Ontario: Top Poker Sites for 2023
|Regulatory Body:||Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario|
Online poker is one of the favourite pastimes for the residents of Ontario. The number of poker players in this Canadian province has continually been on the rise ever since the Poker Boom happened in the mid-2000s.
Today, players from Ontario can enjoy online poker on numerous Canadian-based and offshore poker sites. But what are their best options?
I wrote this article as a guide to all Ontario poker players who want to enjoy the best online poker experience from their province.
As the most populated province of Canada, it’s not surprising that Ontario also has the largest number of poker players in the country. These players are very much spoilt for choice when it comes to online poker and online gambling in general.
As of April 4, 2022, Ontario is home to a fully legalized online gambling industry. Many renowned operators, including known poker brands, have come to ON and applied for a special license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). With 15 million residents, Ontario quickly became the largest administrative region to introduce a legal online poker scene.
The number of Ontario-based poker sites is growing steadily. Currently, over 30 gambling operators have registered with AGCO, gaining approval to launch all-encompassing platforms where you can play poker legally (as long as you’re over 19). Of course, offshore sites still cater to Ontario players, but it’s safe to say that the local poker scene will likely take over and dominate the market.
On top of that, Ontario has several high-end land-based poker rooms where you can test your skills against other opponents face-to-face.
Apart from listing some of the best online and land-based poker rooms for Ontarians, I will also touch on the subject of online poker legality in the province.
In short, here are some of the things you will learn by reading this guide:
- Online poker legality in Ontario
- Top three poker sites available to Ontarians
- Where you can find the best land-based poker room in Ontario
- My process of finding safe and legal poker sites for Ontarians
- General online poker safety concerns
- Ontario online poker summary
- Frequently asked questions
No matter if you are new to online gambling or consider yourself an experienced player, skimming through this guide will help you get the most out of playing poker in Ontario. Read on!
Best Online Poker Sites in OntarioSo, now that we’ve established that online poker in Ontario is completely safe and legal, it comes the time for you to learn about the best poker sites on the web.
As I mentioned earlier, there are many online poker options for Ontario residents. However, not all of them have the same offer, as some sites have better bonus offers, a wider selection of games and tournaments, and other features that make them stand out.
Of course, you can always search for these websites yourself and see which ones fit your preferences, but as someone who has played online poker for several years, I know a thing or two when it comes to recognizing where I can get my money’s worth.
With that said, I advise you to take a look at my list of the top three poker sites for Ontarians below.
My list of the best poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Visit 888poker Ontario for the latest offers(T&C apply. 18+)
Payout Speed2-4 days
Is Online Poker Legal in Ontario?
Up until recently, the legality of online poker, and gambling in general, was a touchy subject that needed longer discussions and many clarifications. Luckily, that changed on April 4, 2022, when Ontario launched a legal online gambling market.
Before I start talking about the significant events that recently took place, it’s essential to understand that online gambling in Canada is a federal matter. This means that the federal government has a final word in deciding whether gambling is legal or not, as well as which forms of gambling are to be considered legal.
On the other hand, provincial governments can only decide which operators can legally offer gambling services to their residents.
As of recently, poker players can choose between many fully licensed online gambling platforms. The province of Ontario introduced legal online gambling on April 4, 2022. The talks about launching commercial online gambling, including online poker, began in 2020 when ON officials announced their plans to create a legal online gambling landscape.
In March 2021, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario consulted gambling stakeholders and set up regulations, application processes, and industry standards. Several months later, in June 2021, AGCO founded iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary to oversee the newly established gambling market and regulate the licensed operators.
In August 2021, the Canadian government passed Bill C-128, allowing provinces to license single-game sports wagers and online gambling (online poker included). Since Ontario was already taking the necessary steps to create a legal and safe gambling environment, lawmakers received the green light to proceed with the legalization process.
Finally, iGaming Ontario announced the launch of online gambling sites in January 2022. The launch date was set for April 4. As of now, over 30 operators have obtained the AGCO license (or are in the process of receiving it). Out of these, 17 already have an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario and have launched their gambling platforms.
The legal gambling age in Canada varies between the provinces. If you want to play online poker legally in Ontario, you must be 19 or older.
But what about foreign-based websites that accept players from Ontario? This is where things enter a bit of a gray area.
Both federal and provincial governments can only regulate online gambling within their borders. So, even though the province of Ontario only has a few officially legal gambling sites, nothing is preventing you from playing poker on offshore websites.
Foreign-based poker sites are technically not illegal in Canada, and this is the reason why a lot of them accept Canadian players. As long as you’re allowed to make an account on these sites, you won’t be in violation of any federal or provincial laws.
If any legal issues do occur and you end up accidentally playing on a website that’s considered illegal by your provincial government, the authorities will always go after the operator and not you as a player.
To make you even more at ease, there haven’t been any recorded arrests on people who have used offshore poker sites in the province of Ontario thus far, so you shouldn’t worry about it one bit.
Top Poker Sites in Ontario
Disclaimer: the sites you can read about below are the best in my subjective opinion. This doesn’t mean that they will be the best site for you personally. Also, the details you can read about bonuses and promotions are subject to change, so please make sure to check whether the information on these offers is still correct before committing to that operator.
I have done meticulous research in order to find the best poker sites for Ontarians. Narrowing my selection to only three websites was very difficult since there are, in reality, over a dozen great poker sites out there.
Nevertheless, I am fully convinced that these three are the cream of the crop when it comes to online poker in Ontario. Enjoy!
Visit 888poker Ontario for the latest offers
888Poker has a wide selection of games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-Card Stud, and others. There are plenty of Sit & Go and Multi-Table tournaments you can choose from, and they run almost every day.
888Poker also has one of the best mobile platforms in the industry, and its 888Poker Club features a very rewarding loyalty program.
- Popular and highly-rated online poker brand
- Excellent selection of games and tournaments
- Accepts players from Ontario
Best Land-Based Poker Room in Ontario
Apart from online platforms, players from Ontario can enjoy poker on multiple land-based locations scattered throughout the province.
Depending on what type of a casino resort you prefer and how long you are willing to travel, some land-based poker rooms might be better than others for you personally.
However, generally speaking, many would agree that the best land-based poker room in Ontario can be found in the Casino Rama Resort.
Casino Rama is a First Nations tribal community casino that offers plenty in terms of luxury accommodation, dining, music concerts, and other events. It’s one of the closest options for those of you who live in Toronto that doesn’t have any casinos in the city.
The casino itself has more than 2,000 video slot machines and over 60 gaming tables. There are currently nine poker tables where players can enjoy Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em with C$1/C$2 to C$5/C$10 blinds.
Apart from cash games, Casino Rama offers tournaments that are run every two weeks on Monday. The buy-in for the tournament is C$300, including a C$15 tournament fee. There is also a Bad Beat Jackpot that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
|Address:||5899 Rama Rd, Orillia, ON L3V 6H6, Canada|
|Poker Games Available:||Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em|
|Tournaments:||One poker tournament every other Monday|
How I Select Best Poker Sites in Ontario
The online poker rooms that I talked about in this article were not just randomly chosen. I have spent hours conducting careful research and comparing their offers to those of their competition.
But in order to legitimize my selections even further, I have decided to share with you my review process and tell you about all the criteria that a given operator must meet before getting a thumbs up from me.
Licensing and Security
First off, I look into the operator’s licensing information. Since Ontario now has a regulated and legal online gambling landscape, playing in a licensed poker room adds another safety layer to your gambling experience. That’s why I always check whether an operator holds the relevant AGCO license.
However, if you’re still leaning towards offshore online casinos and poker sites, you can choose between various high-quality options. Each site recommended on this page has a valid gambling license issued by a reputable regulator. So, you can rest assured knowing that each platform will treat you right and create a safe gambling environment.
Poker BonusesStarting to play online poker with some extra money in your account is always a good stimulus for a player. Welcome bonuses are present on almost every poker site out there, but some are more generous than others.
You will notice that all poker sites I listed have a 100% welcome bonus, meaning that your first deposit will be matched dollar for dollar. This is a very good bonus, but I also paid attention to other promotions that a website has, including loyalty programs and jackpots.
However, Ontario has strict rules regarding the promotion of gambling bonuses. No affiliate site is allowed to display specific bonus offers and descriptions. Therefore, I’m only allowed to tell you that Ontario-based poker sites carry hefty promotions. If you want more details regarding particular bonuses, visit the official poker site and read the fine print.
Software and Mobile PlatformThere are two ways in which you can play online poker — instant play via your computer’s browser or by downloading the casino’s poker software.
Downloading the software is always better, in my opinion, as it will provide you with easier navigation and more smooth gameplay (that is, of course, if the casino’s software is decent, to begin with).
The websites I included have some of the best poker software in the industry. From a configurational standpoint, these programs are not very demanding, and they don’t take a lot of disk space either. You will be able to install and start playing in minutes.
Game SelectionA poker site can have outstanding bonuses and great software, but this doesn’t mean much if the games themselves are not worth the trouble. That’s why I always check the site’s game and tournament selection before giving it any words of praise.
By choosing to play on one of the websites from my list, you can expect to enjoy all the most popular poker variants like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, and more. There will also be frequent tournaments in which you can steal juicy prizes.
TrafficPlayer traffic is very important because it suggests how popular a certain poker site actually is. Poor traffic not only shows that the site is avoided by many players, but it also means that you could be waiting a long time for the tables to fill up.
Poker sites that I selected host thousands of players on a daily basis, which allows for non-stop poker action and quick gameplay.
Banking MethodsMaking quick and easy deposits and withdrawals is always preferable. The sites I selected have several Canadian-friendly banking methods with balanced limits and minimum fees (if any). They also support cryptocurrency transactions that are growing in popularity on online casino sites in the past several years.
Customer SupportBeginner players that are not used to using poker sites often run into some problems, no matter if they occur when making an account, unlocking the bonuses, or playing the games.
Every poker site should have friendly and patient customer support that can walk you through in resolving these issues. It is also preferable that they have 24/7 live chat support, as this is the quickest way in which you can get a reply.
Is It Safe to Play Online Poker in Ontario?Almost all online poker players are concerned about safety when they’re choosing a new poker site. This is a legit concern, as there are many fraudulent operators out there that will not offer you fair games and will instead just try to scam you and take your money away.
I made sure that this never happens on websites that I promote. First of all, all the websites that I listed here are licenced and regulated by reputable offshore jurisdictions. Additionally, they all use cutting-edge cybersecurity measures that will keep your money and personal information out of harm’s reach.
How to Start Playing on an Online Poker Site in Ontario?
If you’re ready to explore the newly established Ontario poker scene, you’ll have to register an account. Luckily, the entire process is super simple and can be done within moments. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Choose a Poker Site
Pick a poker room from my list of recommendations — Check out what each operator offers, and choose the one you like the most.
Create an AccountSelect the option to join and fill out the registration form — use your personal and contact information to complete the required fields. Create a username and a password, and confirm the registration.
Make a DepositGo to the Cashier, select the option to deposit, and find your preferred payment method. Insert the amount you wish to transfer and complete the payment.
Claim a welcome bonusVisit the promotions section, opt in for the bonus, and add it to your account.
Use bonus funds to try various poker games and explore everything the operator offers to its members.
Final ThoughtsChoosing an online poker room in Ontario is easy once you read an expert’s advice on the matter. With that said, I hope that you will pick one of the sites from my list and start enjoying online poker the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Ontarians are lucky in the sense that online poker is considered legal activity in the province. Players who choose offshore operators are not penalized in any way, which leaves plenty of possibilities.
If you have anything to add or you simply want to ask me a question, please use the Comment section below, and I will get back to you ASAP. Good luck!