Among industries that have benefitted from the internet’s rise, few can rival the success top online poker sites have experienced. Each year, casinos earn billions in revenue from poker, but what makes the game so attractive to players is that even more money is handed out in winnings. Unlike most casino games, there is no “house edge.” Instead, practiced skills can give players better than 50/50 odds at making real money. Below, players can find casinos with the best online poker Canada has to offer:
Best Poker Sites
The first thing players need to know, obviously, are the rules of the game. The goal, regardless of which variety of poker you’re playing, is to end up with the best 5-card hand at the end of the game. In Texas Hold’em, players have seven cards at their disposal — two face-down cards, or pocket cards, that only the player can see, and five face-up — or community — cards that can be used by everyone at the table.
Texas Holdem – In Texas Hold’em, players begin by receiving two face-down cards from the dealer, followed by a round of betting. The player to the left of the dealer is required to play a “small blind” — an ante that is half the minimum bet — and the player to his or her left has to pitch in the “big blind,” which is equal to the minimum bet. Players then go around the table either calling the minimum bet, raising, or deciding to fold their cards.
The flop – Once the first round of betting finishes, the dealer lays three cards face up on the table, known as the “flop.” The goal for players is to create the best 5-card hand possible using their down face-down cards and the face-up cards on the table.
After the flop – there is another round of betting. Once that round is over, the dealer flips one more card face up, and then players bet again. Once that betting completes, the dealer flips over a final face-up card, and the players have a final round of betting. Once that round is completed, the hand is over and players have to reveal their face-down cards. The player with the best hand at this point wins all of the money bet, minus the “rake,” which is a small tax levied by the casino.
Below is a list of all the 5-card poker hands, listed from best to worst, to help with your online poker strategy:
- Royal Flush: Having the 10, J, Q, K and A of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: Having five cards that count consecutively and are all the same suit, e.g. the 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of diamonds.
- Four of a Kind: Having four of the same card, e.g. four 9s.
- Full House: Having three of one card and two of another, e.g. three 5s and two 6s.
- Flush: Having five cards of the same suit.
- Straight: Having five cards that count consecutively, e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
- Three of a Kind: Having three of the same card, e.g. three 5s.
- Two Pair: Having two of one card and two of another.
- One Pair: Having two of the same card.
- High Hand/Card: If neither player has a pair, straight or flush, the player with the highest card wins.
Casino Bonuses & Poker
The best Canadian online poker sites will offer bonuses to players for signing up and playing regularly. For instance, at 888, new poker players are eligible for a 100-percent Welcome Bonus of up to $400.
More commonly, casinos will hold special tournaments called Freerolls, which allow players to compete for real money without wagering any of their own. At 888, for example, first-time depositors are welcome to enroll in a special Freeroll with a cash prize of $3,500. Freerolls can be a great way for a player to build a bankroll in no time, and can also lead to unique prizes like entry into other poker events, like the World Series of Poker.
While Texas Holdem has become by far the most commonly played poker game on the web, sites with the best online poker Canada has to offer will also feature other games, such as:
- Omaha Hold’em – is a popular game similar to its Texas cousin, except players have four pocket cards instead of two.
- Razz – Players might also enjoy Razz, in which the goal for players is to form the worst 5-card hand.
- 5-card Stud – a classic game in which players are dealt five face-down cards and challenged to build the best hands possible.
Tournaments vs. Sit and Go
There are two basic online poker games available to players on the web: tournaments and sit-and-go.
Tournaments: In online poker tournaments, every player begins with the same amount of chips, and players compete until one gambler has collected all the chips. Tournaments can take on various forms online, with some limited to one seven- or nine-person table and others featuring thousands of entrants.
Sit and Go: Instead of committing to a potentially lengthy tournament, players can also play at Sit and Go tables. Players choose how much money they want in their stack at any time and are free to leave the table with what remains of their stack at any time.
Casino Poker Games
Online poker’s popularity has had a ripple effect on online casinos, many of which now feature poker-based casino games. Examples of these include Caribbean stud poker — a game similar to 5-card stud. One online poker tip for players to keep in mind, though, is that casino table games like Caribbean stud poker pit the player against the house instead of against other players, meaning there is a house edge that can’t be overcome. Poker is also the ancestor of video poker — one of the most successful casino games today.