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Which Canadian Poker Sites do you play on? Leave your answer in the comments and help let others know where to play online poker from Canada.
Canadian Poker Sites
Where Can Canadians Play Online Poker At?
In contrast to our neighbors to the south, we as Canadians do not suffer from the limited options of residents of the United States or several other countries. In the U.S., laws pertaining to the playing of online poker are generally decided at the state level, and some states have taken action to prohibit it.
Even in states where it is not prohibited, players risk having U.S. federal authorities seize their funds, as happened during the incident known as Black Friday for instance. Right now there doesn’t seem to be much of an effort for them to do that, but it sure is nice to not have to deal with any of that nonsense as Canadians, nor have to go through long withdrawal times given the very limited banking options available to U.S. players.
Here in Canada, criminal law is all decided at the federal level, through the Criminal Code of Canada. While there are laws on the books pertaining to gambling, specifically in Section VII of the Criminal Code, what laws we do have apply to those who either take bets or facilitate taking bets in some manner, and do not apply to the actions of actual bettors.
So in a nutshell it is against the law to run certain types of betting operations in Canada but it is not against the law to bet on whatever you want, including playing online poker and partaking in other forms of online gambling as well, and as long as the site where you place your bets is outside Canada, which is the case as no poker rooms run out of here, Canadian law does not apply to these sites at all.
Unlike the U.S. Department of Justice, Canadian authorities are not hell bent on going after foreign companies who are outside their legal jurisdiction, so there’s nothing to worry about on that end either. The situation here in Canada is perfect in fact for online poker, and we also enjoy a full range of options to move money in and out of these poker sites, unfettered by any interference.
Where to play
So Where Are The Best Places To Play Online Poker For Canadians?
Given that we can play at almost any poker site online, the task of finding great poker sites for us really is a matter of just finding the best poker sites out there for you period. So among this very wide selection, we’ve simply gone out and found the 2 best poker rooms in the world that accept Canadian players, and have put together some reviews of them for you to help guide your decision.
I do want to point out though that especially since these poker rooms provide you with some nice bonuses just to give them a try, you need not limit your choice to just trying out just one of them. Each time you try a poker room that you have not played at before, you not only get paid to do it, you increase your personal knowledge of these poker sites, which in itself is a benefit.
We can only point you in the right direction here as far as recommending what we believe are the best poker sites for Canadians, and give you some of the reasons behind our decisions, but ultimately it is left to you to decide which ones you like the best. So if there is a poker room on our very short list of the best of the best that you haven’t played at before, we encourage you to give them a try, and if there are more than one, then you are welcome to try out more than one, as you wish.
Instead of presenting these 2 poker sites separately, in order to make deciding between them as easy as I can for you, I’m going to tell you a little about each and then evaluate all 3 at the same time in terms of how well they do in the areas we feel are important, in order to make your decision easier.
So let’s start by having a look at the 2 poker sites that made the grade here as the best poker rooms for Canadian online poker players, and then I’ll get into how they stack up to one another.
About Party Poker
About Party Poker
Party Poker has been around since online poker began, and has a long and successful history in the business. For several years they were the top online poker site in the world in terms of overall traffic, and it was only when they chose to exit the U.S. market in 2006 that they gave up this title.
In spite of all of this success though, Party Poker has had a history of being rather lazy and lacking the proper commitment to their players for many years. This no doubt had to do with the high level of success they had, and it was true that with all the players they had playing there, they really didn’t have to work too hard to keep them, as what they offered in terms of the action itself was more than enough to ensure their success.
Once they got out of the U.S. market though this did cause a big decline in their traffic, and as the party got smaller so to speak, people started looking at other poker rooms more seriously and now they were forced to compete with these other poker rooms more.
They struggled doing this and resisted niceties like upgrading their software and offering generous enough player rewards, and it wasn’t really until they merged with sports betting site Bwin that things really turned around.
They ended up learning that resting on their laurels isn’t such a good idea when your laurels shrink this much so to speak and they made the necessary changes to make themselves a first class operation all around and in a position to compete with anyone in all areas, which is certainly the case today.
Party Poker is also now part of the world’s largest and most respected online gaming company in the world, and the merger with Bwin not only grew the company significantly, but also brought together some very good minds on both sides and the result has been a big improvement overall.
About 888 Poker
About 888 Poker
888 Poker is another online poker site that has been around since the beginning of online poker, operating as Pacific Poker for years, before they became re-branded as 888, to bring their name in line with their sister casino, 888 Casino, which has been the world’s largest online casino pretty much since online casino gambling started.
Until fairly recently, poker has been much more of a sideline for 888, and although they have always offered some of the best online poker on the internet, they really didn’t put that much effort into promoting it over the years, nor paid much attention to it at all to be honest.
So for years they had the world’s worst poker software and no real rewards program to speak of, and several other aspects of their poker operation suffered as well. Still though they enjoyed quite a bit of success with their poker room, but they were fairly content to just have it as a place where their casino players could go to play a little poker when they wished to.
Not many regular poker players played here though, due mostly to it being a lot less promoted than the bigger poker rooms, and I can attest to that as I’ve played here since the start and loved the fact that few players there knew much about what good poker was.
Since the re-branding to 888 Poker though things really changed, and they not only brought the poker room up to the high standards of their massively successful casino, they also started marketing it a lot more.
The net result was that they took this still good place to play and elevated it to an elite level, where it is now still loved by its players while at the same time rising to the #2 position in terms of popularity, second only to Poker Stars, whose very stiff competition by the way excludes it from consideration on this list.
Poker Traffic And Strength Of Competition
Speaking of traffic and competition, let’s look at how these 2 poker rooms stack up here. I’ve already touched on PokerStars and the competition there is absolutely fierce so although they have a lot more traffic than anyone else, traffic is certainly not everything and you have to look at how easy or how difficult it is to do at a poker site as well, and PokerStars frankly gets a thumbs down here for that reason.
So both top recommended poker sites have a very good amount of traffic which is a very desirable and important feature. As far as strength of competition, the rather small difference in traffic between 888 and Party Poker is balanced.
The amount of traffic and the level of competitiveness of that traffic is by far the most important feature of a poker site though, as this affects both our ability to play the games and stakes we want as well as determining to a large degree how well we do. It is critical therefore that a poker room does well overall with this and both of these poker sites do.
Bonuses & Rewards
Bonuses And Rewards
888 Poker offers a very impressive $88 no deposit bonus, the biggest by far in the industry, along with a 100% up to $600 instant deposit bonus, and a free entry to their $100K first depositors tournament.
Party Poker only offers a 100% match up to $50 these days, so if you only have $50 to deposit, that’s still pretty good, but if you have a lot more than you may get quite a bit more with the other 2 offers, depending on how much you can deposit initially. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try out Party Poker if you have more than $50 to play with, as it’s an extra $50 you won’t get unless you try them.
In terms of promotions and rewards, both poker rooms offer an impressive selection of promotions designed to not only keep you entertained but to generously reward your play. Party Poker and 888 Poker’s rewards program used to be pretty cheap but they have since fixed things to be competitive with the best out there.
These are all just niceties really and while it’s nice to see this stuff, I really wouldn’t put that much weight on it, and in any case both sites work hard to win and keep your business.
Software & Banking
Software, Banking, and Customer Service
Both 888 Poker and Party Poker offer outstanding software platforms.
Customer service and banking options are good at both poker sites. Both also have very good customer service, all with live chat, email, and phone support.
Party Poker offers an excellent selection of both deposit and withdrawal options. 888 Poker has a good array of deposit options for Canadians but has more limited withdrawal options for us, but it’s still not too difficult to get your money.
Overall, these are 2 very good sites overall and any of them would be a very good choice. If you are interested in trying one or more of them out just click on our links to them and you’ll automatically be eligible to receive the welcome bonuses they have for you.