Among the many 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 they themselves can win even more. That’s because, unlike most casino games, there is no house edge when it comes to poker. Instead, practiced skills can give players more than 50/50 odds at making real money.
So if you’re looking to be dealt in on a virtual game, have a look below to access some of the best online poker Canada has to offer:
Best Poker Sites
Online Poker Rules
If you’re already familiar with the rules of poker, then there’s not much more you need to know, to move your game online. That’s because online poker – besides its virtual format – is the exact same game you know and love. The only difference is you’re using computer commands instead of physical chips and cards.
For those who are new to the game, the first thing you 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.
The most common poker game you’ll come across is what’s called Texas Hold’em. In this version of the game 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.
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. 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 now on the table.
After the flop – After the flop there is another round of betting. Once that round is over, the dealer flips one more card face-up, and the players bet again. Once that betting round is complete, 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 all players have to reveal their face-down cards. The player with the best hand at this point wins all of the money bet throughout the entire hand, minus the “rake,” which is a small tax levied by the casino.
Winning Poker Hands
Familiarizing yourself with the various card combinations is key to forming a winning hand. 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: 10, J, Q, K and A of the same suit
- Straight Flush: 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: Four of the same number, e.g. four 9s
- Full House: Three of one card number and two of another, e.g. three 5s and two 6s
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit
- Straight: Five cards that count consecutively, e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
- Three of a Kind: Three of the same number, e.g. three 5s
- Two Pair: Two cards of one number and two of another
- One Pair: Two of the same card number
- High Hand/Card: If no player has a pair, straight or flush, the player with the highest card/s (of numerical value) wins
Important Poker Terminology
Poker has its own language, which can seem confusing at start. Understanding these terms is critical to playing like a pro. However, like the game itself, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be spewing it plenty yourself. Ante, chips, blinds, big blinds, stack, river, Ace in the hole, check, raise, drop, position bet, muck and more – they’ll be rolling off your tongue before you know it!
While Texas Hold’em 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 popular versions of the game. These include:
- 5-card Stud – This is a classic game in which players are dealt five face-down cards and challenged to build the best hand possible from what they’ve got.
- 7-card Stud –There are no blinds and no community cards in this game, which features lots of betting and up to 7 cards per hand.
- Omaha Hold’em –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 is to form the worst 5-card hand.
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 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. Although it’s more like a slots machine than the classic card game, it still gives you some of the five-card appeal of traditional poker play.
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 compete against one another until one gambler has collected all the chips. Tournaments can assume various forms online, with some limited to a single seven- or nine-person table, and others featuring thousands of entrants.
Sit and Go: Instead of committing to a potentially lengthy tournament, players can play at Sit and Go tables. Here they 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 whenever they please.
While offline poker rooms may offer players comps, online poker rooms have the added advantage of bonuses.
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 – which gives you double the money to play with from the get-go – plus free tickets to the $500 first depositors Freeroll, $1,000 Depositors Free Tournament, and First Depositors’ Challenge tournament.
Once you’ve claimed your welcome bonus, stay tuned for other promotions. Poker rooms are pros at these kinds of offers – as it’s in their interest to entice you to keep coming back. Offers vary from site-to-site, but generally include deposit bonuses, chances at prizes (like iPads or exotic vacations), or a seat at a world-class tournament like the WSOP.