Online Poker Real Money Vs Poker Online for free
Like most casino games, you can play poker with real money, or try it for free. Find out more about each option below, including the benefits and downsides.
What is online poker?
Online poker boils down to either video poker or live poker. Different combinations of cards have different values assigned to them, and ultimately the goal for you is to have the best hand. Although, the exact rules will change by variant, which we’ll go over more later on.
Advantages of playing online poker with real money
One of the main advantages of playing with real money is that you can also win some cash. Online casinos also offer deposit bonuses when you play with real money, and there can be poker-specific bonuses too. Plus, it’s quite exciting to play knowing there are real stakes.
A major downside, of course, is since you’re using real money there’s a chance you’ll lose it. That’s why it’s always recommended you play with money that you can afford to lose.
Advantages of playing online poker for free
Playing online poker for free is a stress-free way to enjoy the game. If you’re new to poker, this is an excellent option to practice and get familiar with the rules. Even experienced players, you can try out new strategies and ways of playing.
What Are the Best Poker Online Casinos in Canada?
You’ll have a hard time finding a single online casino in Canada that doesn’t have poker available. However, you don’t want to just play anywhere. Below you’ll find a list of five of the best online casinos in Canada offering poker.
This list was composed based on factors like variety and selection of games, bonus size, quality developers, fairness/RNG, and mobile-friendliness.
Casino sites to play online poker with friends
If you were looking to enjoy online poker with your friends or play as a team, these are a few good sites to check out.
Don’t forget to take a look at our other casino and poker pages, where we have a long list of casino sites and more information about poker parties and online poker leagues.
Is Online Poker Safe to Play in Canada?
Online poker is certainly safe, but it’s important you play only at legitimate and licensed sites. we’ll explain more about licensing and fairness below.
Is it legal to play poker online in Canada?
Let’s elaborate a bit more on licensing and legality of poker in Canada.
Poker is fully legal in Canada, so you don’t have to worry about breaking any laws when playing online. There aren’t any specific laws that prevent you from accessing poker sites hosted outside of Canada, and many of them are.
There are many different regulators in the world, with Canada having a few of its own. Some examples are the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, BC Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, and Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority.
The Malta Gaming Authority is a well-known and respected international regulator. The Curacao Government is another international regulator, although they’re regarded as one of the weakest licences.
Is online poker fair?
When you play at a legitimate site, you can be assured the games have been tested to ensure fairness. Video poker runs on a random number generator (RNG) which makes the game truly random. Examples of authorities include iTech Labs and Gaming Labs International.
Why Play Poker Online in Canada?
More and more people are enjoying poker at online casinos and poker rooms. Learn about all the reasons why in this section.
Poker online vs Poker in land-based casinos
The table below summarises some of the main reasons you should consider online poker rather than at land-based casinos.
Online Poker vs Poker in Landbased Casino
|Online Poker||Poker in Land-based Casino|
|Play from your home||✔||✖|
|Play on multiple seats at the same time||✔||✖|
The first advantage is that you can play right from home, making online poker far more convenient. Online casinos almost always offer bonuses when you deposit money, which you won’t find at land casinos.
Poker sites also regularly run tournaments and other promotions. Finally, you could also play more than one game at the same time if you’re online.
Online Poker Types
Below is a summary of four of the main poker variants you might find. RTP and house edge are easy to define. Payouts can vary greatly in some games and may depend on the total bets players have made. Likewise, odds may not always be a fixed amount.
|Texas Hold’em||99.47%||2.19%||Royal Flush 100:1|
Straight Flush 20:1
Four of a Kind 10:1
Full House 3:1
|Omaha||96.45%||3.55%||Read more below||–|
|7-Card Stud||96.30%||1.46%||Read more below||Straight flush .00031|
Full house .026
Two pairs .235
High card .174
|Five Card Draw||96.49%||3.51%||Read more below||Royal flush <0.001%|
Straight flush <0.002%
Four of a kind 0.02%
Full house 0.14%
Three of a kind 2.11%
Two pair 4.75%
One pair 42.30%
No pair / High card 50.10%
Texas Hold’em is considered by many people to be the most popular poker variant. It has a high RTP of 99.47% and a low house edge. The payouts for different hands are summarised above. Ultimate Texas Hold’em, No Limit, and Pot Limit are some popular variations of Texas Hold’em.
In Omaha Poker, the RTP is several points lower than Texas Hold’em, with a higher house edge too. In this game, the winner with the highest hand takes the pot, so payouts and odds work a bit differently.
Some popular Omaha variants include Omaha Hi-Lo, Pot Limit Omaha, and Six-Card Omaha.
7-Card Stud comes with a lower house edge but with a lower RTP too. This is another one where you play against other players to take the pot. Mississippi, Down the River, and High Low Stud are three variations you might encounter.
Five Card Draw
Five Card Draw is one of the simplest poker games, and you usually play with two to six players. This is what most people imagine when they think of poker. The RTP edges out Omaha and 7-Card Stud but is still lower than Texas Hold’em.
In terms of the payout, the winner takes what’s in the pot. Five Card Draw, High Low, Spit in the Ocean, and 2 Hands to Win are a few popular variants.
Virtual Poker vs Live Poker
When you play poker online, there are two main ways this can happen. You can play live poker or virtual poker. Let’s start with a few pros/cons of each.
|1. Interaction with the dealer makes it more enjoyable. |
2. You can interact and play with other players.
|1. Since it uses a live dealer, it may not run all the time.|
2. Slower games (you have to wait for all players to bet)
|Virtual Poker||1. Faster gameplay. |
2. More visually focused games.
3. Possibility of mixed formats (eg poker slots).
|1. No interaction with the dealer.|
2. No interaction with other players.
3. Some games run on older software.
4. Runs on an RNG/Less chance for cheating.
What is a Live Poker game?
As the name suggests, this is played with a live dealer, and you get to interact with them as you would in person, but from your screen. Some popular versions include:
- Live Casino Hold’em
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Live Three Card Poker
- Live Caribbean Stud Poker
What is virtual online poker?
Virtual poker is more like a video game where you still play against other players or the dealer but can’t see or directly interact with anyone. Instead, other players may appear on the screen as icons/avatars.
Popular virtual poker games include:
- Texas Hold’em
- Seven-Card Stud
- Omaha Hi
7 Tips to Win at Online Poker
Even though poker is largely regarded as a luck-based game, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things you can do to improve your odds. The tips below should help you in your online games.
- Learn Basic Rules, Poker hands and Payouts
The first step before playing poker is learning all of the rules, hand rankings, and payouts. Without this basic knowledge, you would be creating a major disadvantage against yourself.
- Know all Poker Strategies
Poker players have employed many different strategies in an attempt to improve their chances of winning. The “bluff” might be one of the most well-known ones. Be sure to read our poker guide for a full rundown on major strategies.
- Plan your budget and your time
Poker, like any casino game, should be played only for fun. Only wager money which you can afford to lose. It’s a good idea to set out the maximum you can bet beforehand and not go above that limit.
- Read our game & casino reviews
The casino you choose to play at is an important factor itself. For example, the bonus at one casino can be much higher than another. Be sure to go over our casino reviews to help pick the best one for you.
- Practice for free
Practice makes perfect, right? By playing for free, you can practice repeatedly with no risk or stress.
Almost every major online casino will let you play free “demo” versions of poker too.
- Watch streamers to discover new tips
Watching how the pros play can definitely help to up your game.
- Learn the lingo
Learning the lingo of poker is essential if you want to stay in the loop. The last thing you want is to hear “call” or “raise” and not know what’s happening.
|Bluff||A person who “bluffs” often has a weaker hand but attempts to trick other players into thinking it’s stronger. One method is to raise your bet in the hopes others will fold.|
|Check||When you check, it means you pass on betting for now and wait to see what other players will do.|
|Call||Calling is making the lowest bet needed to continue staying in the game.|
|Raise||Raising is increasing the bet, which forces other players to match or fold.|
|Limp||Limping is viewed as a non-aggressive call.|
|Flop/Preflop||The flop is the first three cards dealt after the beginning round.|
|Fold||When you fold, you’re leaving the current game to avoid losing more money. Generally, you do this if you believe other players have a stronger hand.|
How Does Online Poker Work?
The rules of online poker are no different from in-person poker. Generally, you’ll pick a casino and then sign up by making an account. Most online casinos in Canada will provide a bonus on your first deposit, and after that, you can choose a game and start playing.
Below you’ll find some links to important poker rules and explanations of the best poker hands.
Although poker is relatively simple; there are several important rules you need to know to get the most out of it:
- The Objective
- Hand Ranking
- Dealer Button
- Big and Small Blinds
- No limit, pot limit and limit
The main objective in poker is to win the pot. You typically do this by having the best hand, although even players with a weaker hand can win if they employ the right strategies.
Different combinations of cards in poker have certain names and values assigned to them. For a more detailed look at hand rankings, see the next section below.
The turn is an additional single card dealt after the flop round. Players still in the game typically have six cards to form a five-card hand with.
The flop refers to the first three cards that are dealt in the game. The three cards themselves can also be referred to as the flop.
The river is the final card that’s dealt in the game. After this, there’s another round of betting and the best hand at the table wins.
A dealer button is a round disk or other icon used to show who is in charge of dealing the cards.
Big and Small Blinds
The small blind is the first seat next to the dealer and the big blind is the next seat over. Since these are the first players to act, they’re generally viewed as the most disadvantageous places to be.
No limit, pot limit and limit
In no limit games, there’s no limit to how much you can bet. With pot limit, there’s a maximum amount you can bet and this is typically tied to what’s in the pot already, and what other players have wagered.
In a fixed limit game, you always stake the same amount, which is usually decided on before the game.
Best hands in poker
In poker, the hands are one of the main things you need to know. After all, it’s the stronger hand that wins. Here are the main hands, along with a quick explanation of each.
- Royal Flush – A Royal Flush has the cards A, K, Q, J, 10 all from the same suit.
- Straight Flush – In the straight flush, you have five cards in numbered order from the same suit.
- Four of a Kind – This is when you have four of the same card from each suit, plus one extra “side card”.
- Full House – A full house contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another. For example, you might have three kings and two 10s.
- Flush – In a flush, you have five cards from the same suit.
- Straight – A straight has five cards in a sequence, but they don’t have to be from the same suit.
- Three of a Kind – Here you would have three cards that are the same rank, while the other two are unrelated.
- Two Pair – A two pair has two pairs of cards in the same rank and one unrelated card.
- Pair – A pair is one pair of cards in matching rank and three unrelated cards.
- High Card – If your hand doesn’t match any of the above, your highest card is counted.
How is the game of online poker made?
Online poker, like all casino games, comes from game providers. Some providers will develop slots and table games like poker. Others focus primarily on poker and other live dealer games. Below you’ll find a few of the best-known providers.
Evolution Gaming – Without a doubt, Evolution Gaming is the best-known provider of live casino games. This includes not only poker, but roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and game shows.
Ezugi – Ezugi is another game provider which largely focuses on providing live dealer games. They’ve got studios all over the world and help supply many online casinos.
Play’n Go – This developer is known for producing high-quality slot games; however, they’ve got a number of poker entries as well.
Best Live Poker Players in Canada
Many of the pro poker players have their own websites or column where they provide playing advice. Some of the best Canadian poker players of all time are:
- Daniel Negreanu
- Timothy Adams
- Sam Greenwood
- Jonathan Duhamel
- Daniel Dvoress
Play Poker on Mobile
While you might think you need to play from your desktop, the truth is mobile poker is extremely popular too. There are even sites that cater to mobile poker, and you can take advantage of exclusive mobile bonuses.
Currently, these are some of the most popular mobile poker apps and sites:
Poker is arguably one of the most well-known casino games although many people who aren’t familiar with it might not know numerous versions exist.
Hopefully, with the guide above, you were able to learn the basics of poker and some of the lingo that can get you started on your first game.