All online casino games test your luck, but poker is one of the rare exceptions that also requires considerable skill. It’s also a rare exception in that it doesn’t have a house edge. It’s just you against the other players at the table, so as far as the luck part is concerned, you have an equal chance of walking away a winner. To gain your own edge, you’ll need to take time to sharpen your skills and master your poker strategy.
That’s why, at Casino Guru, we don’t just list out the best places to play legal online poker in Canada, we provide you with plenty of tips, tricks, and strategy to help you level-up your game. If you’re already a poker expert or you just can’t wait to play, check out our online poker sites recommendations in the section below. But if you’re looking for a little more guidance, read on, friend!
Best Online Poker Sites in the Canada
[LIST OF TOP POKER RECOMMENDATIONS]
Important Online Poker Terms
There’s a lot to remember when you’re learning online poker, but if you get a handle on the lingo, you’re halfway there. Check out our list below to start learning. Once you feel comfortable with these terms, you’ll be able to sit at any poker table and feel like a pro.
Ante – A forced bet placed by every participating player before the deal.
Small Blind – Similar to an ante, a small blind is a forced bet placed before a game starts. The player to the immediate left of the dealer button places a bet that is usually half of the minimum.
Big Blind – A forced bet placed by the person to the immediate left of the person placing the small blind. This is usually the minimum bet.
Raise – The action of increasing the opening bet.
Check – Deferring the bet by not raising and passing the decision to the next person at the table.
Call – To match a bet, either the original bet or another player’s raise.
Fold – Abandoning a round you do not think you can win or where the bet has reached a level you aren’t comfortable with.
Chips – Small, colourful tokens used in place of money at the poker table. Each color denotes a certain amount of cash.
Community Cards – Cards placed face-up in the middle of the table that all players can use to create their hand. (Note: not all games use community cards, games that do are referred to as community games).
The Flop – In Texas Hold’Em, these are the first three community cards, which are dealt face up.
The Turn – The fourth community card dealt in Texas Hold’Em.
River – The last community card dealt in community poker games.
Muck – The discarded cards from players who have folded.
Position – The place a player sits at a table and the strategy associated with that order.
The Rules of Online Poker
Poker is one of the most popular games in the nation, so chances are, you have some familiarity. Even if you’ve just played a few rounds with friends here and there, you’re starting with a pretty good base to transition to the wonderful world of online poker!
There are two basic ways to play poker online. More commonly, you’ll just see a digital table, cards, and chips. In live versions of the game, you will also see a live feed of a dealer at an actual table.
Beyond the basic format of the game, online poker is available in many variations, each with different rules and strategies. Let’s start with a run through of the most popular version of online poker: Texas Hold’Em.
The goal of Texas Hold’Em is to make the best 5-card hand using the 7 cards available to you. Each player is first dealt 2 cards face-down. These 2 cards are called the pocket cards. You can look at your own pocket cards, but you won’t see anyone else’s hand. By the end of the game, there are also 5 cards dealt face-up in the middle of the table. These are the community cards. Every player at the table can combine their 2 cards with 3 of the community cards to make the best 5-card hand.
Before any cards are dealt, the player or players to the left of the dealer button must place blinds. This is a type of forced bet where 1-3 players place a standard bet to start the round. In Texas Hold’Em, this is usually done by 2 players. The person closest to the dealer button usually bets half of the minimum bet (called the small blind), while the person to their left places the minimum bet (called the big blind). This can be done with or without antes.
Once blinds are placed, the dealer deals cards and the round begins. At this point, the 3rd person from the dealer button is given the opportunity to either call, raise, or fold. If they call, they are accepting the big blind bet, if they raise, they are increasing the big blind bet, and if they fold, they are giving up that round. Then, each player at the table will get to make the same decision in clockwise order.
After the first round of betting, the dealer will lay 3 cards face-up on the table. These cards are called the flop; they are the first 3 community cards. Once the flop is placed, another round of betting starts. When these bets are placed, another community card is placed. This card is known as a the turn or fourth street. The process is repeated and the last community card is placed. This card is known as the river or fifth street.
When the last community card is placed, the last round of betting commences. And the remaining players reveal their cards to determine the winner. The winner gets the pot, minus a small tax taken by the casino.
Winning Poker Hands, Ranked In Order
Making decisions at the poker table with confidence first requires a thorough understanding of the best poker hands. Below, you’ll see how poker hands are ranked, from the lowest to the highest.
- One Pair – A hand containing 2 cards of the same rank. If more than one player has a pair, the player with the higher ranking pair wins (e.g. a pair of Kings beats a pair of Jacks).
- Two Pair – A hand containing 2 sets of pairs (e.g. J,J,Q,Q,7).
- Three of a Kind – A hand containing 3 cards of the same rank (e.g. 4,4,4,Q,7).
- Straight – A hand containing cards of sequential rank in different suits (e.g. 3,4,5,6,7).
- Flush – A hand containing all cards of the same suit, regardless of rank (e.g. all diamonds).
- Full House – A hand containing three of a kind and a pair (e.g. J,J,3,3,3).
- Four of a Kind – A hand containing four cards of the same rank (e.g. K,K,K,K,4).
- Straight Flush – A hand containing cards in sequential rank of the same suit (e.g. 2,3,4,5,6 of spades).
- Royal Flush – A hand containing a straight of the ranks, all of the same suit (e.g. 10,J,Q,K,A of hearts).
Online Poker Game Varieties
While Texas Hold’Em is the most popular version of online poker, there are a wealth of other versions to play and explore. If Texas Hold’Em isn’t quite your game, maybe you’ll click more with a different variation:
- Five Card Stud – You are dealt 5 cards, with the aim of creating the best possible hand with those cards. The first card is dealt face-down, while the remaining 4 cards are dealt face-up. With roots as far back as the American Civil War, this is considered the original version of stud poker.
- Seven Card Stud – Imagine this game as the offspring of Texas Hold’Em and 5 Card Stud. Like Hold’Em, you start with 2 pocket cards, but with the addition of 1 face-up card. But like Five Card Stud, there are no community cards. Once everyone has their first 3 cards, a round of betting starts. You are then dealt another card, followed by another round of betting. This continues until you have 7 cards. Finally, you must create your best 5-card hand out of the 7 cards.
- Razz – Consider this the cousin of Seven Card Stud. But to win, you need the best 5-card low (Ace to 5).
- Omaha Hold’Em – This one is the cousin of Texas Hold’Em, but in this Omaha version, you get 4 pocket cards and need to choose 2 to combine with the 3 community cards to make the best 5-card hand.
- And more! – This is by no means an exhaustive list of your options. Get out there and explore!
Best Bonuses in Online Poker for Canadians
There’s a lot of competition between online poker rooms, so casinos are willing to offer a ton of great bonuses to convince you to play with them. Most online poker sites offer no deposit bonuses when you register for an account. You’ll also find many welcome packages that include awesome incentives, like tournament seats. And long term players can get additional benefits in the form of loyalty points and rewards.
Be sure to keep checking back with Casino Guru to find the latest and greatest poker bonuses available to Canadians. New deposit bonuses, chances to win prizes, and seats in tournaments are always becoming available.
Online Poker Tournaments, and Sit and Go Poker – What’s the Difference?
When you decide to play poker online, you have a few choices available to you. We already discussed the difference between regular and live games, but you can also choose between tournaments and sit and go games.
In tournaments, every player starts with the same number of chips and compete until one player possess all of the chips. Online tournaments can range from small, 7-9 player games to thousands of players.
Sit and go games are a little more casual. This style of game allows you to decide how much money you want to wager and leave the table whenever you want.
Which one you choose depends on your end goals and the budget you’re sticking to.
Poker is a true classic that perfectly balances skill and luck. No matter your poker preferences, playing online means you can find a table to suit your needs anytime, anywhere. If you want to stay up to date with the best poker games, bonuses, and announcements, make sure to come back to Casino Guru regularly.