Top 3 Ontario Online Poker Sites
In Ontario, online poker has been legal and regulated since April of 2022, and several places to play have cropped up since then. Before you shell out a lot of cash for a seat at the table, take a minute to review where the action is. If you do nothing else, make sure you've opted for a regulated online poker room. Here are three places offering the best online poker Ontario players can access with just a few taps on their phone.
- WSOP Poker Ontario
WSOP (World Series of poker) combines some of the most consequential brands in the industry, the WSOP itself and its affiliation with gambling giant Caesars Entertainment. The rooms themselves run on the excellent GGPoker software, and they're the only place where players can win WSOP bracelets and rings, in case you like to accessorize. Of course, that means tournaments, which is where WSOP really shines. With buy-ins as low as $1, and satellite tournaments that can get you all the way to the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas, it's no surprise this is one of the top real money poker sites in Ontario.
- BetMGM Poker Ontario
With BetMGM poker, you're looking at one of the busiest places to play real money online Poker. Ontario is "fenced off" from the rest of the world as part of the regulatory process, so your only competition is the other roughly 11.5 million adults in the province. Bringing in the most customers gives BetMGM an edge over the others. That means you can always find a sit n go game, and that your favourite kinds of tournaments will always have enough players to make it interesting. BetMGM uses (and for that matter bought) partypoker's software, so you can count on a user-friendly experience that works.
- PokerStars Ontario
Another Ontario online poker room worth your attention is at PokerStars, which has been in the business since the Wild West days of 2001. They have the most players worldwide and can are partly responsible for the online poker boom, since that's where Chris Moneymaker won his way into the 2003 World Series of Poker. Today they are still a standout place to play, with plenty of weekly tournaments (check out their Sunday Majors), as well as smaller cash games and rock solid proprietary software.
Other Ontario Online Poker Sites
There are a few more places offering players across Ontario online poker games of all kinds. Some of these names will look familiar since they're provider software to the bigger guys. The important thing is these places are all regulated and legal to players in Ontario.
- 888 Casino
- GG Poker
❓ How to Sign Up at a Ontario Casino to Play Online Poker
The method to register and play poker on Ontario online casinos and apps will vary by operator, but they're all generally after the same sort of information to ensure you're who you claim to be and that you're legally allowed to play. You'll need to navigate to the operator's website or download their app to your preferred device. Click on the option to "Sign Up" or "Register" or something to that end.
You'll give them your full name and address as well as some other personal information. You'll need to accept their terms and conditions and avow that you're old enough to play (19 or older in Ontario). Then you're off and running!
🃏 How to Play Online Poker
Maybe you think you can come out swinging on the big tournaments because you've had some wins with the cash game in your rec room. Take a deep breath, because it's all just different enough that you could be in over your head in a hurry.
For one thing, the higher limit games are going to have the truly serious players. This isn't the weekly game with the fellas from uni anymore. These folks know what they're doing, so make sure you know what stakes you're comfortable playing. On the other hand, the other players won't see you sweat, and there's no worrying about tells. But probably the biggest edge over a live game that you'll get in an online game is that you can play any time you want without having to straighten up the house or head for a casino.
Online Poker Tips
If you're just getting started, the most important tip is to start small. If you want to get to a point where you're in several games at once, you'll get there. But for now, one game at a time, and with low stakes are where you'll want to stay until you're familiar with how the software plays. You can also find sites that offer free online poker. Ontario operators often have a free option that will allow you to acclimate yourself with the software and the games.
Remember why you're playing, and don't play when you're too tired or otherwise not into it. If you're playing for real money, this isn't just crushing candy.
Online Poker Betting Systems
There are as many online betting systems as there are people who play poker online. The basics should be obvious. Start small, focus on the games where you're most comfortable with the rules, and make sure you keep your betting bankroll under control.
When you take the time to play, keep close track on how much money and time is going into your hobby, and how it compares to what you were hoping to get out of this.
There's no shortage of online guides and books that will tell you their way to win. The important thing is that you're satisfied with your use of your time and money.
Online Poker Apps in Ontario
Poker apps have revolutionized how the game is played. If nothing else, you can jump in on a sit 'n go game for a couple hands while you're waiting in a long line up. It's great to know that anywhere you can get an internet connection in Ontario, poker online can be found. You can pick up and play at any point without having to drive to a casino, put on respectable clothes, or even shower if you don't feel like it.
If you find the app that works best for you, your favourite online poker real money games and tournaments will be ready anywhere you go. These apps are very similar to other Ontario casino apps you would find in the market.
How to Download Ontario Poker Apps
From the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay, from Ottawa to Fort Severn, you can download the app of your choosing and play online poker. Ontario has several to choose from and you can get them to your favorite devices mostly in the same way:
- Go into the app store for your device
- Search for the name of the product (ex. "BetMGM Poker Ontario")
- Download the app and open it up to get started
Funding Your Ontario Online Poker Account
Every operator has its own way of funding your bankroll, and they're all subject to the regulations set by the province. But this should serve as a general guideline of the sort of ways you can get your money in and out of your accounts.
Legal poker sites will accept instant deposits via your regular VISA or MasterCard debit card. Acceptance rates may be low, but you will have immediate access to your funds.
PayPal is a popular method of funding online gambling bankrolls anywhere it's allowed. Like other electronic methods, deposits are lightning fast.
Another popular eWallet used by several online poker sites is Skrill. Most of these electronic payment outlets are functionally similar, so it can just be a matter of preference.
Online poker sites may also be set up to use MuchBetter. MuchBetter is used globally for instant secure payments. It's available in many languages and was designed with online gaming in mind.
An interbank network throughout Canada, Interac has recently been phased out in Ontario for the purposes of online gambling. As of January 2023, you shouldn't expect to be able to use Interac on any gambling sites in Ontario.
Conversely, online banking remains a popular way of funding online gambling bankrolls. Every bank is different and not all will do business with gaming companies.
Now under the same parent company as Skrill, Neteller provides digital currency transfers, with gambling companies making up a majority of the transactions they handle.
One of several prepaid online payment methods available to Canadian players, PaySafeCard is also a part of the Neteller/Skrill umbrella and is a favorite of gamblers and operators alike.
Cash at Cage
If your preferred online poker site is affiliated with any of the casinos across the province, you may be able to bankroll your online account from the casino cage. Doublecheck with your favorite app to see if they work with a casino in your area.
Many of the methods available for depositing money will also allow you to withdraw your winnings. It's a good idea to make sure the withdrawal methods at a poker site are compatible with you gaming style before signing up.
You may have suspected that a bank that will allow you to make online deposits to your poker account will also permit withdrawals. Check with your bank to see whether they will work with gambling companies.
You may find PayPal to be the easiest way to withdraw your funds, since you won't be dealing directly with a bank or credit card. If you're already using PayPal for other purposes, this may be your top choice.
How to Choose the Best Ontario Poker Site
The best Ontario poker site is the one that works best for the way you play. If there's an app with low buy-in, high payout tournaments in your favorite game on Sundays, but you work a double shift every Sunday, you might be better off at another operator. Here are a couple things to look out for before you make up your mind.
- Registration & Sign-Up
Getting started with an online poker site can make the difference. While the sites generally all want the same information, even the process of registration can tell you whether an operator makes the use of their software easy or unnecessarily tricky. If a signup process is needlessly complicated or the software lags, players may leave and not come back.
- Software & Security
Understanding which sites are legitimate and which are a little sketchier is a crucial point. Look for the apps that are licensed by the province of Ontario. The fact of the matter is that sites that aren't regulated can't definitely be trusted to deliver an experience where your financial and personal information are protected, or where you'll have recourse if something goes wrong. Buyer beware.
- Player Pools & Traffic
Be sure to do your research to find out how much traffic the sites and apps get, especially the days and times you think you'll be playing. Ontario is geo-fenced from the rest of the online gambling world, meaning that the only people you're playing against are other Ontarians. This will limit the size of the playing pool, but that was a trade-off made to secure legalization.
- Fast & Reliable Banking
How quickly can you get funds into your account? And how long does it take to withdraw your money when you've run the table at a big tournament? Figure out sites handle banking options that you can use, with lead times you can live with. That's as important a determining factor as any.
- Customer Service
When something goes wrong, you need to know that your issue can be addressed quickly. Get a look at the methods of contacting customer support at the sites you're considering to ensure your preferred ways to contact a rep are available. We prefer to see live chat and email features, but that's just one opinion.
Retail Poker Rooms in Ontario
Retail poker rooms in Ontario offer players the chance to enjoy live poker games in a brick-and-mortar setting. These poker rooms are typically located within casinos, racetracks or standalone establishments and offer a variety of games and limits to suit all types of players. If you want to venture out and rub elbows with fellow players, here are some establishments in Ontario to consider.
Commercial Casinos with Poker Rooms
- Canadian National Exhibition Casino, Toronto
- Casino Rama, Cumberland Beach
- Elements Casino Brantford, Brantford
- Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, Port Perry
Outside Toronto Area
- Casino Niagara, Niagara Falls
- Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls
- Caesars Windsor, Windsor (WSOP affiliate)
- OLG Rideau Carlton Raceway, Gloucester
So whether you're in the greater Toronto area, closer to the Falls or even out by Ottawa, you should be able to find an in person game at a casino, should you want one.
Toronto Area Cardrooms
- Toronto Poker Tournament Series, 24 Mallard Rd
- Sky Poker, Younge & Sheppard
- Toronto Poker Game, 526 Lawrence Ave West
- Buddy's Place, 6A-156 Duncan Mill Rd
- Toronto Poker Syndicate, 1200 Kennedy Rd
- Player's Inc, 63 Mack Ave
Responsible Gambling with Ontario Online Poker
Keeping your gambling within your limits may be the single most important part of enjoying the pastime of poker. All of the licensed poker sites throughout Ontario feature a section on responsible gambling. These sections will introduce you to features within the software that will allow you to set limits on money and time spent.
If you do think you may have a gambling problem, please contact the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for resources.
Ontario Online Poker FAQ
Yes, legal online poker games are now available throughout Ontario through several different websites.
Regulated, legal online poker has been available to players in Ontario since April 4, 2022.
The iGaming Ontario logo certifies that the games you're playing meets the standards of game integrity for licensing and regulation by the province. Bad beats can still happen, but you're playing a square game.
If you are a recreational gambler, you won't pay taxes on your winnings in Canada. If you're a professional gambler, you will. But if you're a professional gambler, you didn't need to ask that question. If you're an American playing in Ontario, be sure to declare your winnings at the border.
Whatever kind of game you'd find in a casino poker room, you'll likely find on a poker app in Ontario. Hold'em and Omaha are just the tip of the iceberg, but whether you want cash games or tournaments, you'll probably get what you want.
In order to play online poker through the sites regulated by Ontario, you will need to physically be in Ontario. You don't need to live there, or even be a Canadian citizen.
Brian Dermody's attention to detail separates him from the rest when it comes to reviewing the top sports betting apps and casino sites in Ontario.