Best Ontario online poker sites 2023
Our experts have reviewed the best online poker casinos in Ontario. Play top-quality games at real money gambling sites.
Here is the ultimate guide to online poker in Ontario. Our experts will teach you about online poker variants (there’s plenty more than just Texas Hold'em) and how to improve your game. Play at the best sites in Ontario, Canada and get the most from your online poker experience.
Best online poker sites in Ontario
Sites to avoid
We recommend loads of great Ontario poker sites, but we also have a list of sites we have come across that we think should be avoided. We use a 25-step review process to look at things like games, bonus terms and conditions, banking options, licensing and security. Unfortunately, not everyone passes our tests, and these are the sites to avoid:
How do you play poker?
While game dynamics can change depending on the variant you play, the principles of poker are the same. Poker is a casino card game where all players receive the same number of cards and make bets based on how strong they think their hand is. Some variants of poker allow you to attempt to “bluff” other players and essentially trick them into thinking you have a weaker/stronger hand than you actually do.
What types of poker can I play online?
Poker has become one of the most popular casino games – and certainly the most mainstream. While most people know the likes of Texas Hold’em, online poker Ontario operators provide other popular variants. That means when you select one of the Ontario online poker sites we recommend, you can pick between the following games:
- Texas Hold’em
- The most popular poker form. In a game round, the player gets two face-down cards known as hole cards. These are your personal cards, and the first round of betting is based on the quality of these cards for each player.
- After the first betting round, the dealer turns over three cards onto the betting table (known as the flop). Another round of betting follows the flop. The next two rounds consist of the dealer showing two cards individually, and the player can choose to call, raise, or fold on each round.
- Five-Card Draw
- Considered the simplest form of poker, five-card draw also serves as the basis for video poker machines. While similar to Texas Hold’em, the core difference in a five-card draw is that the player receives all five of their cards at the same time. From there, the usual poker game rules apply. Players win by having the best hand combination, such as a pair, three-of-a-kind, full house, and so on.
- Omaha High/Low
- A very popular variant available at Ontario online poker sites, Omaha Hi-Lo borrows elements of Hold’em. Specifically, there is a three-card flop and then two additional cards. The one major difference is that Omaha High/Low gives the player four hole cards as their hand instead of two cards in Texas Hold’em. It is a slightly more complex variant because players must not use two of the hole cards. Instead, use the other two with the three-card flop to make the best hand.
- Seven-Card Stud
- Before the rise of Texas Hold’em, seven-card stud was the most popular poker variant in North America. Still popular at online poker sites, seven-card stud is a more challenging version of poker ideal for players with experience. Games start with two to eight players, and they involve bringing in bets, one card up and one down hole card, and special rules for the last cards if no one folds.
- Many players do not realize that razz is seven-card stud, but with a twist. Here you play low only, which means the best Ace to Five low poker hand wins the round. In other words, no wins are possible with any card with a value of over five. Other aspects of the game are the same as seven-card stud, with players receiving seven cards throughout a hand, but only a five-card hand (two hole and three flop cards) can win.
- Perhaps one of the most obscure poker games, especially for beginners, H.O.R.S.E is a revolving tour of the best poker variants. The game changes between Hold’em (Texas), Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven-card Stud, Eight or Better Seven-card Stud. Starting with Hold’em, H.O.R.S.E games move through each of these popular poker games each round.
- Pai Gow
- A popular dominos game, Pai Gow also works as a fast-paced game for Ontario poker online players. During a game, each player receives seven cards that they split into two hands, one with five cards and the other with two cards. Usual poker winning combinations are the same. Pai Gow is even more interesting because it is a rare poker variant where players compete against each other and the dealer.
- Caribbean Stud
- Based on classic five-card poker, Caribbean stud removes the competition against other players. Instead, you will only play against the dealer/house. Importantly, Caribbean stud is one of the few poker games where you cannot bluff or try to deceive your opponent. In all other aspects, including winning hands, the game is the same as five-card stud.
Online poker in Ontario
Ontario poker online first came to the province on April 4, 2022, following the passing of laws to legalize and regulate online gambling services. Since then, some of the biggest names in the online poker industry have set up shop in Ontario. Each is under the regulation of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and its subsidiary, iGaming Ontario.
Before Ontario online poker became regulated, the province was an unregulated “grey” market. This means there were no laws at all, either criminalizing or legalizing online gambling. Still, internationally-licensed poker sites could offer their services to people in the province. However, thanks to its new regulated industry, Ontario has become a unique market in Canada.
Online poker rooms are open to all residents and visitors in Ontario, provided they are aged 19 or over and physically present in the province. All legal gambling sites in Ontario must hold a license with the AGCO and feature a link to iGaming Ontario on their homepage. For players, this is hugely important because it means legal operators provide a safe gaming environment that meets strict regulatory and player safety standards.
How to play poker – top tips
Let’s start this section by saying there is no way to guarantee wins. Like all casino games, poker is based on luck, so no betting decision or strategy can change that. However, poker is interesting because you can employ tactics such as bluffing to help your cause. Whether you bluff or not, the following tips will help beginners and experts alike to take their poker game to the next level:
Learn the rules and hand rankings
When you choose an online poker variant, always learn the rules of the game. Online poker games will provide game rules from the software provider, while online resources are also available. Understanding the rules gives you the best chance of making the best betting decisions. You should also understand the hand rankings to know when you have winning cards in your hand.
Bet small at first
This one is more for beginners but can also be used by experienced players using a new poker variant. Choosing small bets will help your bankroll last as long as possible and allow you to become more familiar with the game. When you get more comfortable, start raising your wagers accordingly based on the strength of your hands.
Pick the best games
This is where we can help! Dozens of software providers offer games at Ontario online poker sites. Understanding which games are the best and which you should avoid is crucial. Our team reviews the best poker sites and games, helping you make an informed decision that is best for your needs.
The golden rule of online casino gaming is to always gamble responsibly. This means betting within your means and only spending money you can afford to lose. Only you know your budget, but try to make it disposable income that does not eat into your monthly expenses. Top online poker Ontario sites have responsible gambling resources such as account limits, time outs, and advice.
Best poker sites for beginners
New to online poker? Not to worry – our goal is to connect you with the best Ontario online poker casinos for beginners. Alongside offering simple variants like Texas Hold’em, our beginner-friendly poker platforms provide a smooth and efficient experience across the board. We pay special attention to factors, including the following:
- Easy registration: Beginner-friendly casinos make registration easy to understand and seamless.
- Helpful customer support: Beginners often need help, so responsive and knowledgeable customer support is essential.
- Beginner-friendly games: Whether it is low-limit poker tables or basic variants, beginners value games they can “pick up and play.”
Best poker sites for advanced players
On the other end of the scale, we also provide access to top online poker sites for expert players. We understand that advanced players have specific needs that reward them for their dedication to playing poker:
- High-limit games: Poker casinos for advanced players offer a variety of high-limit tables where players make larger bets for bigger potential wins.
- Tournaments: Top poker websites have a good range of tournaments with considerable prizes.
- VIP programs: Top poker platforms have special VIP programs where VIP players can access exclusive poker tables, account managers, and more.
Free poker hand ranking chart
Check the strength of your hand with our downloadable poker hands chart. Get an understanding of ranking, and whether you should raise or fold.
While this is perfect for Ontario poker apps and online games, land-based casinos frown upon cheat sheets on the table. If you're new to the game, you can first learn how to play poker. You might not see a royal flush often, but keep your eyes peeled for more common high-ranking hands like the flush and full house.
What is a freeroll in poker?
Freeroll poker is when you can enter a poker tournament online without needing to buy your way in. Yes, this means you can enter for free and compete for a prize. When you enter, the online casino will provide you with a set amount of chips (all players have equal chips), and then you play in a tournament format with winners taking away a prize.
Casino.org poker freerolls
Find out more about poker freeroll tournaments and get exclusive entry passwords from Casino.org on our poker freeroll page.
Advanced poker tips
You could spend a lifetime mastering poker, but many experienced players will be able to read other players' moves and call out bluffs just with well-timed aggression.
Online poker lends itself perfectly to the improving player as there are so many resources out there. You also get to play more games and see more hands than live players do, which really accelerates your learning. We'll take you through some more advanced tips for improving your game below.
What is multi-tabling in poker?
If you're looking to play seriously, learning to multi-table poker online is a key element. Multi-tabling simply means loading up your screen with as many real money poker tables as you can possibly manage at once. Many pros will play between 16 and 24 online poker games simultaneously - whether they're cash games, Sit 'n' Gos, or tournaments - as this allows for faster play, more volume and a higher ROI (return on investment).
Also, if you've signed up to one of our recommended poker rooms with a deposit bonus, multi-tabling will ensure a faster play-through of any real money bonus you want to activate.
How to count cards in poker
The concept of counting cards is fairly simple – keeping track of which cards are still left in the deck, to help you decide on your next move. Although this is a popular tactic in blackjack, things are a little more complicated with poker. You won’t be able to count cards when you’re playing poker online. That’s because the deck is randomly shuffled after each round, but you can still give it a go in a land-based casino.
1. Consider which cards you would need to complete your desired hand.
2. Based on how many of that number or suit are already visible on the table, you can count how many are left in the unseen cards (cards left in the deck plus cards of your opponents).
3. By dividing this number by the total number of unseen cards, you can get an indication of your chances of getting a desired card.
Good poker bankroll management
As much a vital tip with online poker as it is with live betting for cash, make sure you have your bankroll sorted before you start playing for real money.
It's easy to have dollar signs appear in front of your eyes and want to dive into that $50 tournament or $5/10 cash game. But if you don't have the funds behind you and things go bad, you'll quickly go bust.
The best advice is to set aside a certain amount of money you're prepared to bet with. If you take a hit, drop down the levels, build your bankroll back up, then make a jump up the stakes if you're comfortable.
As a rule of thumb, when playing cash games you should have 20-30 buy-ins set aside (especially if you're playing more than one table). For tournaments, a bankroll of 50 buy-ins is sensible. This way you can handle the swings and reload without any worries.
Poker tracking software
Finally, and this is particularly for you cash game fans, consider buying some tracking software. Heads-Up Displays (HUDs), such as PokerTracker 4, sit on your poker room's software and allows you to track other players at your table. It's invaluable if you're planning on taking detailed notes on regular opponents.
Importance of table position
Think the strength of your starting hand is all that stands between you and a juicy pot? Think again. Poker games are all about where you're sitting in relation to the action, and online poker games are no different.
If you're in late position (as in the last or near last to make a betting decision) you will get a good chance to see what everyone else does before you. Half the table may have folded their cards, or a couple of players may have just called a bet. If you're last to act you may want to punish such passiveness with a raise.
Play strong hands in late position, but mix it up with marginal hands like Q-10, J-9, A-9 and so on in an unraised pot. Plus, your aggressive play before the flop can add credibility to any strong play you might want to use on the next round if a garbage flop falls and you want to try a steal. Be ready to fold your high pair if you get a lot of action with a threatening flop.
Conversely, if you're in early position, such as after the big blind or next to them (Under the Gun, or UTG+1), you should stick to playing with strong hands that will hold up to raises. It's all well and good raising A-10 UTG but what if a player re-raises you from late position - what are you going to do now? And if you call, you'll be first to act after the flop has been dealt. You will have no idea what the player in late position is going to do after you.
Some players advocate not even playing ANY hands in early position, but if you do, make sure they're decent.
Ontario poker apps
Want to bring the excitement of Ontario online poker with you on the go? Why not play from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet? Leading online casinos and poker sites provide full compatibility for mobile devices.
We select poker rooms that optimize seamlessly through a mobile browser. However, our team also finds the best Ontario online poker apps on iOS and Android. These bespoke mobile poker apps provide unique mobile benefits, such as notifications, smoother performance, and mobile-friendly UI.
Play free online poker
Play free online poker and learn the basics of the game. Choose from 167+ free games from leading providers like Microgaming, iSoftBet and Play’n GO.
How we rate Ontario poker sites
With several leading names competing for your custom, it can be hard to choose the operator that’s right for you. That’s where our expert team come in, with their knowledge going into the formulation of ratings for each casino in Ontario. These include:
Responsible gambling in Ontario
The best online casinos in Ontario take the need to promote responsible gambling very seriously. At each casino, you should be able to find detailed information about how to stay in control of your gambling. There should also be links to specialist agencies that can offer experienced advice and practical support to people. In Ontario, these include:
- iGaming Ontario, the body regulating the online casino market in the province, offers responsible gambling advice.
- ConnexOntario, an organization broadly focused on mental health, includes assistance for problem gambling in its portfolio.
- The Center for Addiction and Mental Health delivers a problem gambling website with a wealth of self-help tools and practical support.
- The Responsible Gambling Council has worked for many decades in this area and is an experienced source of assistance.
Poker terms glossary
Learn the most common terms and phrases for your next game, and if you’re interested in learning more check out our extended gambling and casino glossary.
Player's turn to bet, raise, or fold
Committing all your chips in a poker hand
A draw requiring two connectors or same suited cards to complete
An unlucky loss against the odds
Amount of money a player sets aside for poker
Mandatory bet before cards are dealt (by player after two seats after button)
Mandatory bet placed before cards are dealt
Bet or raise without the best hand in order to induce an opponent's fold
Shared or community cards
Player eliminated before the money in a tournament
The card the dealer discards before dealing community cards
Seat where the dealer is sitting
Bet the amount of another player's bet
Choosing not to bet but stay in the hand
A token used in poker to represent cash, with different colored chips representing different cash values.
A bet made post-flop by player who bet first pre-flop
When a player cannot win the hand, regardless of community cards to come
An inexperienced or bad player
The final community card, or river, dealt out
The first three community cards dealt
A hand consisting of five cards all the same suit
Throwing away your hand
The turn card
A hand consisting of three-of-a-kind plus a pair
A free tournament with no buy-in and a pre-determined prizepool to be won
A game without a re-buy option
Uncompleted straight requiring one card
A poker game between two players only
A highest unpaired card in a hand used to break ties
To call the big blind pre-flop
A reckless or aggressive player
A very strong hand
A multi-table tournament
To fold a hand without revealing hole cards
The best possible hand
Hole cards of different suits
The cards remaining in the pack that can complete a winning hand
Holding a pocket pair higher than any possible using community cards
Play the board
Using all community cards to create hand
A pair in your starting hand
A player's turn in betting order
Four of a kind
Terrible opening hand, like 7-2 offsuit
A flop consisting of cards of different suits
To bet more than the previous bet
A percentage of pot taken by cardroom
The fifth and final community card
A tournament awarding entry into a larger tournament
Three of a kind including a pair in the hole
Two or more players revealing cards to decide a winning hand
Extra pots contested after a multiple all-in
Sit and Go
A tournament that starts once all seats are filled (normally a single-table tournament)
Mandatory small bet before cards are dealt (made by player seated after button)
A hand consisting of connecting cards
An equally divided pot for tied hands
A loss control of your emotions in a poker game, meaning you become aggressive and angry (due to a bad beat).
A pair including a hole card and the highest community card
Three of a kind including only one hole card
The fourth community card
Under the gun
The first player to act before the flop
The history of online poker
Within its short life so far, online poker has already had some momentous highs and shocking lows. Let's take a look at some of the key moments in the early life of poker on the Internet.
The first online poker site, Planet Poker, is launched, with real money Texas Hold'em games available.
Is online poker legal in Ontario?
Yes, online poker in Ontario is now completely legal thanks to the provincial government legalizing most forms of online gambling on April 4, 2022. Online casino and poker sites can now provide a regulated service to residents and visitors in Ontario.
How can I find reputable poker sites online in Ontario?
You can find the most reputable poker sites in Ontario by checking out our list of the best online poker casinos. We provide access to the top sites legal in Ontario and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Look for an iGaming Ontario link on the casino homepage to ensure licensing.
What do I need in order to play poker online in Ontario?
All you need to play poker online in Ontario is to find a reputable online poker casino, register with the operator, deposit money, and start playing. You’ll need to verify your account by supplying proof of ID and address. Some casino operators might also want you to prove your financial capability to gamble online.
Can I play poker online for free in Ontario?
You sure can, but you may be limited to virtual poker games. Many online casinos provide demo versions of their games, while freeroll poker tournaments are also available. However, games against real players are unlikely to be available for free.
Are there any Ontario poker apps available?
Absolutely! Several major online gambling brands offer a dedicated app for iOS and Android. Many online poker sites also work on mobile browsers thanks to HTML5 technology.
Which poker variations can I play online in Ontario?
Popular online poker variants available to players in Ontario include Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Caribbean Stud, five-card stud, seven-card stud, Razz, H.O.R.S.E, and more.
What’s the difference between poker tournaments and cash games?
In a cash game, you play for the total value of the chips of all the players on a table. Tournaments are different because each player has the same number of chips supplied by the casino by buying your way into the tournament.
What’s the difference between ‘limit’ and ‘no limit poker’ games?
In no-limit poker, players are able to bet or raise the number of chips they want without restriction. In a limit poker game, there will be a ceiling on the number of chips you can bet or raise per round.
Are online poker games rigged in Ontario?
No, operators regulated by the AGCO have met regulatory standards to achieve their license. This means the site is secure, your data is protected, and games are safe. Every online poker Ontario site we recommend is licensed in the province.