The Poker Scene in Canada Thrives

Canada’s love for poker won’t stop any time soon.

For those living outside of the gambling bubble, there is a great debate currently raging in this industry whether poker is on its way to retain its early to mid-2000s glory or not. Reports from sector giants like Flutter Entertainment suggest that interest in the world’s most popular card game is at a five-year high, and it will continue to rise going forward. However, others believe that this is a transient occurrence fueled by the government-induced lockdowns that have taken place over the past two years. Nothing more than a fad, one that will disappear once things get back to normal.

Only time will tell which assessment is correct. What is a fact is that Canada loves poker. The game is legal at many venues throughout the country, and even some provinces permit their residents to participate in online play. Moreover, under Section 204(1)(b) of Canada’s Criminal code, home games are also legal within the country’s borders as long as the host does not take a rake. Hence, it should come as no surprise that poker is super established in North America’s hat.

Canada has a long-standing tradition concerning poker, which rose to prominence within its borders in the Klondike Gold Rush via its ancestor, Faro. Canadians have also been quite crucial in its global development. Toronto natives Andrew and Mark Rivkin developed the internet’s initial gambling payment software, and Israeli-Canadian brother Isai and Mark Scheinberg are the pair that launched the world’s most famous card gambling website – PokerStars. The latter is a robust platform that offers dozens of online card rooms and supplies free guides to learn about poker hands.

Below, we get into evidence that proves that poker is thriving in Canada and that this will not stop any time soon.

The Great White North Is a Breeding Ground for Poker Pros

Without a doubt, Daniel Negreanu is one of poker’s most recognizable names. At one time, Global Poker Index, the independent poker ranking service, listed him as the best player of the decade. He currently stands in the number three spot regarding live tournament winnings. In 2014, he entered the Poker Hall of Fame. Negreanu is as mainstream as poker players get, but he is not the only example of Canada’s talent for cards. Timothy Adams from Burlington, Ontario, is the second biggest Canadian tournament winner, whose live purses exceed $24 million. Sam Greenwood, a former Toronto stock trader, is not far from Adams on this list, as he only trails $2 million behind in total live competition prizes. Other highly successful Canadian poker pros include Jonathan Duhamel, Daniel Dvoresss, Mike McDonald, and Sorel Mizzi.

These names aside, many Canadian celebrities have also made their mark playing this game. For example, Quebec billionaire businessman and philanthropist Guy Laliberte has participated in high stakes games since 2006 and even took fourth place in a World Poker Tour event at the Bellagio in 2007, winning close to $700,000. Neteller’s founder John Lefebvre is also a card-playing enthusiast, and the same goes for the person that established Bodog, Calvin Ayre.

Multiple High-End Tournaments Continuously Run Throughout Canada

The first World Poker Tour event in Canada happened at the Fallsview casino in 2006, four years following its initial event at the Bellagio in June 2001. Today, the WPT Montreal runs events multiple times per year with buy-ins that range from $350 to $3,500. Due to their popularity, many Canadians believe that the WPT should change its name to the Montreal Poker Tour. The annual tournament happening at the Playground Poker Club, the country’s premium card destination, regularly attracts many of the nation’s top names, including Phill Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, and Daniel Negreanu.

The WSOP also runs competitions frequently throughout Vancouver and Montreal. These tournament circuit stops can have buy-ins as low as $365 but may go up to $1,500.

Canadians also are not shy about playing online. PokerStars’ Sunday Million tournament is vastly popular among the country’s residents, offering a first-place prize that can go up to $150,000. Though many simply prefer playing in cash games at offshore sites, not wanting to deal with league/tournament formats and the obligations these bring.

Famous Canadian Casinos Offering Poker Action

According to most, the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls is the country’s most prominent gaming establishment, boasting an impressive casino floor that stretches over two hundred square feet. At writing, this venue’s poker room is temporarily closed. Nevertheless, when open, it can get found on level two of this establishment featuring twenty-six tables that run twenty-four hours a day.

Other high-end poker spots that offer casino-style entertainment in Canada are Casino Regina in Saskatchewan, Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, and Winnipeg’s Club Regent. Naturally, these are not the only options. They are ones many consider the best.

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