Currency: Canadian Dollar (CA$)
Timezones: UTC-6 – UTC-2
Casinos with Poker
- Playground Poker Club
- Casino de Montréal
- River Rock Casino Resort
- Fallsview Casino Resort
- Casino Nova Scotia
The local legal landscape for gambling can be confusing at times for Canadian residents. However, when it comes to poker, especially online, they are far better off than their southern neighbors, the United States. That is despite the fact the US popularized poker to the point that it is the world’s favorite card game, and American players dominate professional poker.
But let’s not get so far ahead of ourselves.
Due to its proximity to the United States, poker got to Canada fairly early in its history, in the 19th Century. However, an 1892 law banned gambling as a whole, evidently including poker. The prohibition became more and more relaxed over the course of the next century, which culminated in the 1985 legalization of gaming machines.
Since then, gambling became a major industry in Canada. According to worldcasinodirectory.com, there are over 100 casinos operating within the country. That is quite a large number for a nation of 38 million.
The same website also published the results of a 2015 Ipsos Survey. It shows that slot machines are by far the most preferred game of chance for “the Canucks”. 90% of their population have played them, compared to the just 40% who have played poker, according to the survey.
A Canadian man, Randy Blumer, is a very important figure in modern poker history. He launched the world’s first ever real money online poker site, Planet Poker, on January 1st, 1998.
Famous Canadian Poker Players
Daniel Negreanu is one of the most successful live tournament players in poker history. He has 6 WSOP gold bracelets. He also led Hendon’s famous all time money list between June 2014 and June 2018. His lifetime tournament earnings exceed $42 million.
Negreanu’s extremely successful on social media as well. He has the most subscribers on YouTube among all poker players (507,000 as of writing this) and also the most Twitter followers among all poker players (494,000).
Evidently, Negreanu tops Hendon’s Canadian all time money list with that $42 million on his tally.
Second on that list is Sam Greenwood with $22.5 million. In 2018, he won the €100,000 EPT Super High Roller in Monte Carlo for €1.520 million. Greenwood is also a regular feature in Triton’s super high stakes live streamed cash games.
Canada is one of the 12 nations outside the United States who can boast a WSOP Main Event champion. The Great White North’s victory at the poker’s most prestigious tournament was delivered by Jonathan Duhamel. He won the Main Event in 2010, topping a 7,319-player field for $8.944 million.
– Playing Live Poker in Canada –
Live Poker Legislation in Canada
Sections 201 through 206 in the Canadian penal code prohibits games of chance. However, thankfully, that is far from being the end of the story.
The 10 provinces have the autonomy to regulate gambling within their territory. This results in all 10 of them having different gaming regulatory bodies with their own rules. The state of gambling in Canada is akin to that of marijuana in the United States – technically illegal on the federal level, yet some states have legalized it already.
To make matters more complicated, indigenous tribes have the right to determine whether or not they want to legalize gambling. This led to the construction of many “First Nations Casinos” across Canada. The First Nations Gaming Act was signed into tribal law in 1995.
Live Poker Venues in Canada
The Playground Poker Club in Montreal has hosted many widely publicized poker events.
They had filmed high stakes cash games for the TV show Poker Night in America in this card room. They also hosted partypoker LIVE and World Poker Tour tournaments.
Their tournament schedule is packed with usually 2-3, but sometimes even 5 events in a day. The smallest buy-in event on their calendar is CA$60, while you can also find buy-ins as large as CA$1,650.
As for cash games, they run No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha tables, just like most card rooms anywhere. The NLHE stakes are: CA$1/2, CA$2/5,CA$5/10 and CA$10/25. The PLO stakes are: CA$2/2, CA$5/5 and CA$50/50. Please note, however, that the highest stakes tables rarely have games going.
When it comes to non-poker specific casinos, Casino de Montréal takes the cake as the most prominent one.
They also host 1-2 NLHE tournaments each day. The buy-ins range between CA$75 and CA$125. They also run CA$1/1 NLHE cash tables. Those are unusually low stakes for live poker. They are able to have tables with blinds this low because instead of collecting rake like almost every poker room, they charge so-called “session fees”.
If you’re in Canada outside Montreal looking for good poker action, you can try the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia; the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls; or the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Canada –
Playground Poker Club
Casino de Montréal
River Rock Casino Resort
Fallsview Casino Resort
Casino Nova Scotia
Online Poker Legislation in Canada
Just like with land based gambling, online gambling laws can vary from province to province in Canada. The overall legal status is confusing at best.
However, that doesn’t really have any practical effect on the online poker experience for Canadian players. Many American online pros register Canadian addresses to have easier access to online poker sites.
All the major online poker rooms, be it PokerStars, partypoker or 888, are available for players in Canada without any hustle or any reasonable fear of legal repercussions.