Poker in Canada: It’s Time for the Real Deal

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Online gambling is fully legal and regulated by the authorities in Canada. In fact, this North American country is home to a smorgasbord of legal online casinos, online poker rooms, and online sports betting options. As one of the most progressive nations in the world, Canada is accepting of regulated gambling, provided the requisite safety features are in place to ensure that underage gambling does not take place. Legal online gaming is pervasive across Canada, with online casinos and poker rooms in Québec for the French speakers, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and well beyond.

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One cannot have a frank discussion about poker in Canada without paying tribute to online casino gaming in the country. For starters, Canadian players can easily access thousands of world-class games from premier providers. Additionally, Canada has an advanced set of banking options designed to accommodate players across the spectrum. The chief Canadian regulatory body for online gaming is the KGC (Kahnawake Gaming Commission), and it is responsible for licensing land-based gaming and interactive gaming from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.

How Popular is Poker in Canada?

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Judging from the Hendon Mob all-time Canadian money list, there are 10 Canadian poker players with outsized performances. Between them, they have amassed over $165 million in tournament winnings. This giant-sized country has a population of just 37.267 million people, and the interest in poker per capita is exceptionally strong. Consider the Top Five Canadian all-time money list winners in the game:

  1. Daniel Negreanu – $41,857,384
  2. Sam Greenwood – $19,965,772
  3. Jonathan Duhamel – $18,012,110
  4. Timothy Adams – $17,382,501
  5. Mike McDonald – $13,305,046

Daniel Negreanu is a Toronto born Canadian who now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. His name is arguably the most recognizable of all the Canadian poker players, and for good reason. His consistently excellent performances in big-money poker events are without question. Consider his recent performance at the $100,000 No-Limit Hold'em Highroller Event #83 where he placed second for a prize of $1,725,838 on July 11, 2019, at the 50th WSOP Las Vegas Nevada. Negreanu also scooped up a $3 million payday at the $300,000 No-Limit Hold'em 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, in Las Vegas where he placed second. His astounding performances have netted him tens of millions of dollars over the years, indicating without a shadow of a doubt that poker is a skill-based card game.

Sam Greenwood also hails from Toronto, Canada and currently resides in his home city. He has racked up considerable live tournament earnings, with a best live cash of $1,853,387. He recently competed at the $100,000 No-Limit Hold'em – Triton London Main Event #5 where he won a $1,097,724 reward. Prior to that, he collected monster pots in May, with a $1,095,625 payout at the HK $750,000 Short Deck No-Limit Hold'em – Ante-Only Event #10 at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series – Montenegro, Budva and a $719,873 payout at the HK$1 million No-Limit Hold'em – Triton Montenegro Main Event #5 where he placed fifth in the tournament.

Thousands of Canadians are flocking to online poker rooms every year. These newbies are inspired by the performances of their professional poker players. The appeal of major poker tournaments like the annual WSOP, WPT, ANZPT, Aussie Millions, LAPT, and the WSOPE drive lots of traffic to the game. Online poker rooms are accessible to Canadian players, and they readily teach players how to play poker. Notable among them is 888poker, which offers Canadian players plenty of big money poker tournaments like the $1000 Depositors Free Tournaments, the $500 First Depositors Free Tournaments, and the Sunday Challenge Tournament. With online poker play, Canadian players get to enjoy no download poker games in demo mode or real money mode. Top attractions include 7 Card Stud, Omaha Hi-Lo, and all-important Texas Hold'em Poker. Other enticements like $88 free no deposit bonuses make it much more alluring to shuffle up and deal with poker games online.

Do Canadians Consider Poker to Be a Skill-Based Game or a Game of Chance?

The age-old debate about poker being a game of luck or a game of skill rages to this day. It appears that poker is a fusion of both. Canadians accept that there is a definite skill element to poker, but Lady Luck ultimately decides how those cards will fall. There are many skill-based elements at play in games of poker, notably bankroll management, the psychological aspect of the game, your nerve, and your ability to read other players. Other gambling games like slots have no skill element whatsoever – RNGs ensure that outcomes are completely random. To answer the question, poker is a game of luck and it is a game of skill. As players compete in more hands, so the component known as luck diminishes and the skill-based element becomes more prominent.

Debates about skill and luck must take many factors into consideration, notably the issue of poker variance. European courts have debated this very issue at length and come to different opinions. For example, one court in the Netherlands found poker to be a skill-based game, while the Amsterdam Court of Appeals declared it to be a chance-based game. The issue of skill or luck is important insofar as regulators must make determinations about it. The crux of the matter though is public perception. If the public considers poker to be a skill-based game, it will be more socially acceptable than a gambling-based game which typically faces more opposition at the provincial and federal level. One overarching reality tends to cast a big shadow over the opinions of naysayers: professional poker players consistently win throughout their career – coincidence or not?