Poker in Canada Thriving in 2021

Plenty of action in the Great White North

Hockey, beer, and maple syrup may be what typically comes to mind when thinking of Canada; however, America’s northern neighbour also has a hidden passion for gambling – and the game of poker in particular.

From cash games held at the cottage during the summer to tournaments in backrooms of the local pub, most Canucks know what its like to be sitting around the poker table hoping to hit that final spade to complete their flush draw. While Covid-19 may have placed those in-person home games on hold for a bit, Canadians have been increasingly turning to online poker to pass the time – and maybe take home some extra money as well.

On top of all the casual recreational players, some of the most influential people in the poker world hail from Canada. From Jonathan Duhamel becoming the first Canadian WSOP Main Event winner to online legend and crazy prop bettor Mike “Timex” McDonald, the red Maple Leaf is often worn by those taking down huge tournaments. But the one Canadian poker player known around the world is Daniel Negreanu. The GGPoker Ambassador and six-time WSOP bracelet winner is a fan favourite and never fails to entertain – especially with his current heads-up challenge versus Doug Polk.

Canadians key to the growth of online poker

When online poker first came to the masses in the early 2000s, Canadians had a major part in its development and growth. The first online casino payment processor, CryptoLogic was founded in the basement of brothers Andrew and Mark Rivkin parent’s house in 1995. Calyin Ayre, the Saskatchewan born entrepreneur opened Bodog poker to the world in 2000 – quickly becoming a billionaire and leader in the sports betting industry.

As the online poker industry grew, Canada remained at the forefront with Toronto-based Isai Scheinberg’s company, Amaya, taking over PokerStars and FullTilt Poker in June 2014. With the company reeling and struggling to avoid bankruptcy after the United States ban of online poker in 2011. Scheinberg managed to turn around PokerStars fortune and it remains the most trafficked site in poker to this day.

Online poker continues to be popular in Canada and a survey by the Responsible Gaming Council in April 2020, showed that 54% of respondents had gambled online – with one-third of those doing so due to the lockdown. So while two of Canada’s largest provinces implement a state of emergency and curfew, odds are at least a few of those stuck at home will be trying their luck at a game or two online.

Online poker sites open to Canadians

With plenty of available online poker options when compared to players from the United States, players from Canada truly are fortunate. Virtually all the major poker networks are open to Canadian players and each site offers a little something different so prospective players are sure to find an option that works for them.

The majority of online players now are based out of Europe so unless an early poker session is in the cards, a poker site with 24/7 traffic is key to finding a good cash game or tournament. For that, the choice in 2021 is GGPoker. While having Negreanu as the face of the site should help to lure any patriotic Canuck, their tournament schedule is filled with large guaranteed tournaments for any buy-in and the cash game tables are steady around the clock with action. For players short on time, GGPoker’s Spin&Go tourneys provide a chance at a huge payday in only a few minutes.

Another option for the casual player looking to logon to a weeknight session is America’s Cardroom. Part of the Winning Poker Network, their target market is the United States so their tournament schedule lines up well for many Canadian players. Traffic is definitely slower that at GGPoker but for players looking for a smaller field – and still a decent guaranteed tournament prize pool – America’s Cardroom should on the radar.

For the regular grinder who’s willing to wake up early, Canadian poker players have access to NordicBet poker. Although the site is focused on the Scandinavian market, YourPokerDream has partnered with them to offer a great rakeback and bonus offer, helping to offset any unlucky runs at the tables. As part of the iPoker network, the cash game and tournament traffic on the site are steady and consistent during European hours – often with plenty of fish due to the different skins bringing players over from the casino side. Starting off the day with a double-double from Timmies and a tournament win on the NordicBet is a great way to shake of the winter blues.

One final shoutout has to go to the site well known to anyone who has turned on SportsNet to watch a WPT broadcast. PartyPoker commercials blanket the program – as well as late night TV spots – promising plenty of action and winnings. One of the longest running poker sites, traffic has been slipping lately but there’s still plenty of action at the tables as well as options to turn a small buy-in online into a seat at a WPT tournament.

Take a look at our full review of all the Canadian poker sites available to see some of other sites we haven’t included here and be sure to use YourPokerDream’s unique referral links to ensure you get the best rakeback offers in the industry.

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