details
- eWallet information
The best online casinos in Canada must comply with international anti-money laundering laws, which compel them to confirm all players’ identities through background checks. To do this, iGaming venues cross-check the information you submitted while creating an account with your personal documents. In the process, you often have to provide scans or photos of:
- Credit and debit cards
- Utility bills
- Driver’s licenses
- National ID cards
- eWallet screenshots
- Bank statements
Besides all this personal information, iGaming establishments also collect data about your hardware and software to improve the overall user experience. This includes information about your:
- Operating system
- Other installed software
Why Are Privacy Policies Important?
Best Canadian Online Poker Sites—Our Top 8 Choices
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do your own research on the best online poker sites in Canada, we’re here to save you the trouble with a list of our top picks:
|PokerStars Casino—Visit the casino!||Poker courses |
Daily, weekly, and monthly poker tournaments
600+ table games and slots
|888 Casino—Visit the casino!||2,000+ games|
Licenses from four gaming authorities
|PartyCasino—Visit the casino!||Various poker tournaments |
1,000+ available games
Wide variety of poker, sports betting, and other casino activities
|Unibet—Visit the casino!||Different poker tournaments|
Dependable casino operator
Fair gaming environment
|BetMGM Casino—Visit the casino!||Low playthrough requirements|
Operated by famous Las Vegas casino
|ComeOn—Visit the casino!||Games by various popular developers|
1x wagering requirements
Strict regulatory oversight
|PlayOJO—Visit the casino!||Demo mode for poker games|
Extensive selection of live casino titles
Zero wagering requirements
|MansionCasino—Visit the casino!||Frequent payouts|
17 banking methods available
Agile customer support
No list of the best online poker sites in Canada is complete without PokerStars Casino—an establishment dedicated to providing one of the most complete video poker experiences on the Internet.
If you’re an experienced player looking for the widest possible variety of tournaments, you’ll fit right in at PokerStars. The venue maintains various daily, weekly, and monthly tournaments for players of all skill levels and budgets.
Fans of other casino games needn’t worry—while PokerStars is a poker-centric establishment, it provides a full online casino experience with over 600 slots and other table games.
Don’t think that PokerStars only brings value to more experienced players either, because the website regularly updates a blog section with useful poker tutorials that can help you up your game. If you need a more hands-on learning experience, the casino even provides access to mentored poker courses.
There’s only one nitpick we have about this website—its customer support is limited to a live chat function.
- Great UI design
- Largest number of tournaments
- 600+ slots
- Support only available via live chat
Since its 1997 opening, 888 Casino has retained a stellar reputation with fans of online poker and other casino games—largely based on a constant stream of popular player campaigns, a reliable casino operator, and a large selection of games.
This excellent reputation is one of the casino’s main competitive advantages, thanks to licenses from four major gaming authorities:
- Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
- Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC)
- Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
- United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Apart from its excellent business conduct, 888 Casino also attracts players with 2,000+ slots and table games—including an impressive variety of video poker titles. Players also appreciate the casino’s dependable cybersecurity measures, which include the latest encryption algorithms and standards.
While the casino maintains around half a dozen popular payment options, we have to point out that this is far from the biggest variety of banking methods you can find on this list.
- 2,000+ titles
- Long-standing reputation
- Four gaming licenses
- Small variety of banking methods
Much like our previous choice, PartyCasino is another online casino with a long-standing reputation—also dating back to 1997. Since its original launch as Starluck Casino, this establishment went through more than a simple rebranding.
PartyCasino continuously evolved, providing an ever-increasing range of iGaming activities to its players, including an excellent selection of poker activities. At some point, its poker section became large enough to warrant a separate subdomain. The result is the PartyPoker website you can visit today.
Besides the 1,000+ slots, table games, and poker varieties, PartyCasino also maintains a sports betting section and a versatile live casino segment. This wide variety of available activities is complemented by an agile customer support staff and modern web design.
All of this makes PartyCasino an equally great option for experienced punters and newcomers. The only possible downside is the fact that your PartyCasino and PartyPoker cash balances are separate, making switching between them less seamless than we’d like. However, the establishment makes up for that with a constantly changing roster of new poker tournaments on a daily basis.
- Daily poker tournaments
- 1,000+ titles
- Excellent variety of activities
- Separate balances for sports betting, poker, and other casino games
Unibet is another popular online casino that has been online since the late 1990s—proving once again that a time-tested reputation is one of the most important green flags for an iGaming establishment.
In the past few decades, Unibet has remained a positive example of a no-nonsense approach to online betting—with attractive campaigns, fair gaming conditions, and top-notch cybersecurity. The casino is registered in Malta and has a license from the dependable Malta Gaming Authority.
Besides its credentials, this establishment also attracts players with a user-friendly poker section. Before jumping into a game, you can customize your visuals and avatar and (if necessary) go through a handy poker guide for new players.
More experienced poker enthusiasts will appreciate access to Unibet Open, one of the most popular poker tournaments in the world, as well as other secondary tournaments. However, as great as the poker section is, we do feel like the number of different poker varieties could be greater.
- Various poker tournaments
- Excellent casino credentials
- Fair gaming conditions
- Low number of different poker varieties
While none of the online casinos we’ve reviewed here have a questionable reputation, the brand behind BetMGM Casino is arguably the strongest. This is the online branch of the MGM Grand, a legendary brick-and-mortar Vegas casino.
Like PartyCasino and many other online venues with a massive variety of iGaming activities, BetMGM has chosen to separate its sports betting, poker, and other games into individual website sections. However, BetMGM has made the whole experience more streamlined by connecting everything with a single casino account and cash balance, which you can use in all three sections.
As you’d expect from an operator with such a strong pedigree, BetMGM is known for extremely fast withdrawal speeds and a fair gaming environment. The wagering requirements are also some of the lowest in the industry. For some of its welcome campaigns, there are no requirements at all.
- Decent wagering requirements
- Owned by a real Las Vegas casino
- Small number of poker tournaments
Having been established in 2008, ComeOn is one of the newest venues on our list. Despite that, this online casino has as much to offer to a passionate poker player as any of the others we’ve reviewed so far.
It’s another Malta-based establishment with a gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority. Besides strong regulatory oversight, ComeOn provides one huge benefit that most players will appreciate—1x playthrough requirements on most campaigns.
If you often play with casino money, you won’t find lower wagering conditions anywhere, excluding establishments where they’re entirely absent.
The casino also entices players with a strong library of popular titles, including poker varieties from developers like Evolution, Microgaming, NetEnt, and others. You can also wind down after a dazzling round of poker with a large selection of slots.
In terms of payment options, this establishment leaves something to be desired—though all the classics are there, including the most popular credit and debit cards, eWallets, and a variety of prepaid card providers.
- 1x wagering requirements
- Excellent choice of software providers
- Dependable operator
- Lack of variety among payment options
Our penultimate pick of the draft is also one of the newest casinos we’ve reviewed—PlayOJO, which opened its virtual doors in 2017. However, this relative newcomer to the iGaming scene has quickly managed to build a solid foundation of loyal players thanks to one simple attraction—a complete absence of wagering requirements on all campaigns.
Remember how we said that ComeOn had one of the lowest playthrough requirements with 1x? PlayOJO manages to beat even that by having none. It’s also a great place to put in some poker practice without wagering real money since all the casino’s poker titles are available in demo mode as well.
Zero wagering requirements aside, PlayOJO still has a lot to offer. The establishment maintains a thrilling live casino section, along with a wide range of regular table games. If we had to nitpick about something, we’d point out that most competing casinos offer a wider selection of slots, but the ones available at PlayOJO are still top-notch.
- No wagering requirements
- Poker games available in demo mode
- Live casino section
- Small variety of slot titles
Most of the abovementioned online casinos provide a decent number of payment options, but MansionCasino is the definitive winner in that department. This establishment provides an unprecedented number of choices with 17 different banking options, ensuring that most players can pick their preferred payment method.
While the casino has technically been up and running since the early 2000s, Canadian players have been able to play at MansionCasino legally only since 2021. In a relatively short amount of time, this iGaming venue has gathered a significant following with friendly customer support staff, regular payouts, and a satisfactory variety of poker and other table games.
Customer support is available via email, phone line, and a live chat function, making MansionCasino one of the most easily reachable casinos we’ve reviewed. However, it’s worth pointing out that the phone line is available only during business hours. If you have questions at any other time, direct them via email or live chat.
- Regular payouts
- 17 different banking options
- Responsive customer support
- Phone line only usable during business hours
Fraudulent Online Poker Sites To Avoid
All the online poker sites we’ve mentioned so far are reputable, trustworthy establishments—but there are countless other choices out there, which you are free to try out. Before leaving your personal information anywhere and depositing your money, make sure to evaluate the website according to the criteria we’ve laid out above.
Stay away from websites whose campaigns seem too good to be true or those with vaguely worded terms and conditions. Here are some untrustworthy venues you should avoid:
- Extensive verifications to delay payouts
- Bans accounts to avoid payouts
- Suspiciously low RTPs
- Unknown operating company
- Unlicensed casino
- Highly-restrictive payout limits
- Rigged games
- Bans accounts to avoid payouts
- Technical issues with the website
This is by no means a complete list—there are plenty of other scammy websites out there, which is why you should check every online casino and poker thoroughly before signing up and playing.
Gambling Laws in Canada
To make an informed choice when it comes to iGaming venues, you’d do well to learn more about Canadian gambling laws. Familiarity with the relevant local regulations will help you pick legal and secure poker websites.
The emphasis is on ‘local’ because Canada doesn’t regulate online gaming on a federal level. In fact, providing online gaming services to Canadian citizens is prohibited according to the federal Criminal Code of Canada—but playing at online casinos isn’t.
The same law allows some breathing room for the iGaming industry by letting provinces regulate online casinos as their legislatures see fit. As a result, provinces like Quebec and Ontario have set up local regulatory bodies that also issue licenses to reputable off-shore casinos.
Bear in mind that the cutting-off point for underage gambling in most Canadian provinces is 19 years—you have to be 19 or older to play legally. Circumventing that limitation is practically impossible, thanks to the extensive background checks all legal casinos perform to stamp out money laundering schemes.