Online Poker

A guide to online poker tables in Canada 2024.

In our expert guide, you'll discover the thrilling world of online poker in Canada, where you can challenge other poker players and experience the game like never before. We delve into the nuances of online poker, from the basics of gameplay to advanced strategies, ensuring you're well-equipped for the virtual felt. Our guide also meticulously reviews the top Canadian online poker sites, focusing on their game variety, security, user experience, and bonuses.

Top poker sites 2024

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Best poker sites Canada - July 2024

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Is playing online poker legal in Canada?

Online casinos wishing to operate in Canada must be in possession of a valid license. For example, this can be the European MGA license from Malta or the Canadian gambling license in Kahnawake.

Due to the free movement of all services within the European Union and North America, companies with registered offices within the EU can legally offer their services in all member states. But there are also licensed casinos based outside the EU and Canada, for example in Curacao.

On our website, we pride ourselves on providing players with the most authentic online poker experience. We only work with sites that are fully licensed to ensure you will have a safe and positive gaming experience.

Is online live poker rigged?

That’s a good question and one of the first questions newbies ask themselves when they start playing poker online. Luckily, when it comes to gaming at casinos, fairness is easily proven. However, before we get to that point, let’s discuss the concept behind the turn of every card at the online poker table: the RNG, or Random Number Generator.

The RNG is the program that decides which cards will be dealt. This is calculated mathematically using special algorithms. However, for online poker sites, simply claiming to be fair is not enough. Any action involving real money must be verified by a recognized, independent testing company such as eCOGRA. In short, the RNG ensures a completely random outcome for every card drawn. This excludes the “edge” of the casino, a traditional house edge used to cover operating costs.

Compared to video and virtual poker, the RNG is not relevant for online poker games. Because tables with human croupiers deal cards by hand from a “shoe” – and thanks to a camera you can see it with your own eyes. Testing agencies also check live games for fairness, although the terms are much closer to physical casinos.

We will talk extensively about online poker tables in this guide and rest assured: On our website, we will not make any recommendations for unfair games or unfair casinos.

The first online poker rooms were opened in 1998 by Planet Poker. A year later “Party Poker” was added, which quickly became the market leader.

Why play poker at online casinos?

In this short section, we will compare online poker in Canada to regular poker. The following table summarizes all the important points. Each has its own individual merits that are more or less attractive to different types of players. However, as this guide focuses on the recent developments of this game, we will take a closer look at the unique advantages that online poker offers its players.

For one, online poker is a very social game. You can communicate with the dealer and sometimes with other players who are at the same table. This creates a more competitive atmosphere that is impossible to replicate in RNG poker versions. All the usual bonuses and promotions also apply to online poker, with the exception of demo games which are not available at a “real” poker table.

Online Poker vs RNG Poker
Feature Online Poker RNG Poker Games
Play from home
  • Play from home
    Online poker brings the casino to your bedroom or on the bus. It’s up to you where you play. Live dealer games are still one of the new features of an online casino in Canada, so there can be a greater variety of variants at conventional virtual tables.
  • Bonuses
    Welcome bonuses can also apply to live games, especially in dedicated poker casinos. The free spins for new players can range in hundreds of dollars.
  • Promotions
    Gaming incentives include deposit bonuses and cashback on rakes. Leaderboards may grant daily prizes to listed players.
  • Adventure
    Live tables offer the most authentic casino experience available online. Normally you play against the croupier and not against other players, but it is still very close to a “real hand of poker”.
  • Tournaments
    Low buy-ins at poker sites mean online poker tournaments are open to everyone. Tournaments are held in online poker rooms on a continuous schedule.
The International Federation of Mental Sports (IMSA) declared poker a mental sport in 2010. Since then, poker players can call themselves athletes.

The online experience of a classic game with Online Poker

Still unsure when it comes to online live poker and how it works? Ultimately, the live version of the game only exists due to advances in video streaming technology, internet speed, and developer software.

Difference between online poker and virtual poker
Online Poker Virtual Poker
Croupier on a webcam. No dealer visible or just a CGI.
Social experience including live chat. Solo gameplay or with friends.
The outcome is determined by hand-shuffled cards. Cards “dealt” from a computer.
Demo modes are usually absent. Exercise modes available.

Online poker tables

Live poker tables use new technology to bring more social interactions to the traditional game. Try it once:

  • Online 3-card poker
  • Online Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Online Caribbean Stud Poker

Poker Room

In the early days of online casinos, you could only enter poker rooms by downloading bulky software – this is not the case today. Some of the most popular online games are:

  • Sit & Go tournaments
  • SNAP Poker
  • BLAST Poker

Virtual online poker games

Virtual online poker games are those that you can play alone against the computer and that use an RNG. This includes video poker. Some of the most popular virtual poker variants are:

  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Caribbean Poker
  • Ride’em Poker
  • Triple edge poker
  • Oasis Poker
  • Jacks or Better

How to play online poker?

Now is a good time to start playing online poker in Canada as there are so many bonuses and promotions now. Check the top of this page for the latest offers. Here is a quick guide to playing live dealer poker for newbies:

  1. Find your favorite live casino on our website.
  2. Sign up and claim every available welcome bonus.
  3. Make a deposit.
  4. Go to the live casino category from the top menu of the casino.
  5. Choose your favorite online poker table and listen to the dealer’s instructions.
  6. That’s all.

Note that many online poker games give players the option to sort by region or language. If you don’t want to play in English, you can also find many lobbies that offer French-speaking tables if you poke around a bit.

In 2003, Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million in the World Series of Poker, sparking a global poker boom that continues to this day.

Tips to know before playing poker online

We on our website are dedicated to bringing you the most lucrative bonuses and presenting selected casino sites so you can play without worrying about fairness or security. Nevertheless, always pay attention to the security of your personal data.

Here are three quick tips to ensure your online poker experience runs smoothly:

  1. Master the rules, positions and poker hands.
  2. Understand the key concepts of poker strategy.
  3. Know Online poker variants.
  4. Choose the best online poker casinos before you start playing.

Online poker rules, bets and odds

Poker is not only a very popular topic in film and television. The game has also become firmly established in the popular culture of our time. Today, live poker games can be watched on screen, casinos offer poker tournaments, and poker cases have become a popular gift. But how exactly does the game actually work?

We sat down and put together the most important information for you. In doing so, we concentrate on the basic rules, the possible poker bets and the odds on which the game is based. The aim is for you to develop a better understanding of this card game and be able to pull the money out of your friends’ pockets on the next poker night.

Here’s how to learn the rules of poker

Poker is largely a game of chance. You can’t control what cards you get into your hand, only what you discard. This means that the core of the game revolves more around strategy, statistics and psychology than just playing cards. In order to make the right decisions, it is important that you know the value of all poker cards and poker combinations. Probabilities can be derived from this, which you use to place your bets. Before you venture to the table, you should familiarize yourself with all the poker rules, and probabilities and over time also with different strategies. If you play on good luck and gut feeling, you will soon lose your poker stake.

The goal of the game

In its basic form, poker is a comparison game. This means that the player with the best hand wins. This hand is composed differently in different variants. In general, it usually consists of a mixture of face-down poker cards that each player has in their hand and several face-up cards that lie in the middle of the table and are used by all players at the same time. With these cards, the player must form the best possible combination. However, the actual goal of the game is not necessarily to have the best poker cards in your hand. If all other players at the table fold, you automatically win the round. It is therefore quite possible to mislead the other players into making wrong decisions with a clever betting strategy. That’s called bluffing.

Ranking of poker hands

There are a total of 10 hands that are relevant in poker. We’ve listed them in descending order, with the highest hand starting:

  • Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 of the same suit.
  • Straight Flush: 5 consecutive poker cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind: 4 cards of the same rank.
  • Full House : 3 poker cards and two cards of the same rank.
  • Flush: all cards are of the same suit.
  • Straight: all cards are in sequence but not the same suit.
  • Three of a kind : 3 cards of the same rank.
  • 2 pairs: 2 cards of the same rank twice.
  • Pair: 2 cards that have the same rank.
  • High Card: If no other poker combination is possible, your highest card counts as your hand.

Pre-Flop, Flop, Turn, River and Showdown

The terms flop, turn and river are essential to most poker games.

  • Pre-Flop: Games that use shared table cards usually begin with a round of betting before those poker cards are dealt.
  • Upon completion, the dealer deals the first round of table cards, commonly referred to as the flop.
  • Another round of betting follows. Another table card is then added, followed by another chance to place bets. This round is called a turn.
  • Finally, one last shared table card is added before the final round of betting takes place. This point in the game is commonly known as the river.
  • If there are still players in the game at this point, there is a showdown and the end of the round.

The dealer button

This plastic object is an important part of international poker culture. It is a flat disc used to show who is the dealer for that round. The reels usually rotate clockwise when there is no designated dealer. Apart from that, there is often a whole range of other buttons, especially in casinos. They indicate the status or situation of the players, for example, All In, Missed Blind or Kill/No Kill.

Big and small blinds

Blinds are required bets in poker that players must place to the left of the dealer button. The player next to the dealer must post the small blind and then the player after that must post the big blind. The big blind amount is usually the minimum bet at the table, while the small blind is half that. The player next to the big blind gets to act first during the betting round. If a player calls the big blind, the big blind can raise the bet again. After all rounds from flop to river have been completed, the small blind is allowed to act first. Since table card games are currently being played with no ante, i.e. a required minimum bet for each player, the blinds force players to bet. This is necessary because players can theoretically fold without betting.

No limit, pot limit and limit

If you want to play poker for real money, you should deal with the betting structures.

  • Basically, no-limit poker means that you can bet as much as you like on each round. This can lead to players with a large budget simply betting so high that the other players cannot keep up. Therefore, there are often various restrictions, so-called limits, in the poker rules.
  • A fixed limit is an amount, for example, $5 per round.
  • A spread limit allows players to choose a bet from a range, for example between $1 and $5.
  • Finally, in Pot Limit, no player may raise by an amount greater than the entire pot. In this way, even players with smaller wallets have a chance.

Different variants of the poker rules

There are many different variants of poker. There are generally four groups: Straight, Stud Poker, Draw Poker and Community Poker. The last category is the most popular in general and the best-known are Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em.

Omaha Hold’em evolved from Texas Hold’em and there are some differences in the details of the poker game rules. The players of the Ohama variant are first dealt four cards instead of two. To build the hand, two cards must come from the face-down deck and three from the community deck. It is played with more cards than Texas Hold’em and so there are ultimately more variations in the game.

What types of bets can you make in poker?

Poker is a game of chance with real money at stake. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the different betting options and the associated risks. You should also get used to the idea that you’re not going to win every game. Instead, making the most of a win is more important. Even if you concede several times in a row, a single well-placed win can give you enough profit for the whole evening. It is therefore crucial that you discover the topic of strategies for yourself. This requires some self-study but will pay off for you in the long run.

  • Poker bets and options
    In a typical round of poker you have a total of 4 options for action: call, raise, fold and all in. This may sound like very little at first glance, but you will be surprised at the strategic possibilities opened up with these options. Again, you realize that poker isn’t really about the cards. Much more important is an understanding of the gameplay and human behavior. Mathematical knowledge is also more than just helpful. Below we explain the different actions in detail.
  • Call in poker
    This promotion simply means that you call the specified bet. This can be a first bet or a raise. You are definitely part of it. If you play more defensively, the call is often the right option. In this way, you also control your budget to avoid unnecessary risks. With a well-placed call, you can also lull the other players into a false sense of security, as they assume you want to be more cautious or have no confidence in your own hand.
  • Raise in poker
    With a raise, you increase the stake in this round of betting. This can happen once or several times. The amount is often determined by the poker rules at the table. Raising shows you have confidence, which can intimidate other players. It is even possible to win the game without a good hand if the other players shy away from your aggressive raises. In any case, you should have a strategy ready and not just increase the stakes on random chance.
  • Fold in poker
    With this promotion, you give up the game for that round and lose your previous bet. If possible, you should do this at the very beginning to avoid any losses. The later you fold, the more you lose. Also remember that when you fold, all the cards are shuffled and you will never see the actual hand in your opponent’s hand. This is potentially even worse than losing your bet. You could be left wondering how the game might have ended for a long time afterward. However, don’t forget your budget. Sometimes it’s better to take a loss if you can get through the round and continue playing.
  • All in at the poker
    This is the most aggressive betting method. You bet your entire funds on your current hand. This is a very powerful maneuver, so you should be absolutely sure that you have a very high chance of winning. On the other hand, if one of your opponents goes all in, you don’t have to match the amount completely. Your total budget counts as all-in if it’s not enough to put exactly the same amount of money on the table.

Poker odds and payouts

In poker, there are different odds for different hands. Odds are the odds a player has of winning a particular hand. Here are examples of percentage odds for the hands in poker that typically occur the most. We show how many ways there are to complete such a hand, and then the odds of making such a hand on the river round:

Poker hands and Poker odds
Hand Rate
Open straight and flush draw 15, 54%
Inside Straight and Flush Draw 12, 45%
Flush draw 9, 35%
Open-ended straight draw 8, 32%
Two pairs to a full house 4, 16%
Inside straight draw 4, 16%
1 x overcard against the top pair 3, 12%
Pocket pair to set 2, 8%

In addition, there are also the odds for the jackpot in poker. These tell what your payout looks like when you see your bet relative to the jackpot:

Jackpot payout in poker
Jackpot Rate
Half jackpot : 3:1
Two-thirds jackpot 5:2
Three quarters jackpot 7:3
A bet equal to the jackpot 8:4 or 2:1
Double jackpot 12:8 or 3:2

A quick note for players who prefer to play online against the computer. All casino games against the bank carry what is called a house edge. This is a statistical advantage for the bank so that the casino can make a profit in the long run.

House Edge briefly explained

The house edge is the bank advantage in games of chance, i.e. the calculated loss of the player in relation to the bet made. You can find more detailed information on the house advantage on our associated information page.

Here’s how to play a typical round of poker

After all this statistical information, you’re probably wondering what a game of poker looks like. We have therefore performed a very classic round of poker as an example for you. Again, we’re using Texas Hold’em as the basis here, since it’s the most popular version.

  1. Step 1: Make your deposit
    Choose the payment method that suits you best and make your deposit for the game.
  2. Step 2: Blinds
    The required bets are placed
  3. Step 3: Deal
    Each player receives two cards face down. The first card goes to the small blind
  4. Step 4: Preflop
    The first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind
  5. Step 5 Flop
    The dealer deals 3 face-up cards together
  6. Step 6: Second betting round
    From here, all betting rounds begin with the player to the left of the dealer
  7. Step 7: Turn
    The dealer places another face-up community card
  8. Step 8: Third betting round
    Players again have the opportunity to increase the stakes.
  9. Step 9: river
    Now the dealer reveals the last community card
  10. Step 10: Fourth betting round
    The jackpot can go up one last time
  11. Step 11: Showdown
    If there are at least two players left at this point, they now reveal their cards and the winner is announced.

Make a poker face on and go

Now you probably have a slightly better idea of ​​how a game at the poker table usually works. In any case, you should familiarize yourself with the matter before you start so that you can make good decisions. That is, learn the poker rules, and find out about poker hands, poker bets and combinations. In addition, it is not only recommended but essential that you inquire about the house rules either with the organizer or the operator of the casino.

Learn the different rules of different poker games.

Poker Strategy

Become a poker shark and bite hard with the right strategy. Poker is a game of chance? Don’t make a mistake there! With our little strategy guide, we want to teach you the basics for a better poker game.

What will you learn in this poker strategy guide?

You won’t get rich with this guide! But you’ll improve your game, reduce blunders, and lay the foundation for a successful poker future. If you practice the game of poker, learn, practice and study. It takes months, if not years, to become a good poker player. But it is possible! So let’s get started.

Basic poker tips

Always keep these six tips in mind. Always.

  • 1. Memorize the Rules, Bets, Odds and Outs!
    Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to poker. Your position at the table is important, as are the odds of winning the hand and the odds of improving the hand. Later in the text, I will explain where you can best acquire this knowledge.
  • 2. Choose the right poker variant!
    There are countless poker variants: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Five Card Draw, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Badugi and many more. If you are a beginner, I strongly recommend only Texas Hold’em. Only once you have mastered this variant can you try the others, such as the equally popular Omaha.
  • 3. Bankroll management! Plan your losses!
    A point that few like to hear. However, poker is a game with so-called up swings and down swings – and just because you win three times in a row does not make you a winning player. For tournaments, I recommend you have at least 100x the buy-in (fee to enter) in your account. So if you start with €100 starting capital, you will play no more than €1 tournaments or Sit & Go tournaments (SNG). For cash tables, I recommend at least 50x the maximum buy-in.
  • 4. Set yourself a time limit!
    Or at least be aware of how long a tournament can last. Playing poker is exhausting over time, at least if you play the game conscientiously. Never just play it, especially when things are going badly. Take a break in time!
  • 5. The position at the table is important!
    Even experienced players make this mistake over and over again; they forget where they are sitting. The later your turn, the more information you get about the other players. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the small blind and big blind, the better. Here are the designations:

    • Late Positions: Cutoff (CO) and Button (BU)
      The two supposedly best positions; the button is the dealer and sits to the right of the small blind. The cutoff is to the right of the button.
    • Middle Positions: MP1, MP2, MP3
      These three positions come just after the cutoff and sit to their right.
    • Early Positions (Under The Gun): UTG1, UTG2, UTG3
      These positions sort themselves directly behind the blinds, ie to the left of the BB.
    • The blinds: small blind (SB) and big blind (BB)
      These are the two mandatory bets. The small blind is the smaller one.
  • 6. Learn the poker language!
    You already know UTG, BB, CO or Button. Also important are:

    • Call
      You pay the bet offered to play.
    • Bet
      If no player has bet anything other than the blinds and you raise the bet.
    • Raise
      If you want to beat a bet, raise and bet again.
    • Fold
      Don’t want to pay a bet? Then you fold your cards.
    • Check
      If you’re in the game but no one has raised before you, you can check/check and the player after you has a turn.
    • Hole Cards
      These are the cards you are initially dealt face down.
    • Flop
      These are the community cards in the second round of betting
    • Turn
      In most poker variants, the turn is the third round of betting.
    • River
      In most poker variants, the river is the fourth round of betting.
    • All-in
      If you bet all your playing chips / all your remaining money at the table, you are all in.
    • Buy-in
      The buy-in is practically the entrance fee.
    • Pot
      The pot consists of the bets made at the table.

The poker hands

Below is a small table with all possible winning combinations:

Royal Flush
A K Q J 10
Probability: 0.000154%
Odds of winning: 649.739 : 1
Straight Flush
2 3 4 5 6
Probability: 0.00139%
Odds of winning: 72.192 : 1
Four of a Kind
A A A A 8
Probability: 0.00139%
Odds of winning: 72.192 : 1
Full House
Q Q Q 6 6
Probability: 0.14419%
Odds of winning: 693 : 1
4 8 7 2 6
Probability: 0.1965%
Odds of winning: 508 : 1
3 4 5 6 7
Probability: 0.3925%
Odds of winning: 254 : 1
Three of a Kind
K K K 5 8
Probability: 2.1128%
Odds of winning: 46.3 : 1
Two Pairs
3 9 9 5 5
Probability: 4.7539%
Odds of winning: 20 : 1
One Pair
9 10 6 6 2
Probability: 42.2569%
Odds of winning: 1.37 : 1
High Card
4 6 K 8 3
Probability: 50.1177%
Odds of winning: 0.99 : 1

The basic poker strategy

Poker is easy to learn, but it takes a lot of practice and perseverance to master the game. Our poker tips will help you with that. There are countless strategies and many more scenarios that you can play and interpret differently. However, there are basic playstyles that I would like to introduce you to.

What styles of poker are there?

There are four playstyles, but you can combine them with each other. You don’t have to strictly adhere to one style either. It often depends on the situation, the format, the table and your fellow campaigners.

  • 1. Tight
    You only play with the very best hands like AK, AQ, AJ, AA, KK and so on in this style.
  • 2. Loose
    Loose means you play almost any hand, any combination. This type of game cannot be mastered even by some professionals. Best keep your hands off it.
  • 3. Aggressive
    Aggressive means that you hardly ever check, but mostly raise and try to force players out of the pot. As a beginner, you should only play aggressively with a strong hand.
  • 4. Passives
    Passive players usually only pay the stake and rarely put other players under pressure. This style of play can quickly cost you dearly because you tend to let too many players see the next card cheaply.

When to raise

As a newbie, you shouldn’t make the mistake of wanting to trap other players. Mathematically, such tricks usually lead to a really expensive dead end. If you have a strong hand: raise it! Only bluff in exceptional cases and do not set traps. This also applies to the flop! If you’re dealt AK or a similarly strong hand, raise. Even with two aces!

When to call

Our personal opinion: as good as ever! You never want to be in a pot fight with many players at once, so raise. Only call if you know(!) that you are ahead and another player is bluffing. But believe me, this happens less often than you think. You can call if you can hope for a flush, for example. To do that, you need to understand pot odds and implied odds – and I’ll get to that now:

Understand pot odds

At this point, the poker game gets more complicated. Pot odds are designed to answer this question: is it profitable to bet? Let’s say there are 100 chips in the pot and you have to pay another 20 chips to play. Then the pot odds are 5:1 . Now we need to determine how many outs you have.

Outs are the possible cards in the deck that improve your hand. There are 13 diamond cards in total in the deck. In our example, there are 2 diamonds on the table and you have 2 in your hand. So you only need 1 diamond card to complete your diamond flush (5 of a kind). There are 9 diamonds left in the deck, so you have 9 outs.

47 of the 52 cards are still in the deck, which means the following formula for the next card (in this case the turn):

P = 9 / 47 = 0.1915 = 19.15%

But this rule of thumb is easier for you:

2 × outs + 1 = 2 × 9 + 1 = 19%

If you are faced with an all-in or want to go all-in yourself, you can use this to calculate the probability of the turn and river.

4 × outs = 4 × 9 = 36%

More examples with the rule of thumb :

Probability of the turn and river
Outs Example Odds (Turn) Odds (Turn + River)
3 A pair (e.g. you have 1 ace in your hand and 3 aces in your deck). 2 × 3 +1 = 7% 4 × 3 = 12%
8 Straight (Ex. You have 6,7,8,9 and every 4 times 5 and T are in the deck) 2 × 8 + 1 = 17% 4 × 8 = 32%
9 Flush draw as in the example above. 2 × 9 + 1 = 19% 4 × 9 = 36%

Of course, you can use the exact formula, but in the heat of the moment and together with the implied odds I can guarantee you that the rule of thumb will do for you.

Implied odds

This is where experience comes into play. Implied Odds mean nothing other than that you accept further bets in the coming rounds of betting. With that I close the circle and come back to our example:

Earlier I described the pot odds as 5:1, which is 20%. At the same time, you’re sitting on a flush draw on the flop with a 19% chance of the next card, the turn. In fact, you should now fold, giving up the hand because you are 1% short. Of course, you don’t do that!

With the two rounds of betting before and after the river remaining, you can expect a much bigger pot – and therefore a bigger potential win. How much you can ultimately calculate depends heavily on your opponents. Here you need a lot of concentration, a good power of observation, experience and patience for the right situation.

Psychology in Poker game

If you’re playing a live poker tournament, I can’t give you any real advice. Always play live tournaments with buy-ins and tournament wins that don’t make you nervous. As soon as you get nervous, no tip in the world will help you. Approach slowly.

Psychology is also grossly overrated online. Pay attention to how your opponent is playing, and adjust your game. Don’t try tricks and don’t let your emotions guide you. Play like a machine. Analyze, strike. Once you think you’re the shark at the table, I guarantee you’re the fish.

Advanced Poker Strategies

Advanced Poker Strategies are mainly for advanced players. This means that you know the statistical probability in every situation and master the different playing styles.

The bluff

Bluffing is a tool you should only ever use against players you already know well. And then only with caution. At the end of the day, bluffing is all about doing nothing to force the players out of the pot and win it. Bluffing is a dangerous poker strategy that can quickly become expensive if caught.

How do you bluff correctly?

  • Only bluff if you are sure that the opponent has at least as little in hand as you.
  • It is only a bluff if you’ve seen before that this player can easily be pushed out of the hand. However, if such a player cannot be forced to surrender on the turn, it is better to abort.
  • It only bluffs if you play a semi-bluff. Semi-bluffing means you have a flush draw, for example, with a chance of actually promoting your hand to the strongest hand.
  • Don’t bluff because you read cool fancy tricks in another guide before. I promise you, they don’t work, the level at the tables is high now.

GTO Poker

GTO poker is Game Theory Optimal. GTO is sold as the new standard, but at the end of the day GTO means a mathematically correct game and that’s nothing new.

How to play perfect GTO poker?

The concept is complex, dictating specific starting hands in specific situations and positions. If you want to become a so-called winning player, you have to incorporate the following variables into your game:

  • Stack (your chips/cash).
  • Poker variant.
  • A number of players and their stacks.
  • Height of SB and BB.
  • Tournament type and speed (Turbo, Super-Turbo, Spin & Go and so on).
  • Starting hands and position.
  • Zig different betting and behavior patterns of your opponents.
  • Prize money / remaining number of players in tournaments or at cash tables.

All points influence each other. Calculating these is practically impossible, even for the greatest genius. However, through the acquisition of knowledge and endless training, you can get closer to the best values ​​possible. As a holistic concept, GTO helps you to consider all variables. There is now one or other training software that simulates a wide variety of scenarios.

Reading hands

Different betting patterns and the open cards on the table often tell a story. But whether this is true or a lie, often not even Jonathan Frakes will be able to tell you.


You’re more likely to find tells in live tournaments. A tell includes swallowing, scratching, or nervously tapping your leg. You can sometimes see certain betting patterns online.


Poker is similar to chess in some aspects. You think to move ahead, imagining what the other player might be thinking or planning to do. That’s leveling in poker.

Which Poker Strategy Should You Choose?

The right poker strategy depends on several factors:

  • Most importantly: your skills.
  • The size of the stakes / the level of play of the opponents.
  • The poker variant or whether you play video poker in an online casino.
  • The structure of the poker tournament or cash table.

The best poker strategy as a beginner in the casino

  • Calculate your odds. Try to make correct decisions. Don’t be guided by your emotions.
  • Only bluff in exceptional cases or occasionally when you have a lot of outs, like on a flush draw.
  • Don’t overplay your hands, a pair of aces isn’t always good and can be expensive if it’s bad.
  • Watch your opponents. To begin with, look at how many hands a player plays on average. An opponent who plays a lot of hands probably has worse cards than you most of the time.
  • Becoming a winning player isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Poker strategies if you want to play like a pro

If you want to play like a pro, there are many points to consider. The most important thing is the first one:

  • Learn! The world’s best poker strategists are constantly learning, and constantly evolving because the game itself is constantly evolving.
  • Train starting hands. There are various tools and tables for this. ICM / GTO and Co. help further.
  • Know the odds like the back of your hand. Make the right decision in a split second.
  • Emotions don’t exist!
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Video poker strategy

In order to be as successful as possible at video poker, you should consider the following tips:

  • Payout ratio! Be sure to pay attention to the RTP (Return To Player) in video poker. You can find these directly in the video poker game window. The higher the better.
  • Bonus offers! Take advantage of welcome bonuses or other casino offers. Play with a boosted bankroll. Before activating the bonus, however, make sure that video poker contributes to the wagering of the bonus money.
  • Know the rules! Know your chances, your odds. Check the rules of the respective video poker machine in advance. Adjust your poker strategy accordingly.

Strategy in poker tournaments

Poker tournaments are challenging! And just as the game progresses, more and more first-class players try to spit in your soup. Heed our poker tips and especially these three points regarding poker tournament strategies:

  • Start wisely! Study your opponents calmly, and wait for your opportunity. Most tournaments start with small blinds relative to your stack, so you have all the time in the world. The bad players get bored at this stage, they take notes, pay attention and exploit.
  • Pay attention to the position! Especially at the beginning of a tournament, information is the be-all and end-all. In the early position, only play the very strongest hands like AA, AK, KK and so on.
  • The bubble phase is an opportunity! Shortly before the money reaches, fear takes over. Many players become passive in this phase, often including those who were previously very active. You’ve been cautious so far, use your reputation and collect the chips now. Get active at this stage. After all, they want to win and not just take the last spot.

The biggest poker winners and their poker strategies

Any player can land a lucky shot. At least if it’s a small tournament. However, as soon as the number of players and the buy-in increase, skill comes into focus. All the big WSOP winners were more or less lucky, but they all had one thing: class. Below I tell you some of the highest poker wins and the poker strategies of the protagonists.

  • Antonio Esfandiari – $18,346,673
    In 2012 Antonio Esfandiari won this fabulous pot at the WSOP World Championships. Despite being a magician, Esfandiari chose to play it simply throughout the tournament, showing mostly strong hands.
  • Sam Trickett – $10,112,001
    Trickett bagged this fantastic prize at the 2018 WSOP. His game was characterized by his icy coldness, he showed almost no emotion, and never let himself be provoked or tempted to make mistakes.
  • Jamie Gold – $12,000,000
    In 2006, Jamie Gold won the Main Event of the WSOP. His aggressive style of play, which forced his opponents to make mistakes in rows, was outstanding.
  • Hossein Ensan – $10,000,000
    After Pius Heinz, Hossein Ensan was only the second German-speaking winner of the main event of the WSOP. Ensan embodies the modern all-around poker game like a few others and didn’t make any significant mistakes throughout the tournament.

Avoid rookie mistakes, play poker with strategy

Poker is not a game of chance. It’s not uncommon for me to hear the opposite, but at the end of the day, I can calculate the odds in this game. If I toss a coin 1000 times and it’s 50% tails and 50% heads, is that lucky? The difference is that poker is complex, and complicated, with many variables and you have to master them.

In the modern game of poker there are many jargons, many systems, and many jacks of all trades, but let me tell you: learn the basics! The books by Harrington, David Sklansky or Doyle Brunson are our personal gold standard to this day. Hopefully, with the basics outlined in these, I’ve sparked your interest in poker strategy and maybe even improved your game. Heed our poker tips and start practicing!

Poker variants

Anyone who has dealt with gambling in the last 15 years has witnessed a real poker boom. The game, previously seen only in casinos and mafia bars in movies, has gradually become a part of our modern mainstream. Nowadays you can even watch tournaments live on TV. And playing poker yourself has never been easier.

Whether at a tournament in the neighborhood, at your own garden table or online in the live casino, poker friends are now only minutes away from the next exciting game. With so many offers, however, it is easy to lose track. We have therefore compiled the most important poker variants of the popular game so that you can get a better overview of the offers available.

The 10 most popular poker variants that you can play online

There are so many different types of poker. Sometimes you almost get the impression that every provider has its own poker variants in its program. In general, however, a distinction is made between four different basic types: straight, stud poker, draw poker and community card poker. In straight poker, a hand is dealt on which players bet. No more cards or rounds are added. In stud poker, the cards are dealt alternately face down and face down. Draw Poker allows players to swap between any and all cards and draw new ones after being dealt. In community card poker, on the other hand, players have to make the best combination with their hands and a fixed number of face-up community cards. We have listed the most popular poker variants for you here.

  • Texas Hold’em
    If you watch poker on TV or watch famous poker players at work, the poker variant is most likely Texas Hold’em. The most popular types of poker games are offered almost everywhere in the world. What makes the game special is the flexibility. You must form a winning combination using two hand cards and a total of five community cards. There are no restrictions on how you combine which cards. It is less about the actual card value and more about a clever strategy and the use of statistics and psychology. In this way, you can tempt the other players to give up or continue playing at the wrong moment.
  • Omaha Hold’em
    This is the second most popular of the types of poker games commonly offered around the world. The principle of the game is relatively similar to Texas Hold’em. You are dealt two cards and the dealer deals a total of five community cards on the table. It differs from the Texas variant of poker in that you must choose exactly three cards from the community cards to form your hand. This obviously means a little less flexibility, but on the other hand, it makes the game a little more predictable.
  • 7 card stud
    One of the lesser-known but still very popular poker variations is the 7-Card Stud. Before Texas Hold’em took over the world, it was the most popular of the poker variants in the United States. In this variant, each player starts with two face-down cards and one face-up card. Then it is set. Then, over several rounds, the players receive a total of 4 further face-up cards, each with a round of betting attached. In the end, you have to form the best combination from the 7 cards. Since there are no community cards here, the probabilities and, accordingly, the strategies are somewhat different than in Texas or Omaha Hold’em.
  • Five Card Draw
    Various types of poker appear in movies and television. The poker variant that appears the most in classic movies and stories, however, is Five Card Draw. This game forms the basis of our general idea of ​​how poker is played. You can find this version in the popular Lucky Luke comics, for example. Each player receives 5 cards face down. After a round of betting, one to all cards can be exchanged, forming the best possible hand with the last hand. This game usually forms the basis for the largest number of video poker games in online casinos.
  • 3 Card Poker
    Many types of poker are very simple and more like direct comparison games, such as baccarat and blackjack. One of these types of poker games is 3 card poker. You play this game alone against the bank, so other players do not sit at the table. You place a basic bet called an ante. After that, you receive 3 face-down cards. You then decide whether to raise the bet and play against the dealer or to fold the game. The strategic elements are minimal here, there is an optimal strategy to follow. That being said, there are still some side bets you can make depending on the house rules.
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
    Since poker is a very popular game but does not always have multiple players available, casinos have developed several types of poker that you can play alone against the house. Caribbean Stud Poker is such a poker variant that is based on 5 Card Stud Poker. You post an ante and receive 5 cards from the dealer, as does the dealer himself, who represents the bank. The dealer reveals one of his cards. Now you can look at your cards and decide whether to continue playing or not. The dealer and player then compare their hands and the winner is determined.
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
    This game is a casino game that you play against the bank. The basic principle is comparable to regular Texas Hold’em. You must make the best combination of two hand cards and 5 community cards. There are a number of rules on how you can place and increase your bet. As this is a casino game, keep in mind that there is a house edge of around 2% here. So you have a statistical disadvantage compared to the bank. However, similar to the game’s famous cousin, you can use an element of strategy to your advantage, making the odds a bit fairer.
  • Chinese Poker
    This poker variant contains a high element of luck, which is why even less experienced players stand a good chance against experienced pros, at least in the short term. You are dealt 13 cards and form 3 different hands, two with 5 cards and one with 3 cards. Then place your bet if you want to play your hand. The hands are then gradually compared to the other players in a specific order. There are various rules that can lead to a direct victory under certain circumstances.
  • Fixed Limit Poker
    This is not directly a poker variant, which differs in the basic rules. Rather, it’s a rule that can be added to almost all poker variants. In principle, this rule determines how high a bet may be. There are often two bets per table, one low and one high. A 10/20 table means that you have to bet $10 in the first two betting rounds and $20 in the last two. There are various reasons for this. On the one hand, a low limit allows players with a low budget to participate in the game and not lose all their belongings in just a few rounds. A high limit, on the other hand, ensures that only competent players with a high budget sit at the table. This is often the case at VIP tables.
  • High Chicago/Low Chicago
    This type of poker is a good example of what the game looks like when side bets are included. Basically, it is a regular poker game according to the rules of your choice. The difference here, however, is that in Chicago High, the player with the highest spade card gets half the pot. In Low Chicago, on the other hand, it’s the player with the lowest spade card. The rest of the game does not change in principle and course.

Which Poker Variations Suit You Best?

As you can see, there are many different types of poker. Finding the right one for yourself is often a challenge as the range can be so overwhelming. Before making your decision, you should be clear about what your goal is and what kind of play you prefer. Are you more of a gambler, concerned with betting strategies and prefer playing against the bank? Or are you a hobby psychologist who uses clever tricks to win the round of poker in your circle of friends? In any case, you should familiarize yourself well with the rules of the game. The issue of strategy is also crucial. So don’t just play for luck. Gut feeling is not a good advisor when you can rely on statistics instead.

The types of poker games with the lowest house edge

If you enjoy playing against the bank, the issue of house edge is crucial. We would like to briefly explain this concept at this point. All casino games that take place against the bank contain a statistical advantage for the bank. The reason is that casinos want to make a profit in the long run, after all they are commercial companies. Therefore, all casino games contain a game mechanic that ensures that the casino wins more than it loses in the long run. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a profit. However, you must factor this reality into your betting strategy.

Types of poker with the lowest house edge :

  • Video Poker: from 0.5%
  • Three Card Poker: 1.5%
  • Pai Gow Poker: 2.5%
  • Caribbean Stud Poker: 5%

Poker variations with the highest payout percentage

In addition to the house edge, there is the payout percentage that you should consider when choosing the right poker variant. This is the statistical amount you will get back over the long term based on your bet. This means that if you bet $100 and the payout percentage is 90%, you win back around $90. However, it is important to remember that this is purely a statistic. It makes no statement as to whether you actually win or not. Even if the odds are high, it won’t do you any good if you lose 100 games in a row.

  • Deuces Wild – 100.76%
  • Joker Wild – 100.65%
  • Double Bonus – 100.17%
  • Loose Deuces Wild – 100.15%
  • Double Double Bonus – 100.07%
  • One-Eyed Jacks – 99.98%
  • Deuces Wild 44 – 99.96%
  • Super Aces – 99.94%
  • Triple Deuces Wild – 99.92%
  • Double Joker Wild – 99.91%
  • Illinois Deuces – 99.91%
  • Not So Ugly Deuces – 99.73%
  • 9/6 Jacks or Better – 99.54%
  • 8/5 Bonus Poker – 99.17%

Which poker variant should you try if you are a beginner?

Poker variants that are simply structured are recommended, especially for beginners, so that you can get used to the rules and the flow of the game. While Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant, the game can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially for beginners. Therefore, other types of poker are more appropriate to give you a better understanding of card values.

  • Three Card Poker: as a pure betting game, you don’t have to focus on many details at once.
  • 5-Card Draw: This very simple poker variant has a moderate element of strategy that you can use to hone your skills.
  • Caribbean Stud: since the game is played against the bank, the dealer’s behavior is a bit more predictable. Bluffing and similar maneuvers are minimized here.

That’s what the pros play

It is also evident among professional gamblers: not all professionals play the same game. The choice depends very much on the objective and what the individual player sees as their personal strengths.

  • Texas Hold’em: the most popular variant of poker not only offers professional players many opportunities to sharpen their own skills, but also lucrative games such as tournaments or VIP tables.
  • Omaha Hold’em: since this poker variant is similarly popular, there are also many professional players here.
  • Video Poker: Many types of poker are very popular in online casinos, especially among gamblers. This is partly due to the often low house edge and the high payout rate, which can sometimes even exceed 100%.

Better stay away from these poker variants

It is difficult to say which types of poker are less suitable for long-term use. In general, however, one can say that you should rather stay away from poker variants that you do not understand or whose rules you are not familiar with. Therefore, it is a more complex game with a high strategic component that we would not necessarily recommend.

  • Texas Hold’em: although very popular and widespread, the game is extremely complex and requires a great deal of knowledge and commitment. Only play when you feel safe.
  • Pot Limit Omaha: the basic principle seems rather simple at first. However, due to the 4 hand cards and 5 community cards, there are a number of statistical possibilities that make the game extremely complex.
  • HORSE Poker: in this poker variant, 5 different types of poker are played alternately. This means that you must be intimately familiar with all 5 games. Even hard-nosed professionals can start to skid with this variant.

Online Poker for every taste

Now that we have introduced and explained a lot of online poker variants to you, we hope that you will have a good time finding a variant that appeals to you. Just try different variations. And with a good poker strategy and a bit of luck, the fun world of online poker opens up to you.

How to improve your game in Online Poker

There are a few things you can do from day one to improve your chances of winning at the poker table, whether it’s a land-based or online casino table.

  • When the fun stops, stop playing.
    Tilting is a word used to describe players who are not in an optimal state of mind. They’re more reckless, irritable, and generally don’t have fun. Playing poker should be fun. Once it stops being an entertaining experience, you should stop playing. This also applies to all casino games.
  • Learn Optimal Game Theory (GTO).
    GTO is a strategy where you try to optimize each game using mathematical models. It’s easier said than done, but understanding the basics could greatly improve your results at the poker table. The core goal of GTO is to become unreadable. In this respect, it is more of an ideal than a really achievable result.
  • Play fewer, but more aggressive hands.
    New players tend to play conservatively, hoping to stay in the game longer, or too aggressively, trying to play every hand. Learning what hands to play and what to bet on can give you an edge over more experienced players.
  • Be patient.
    Playing aggressively doesn’t mean wasting all of your chips on every hand. The vast majority of hands are not worth playing. This means that low-key poker can be beneficial to even the most energetic of players.
  • Know your opponent.
    A “fish” is an obvious newcomer. A golden rule is that if you can’t spot a weak opponent at your table, it’s probably you. In such a case, you (and your bankroll) may benefit from trying a different game or coming back later when you have more experience.
  • Practice for free.
    One of the most overlooked features of casino sites is the demo modes available at cash games. These allow players to play for fun or practice their skills without the risk of losing their bankroll or a position on a leaderboard. However, the casino may require the player to create an account first. Sites offering online poker may also include free access to video poker and other non-tournament-related games.
  • Watch streamers for new tips.
    Poker and Twitch form a meaningful symbiosis. Many poker players have registered on the streaming platform, offering everything from training to simple entertainment. Top streamers in the poker category include Spraggy with 365,329 hours, ZerosPoker and Russian player ALOHADANCETV. There are many other streamers playing poker on Twitch, but it can sometimes be difficult to align their schedules with your own.

Play online poker on your mobile

Smartphones have been a boon to poker as they have been to other video games. However, the increasing availability of the mobile internet has meant that bandwidth-intensive entertainment such as streaming TV and online poker can now also be enjoyed on the go. While mobile poker rooms may not have as much screen real estate as desktop or tablet-based ones, apps still offer a complete casino experience.

You can usually find your favorite casino’s app on the Play Store or the App Store, although their presence in each store is sometimes influenced by local online gambling legislation and is therefore not equally available in every country. However, the Canadian market already offers a wealth of different apps in the respective online marketplaces.

For example:

  • Vulkan Vegas Casino App
  • Mr. Green Live Casino & Sportsbook App

Popular online poker providers

There are a large number of developers for slots, blackjack and roulette. Major live casino studios like Evolution and Playtech have taken this popular game to a new dimension by adapting it to the live studio. Each poker variant the creators have come up with has its own special rules with exciting gameplay twists that will keep players hooked for hours.

We visited Vulkan Vegas Casino, a platform with a well-established live casino, and took a closer look at the online poker selection. Among the games we found:

  • 2 Hand Casino Hold’em
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
  • Three Card Poker
  • Caribbean stud poker

Yes. Several licensed gaming platforms offer the opportunity to play video poker for free. And sometimes even without creating an account, in demo mode.

Yes. At some casinos, you can set up your own private table and play with friends for just play money.

Online poker can be played in most Austrian online casinos that have a live casino section. To view the online poker tables available, go to this category and choose a table that suits your playing style and budget.

No. Gambling winnings are not taxable in Canada. This includes money won or lost playing online poker games.

An early form of poker was first mentioned in 1829 in New Orleans, USA. However, the game was much easier as players bet on the value of the hands.

As discussed earlier in this guide, the best hands for a poker game are royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, and a flush.

There is no guaranteed strategy to win in poker. However, you can design your own game in such a way that the chances of making a profit are higher. This is less about the card values ​​and more about psychology and strategy.

There are different odds on different hands. They depend on when you are viewing the game. The odds for a three-of-a-kind are only moderate at the beginning, but increase as the game progresses until the river. If in doubt, you can consult a poker odds calculator.

The best type of poker basically depends on your taste. It depends if you prefer a gambling game or a strategy game. The most popular and widespread variants are definitely Texas Hold'em and Omaha Hold'em.

Read this guide, play poker, and read related literature. Realize that there is more to learning than playing when you start out - poker is an extremely complex game.

There is no best poker strategy. Play correctly, play your fellow players, find your style and above all: leave your emotions out.

That depends on what kind of poker you want to play. You can only play online poker against other players at certain online casinos. Most online casinos offer video poker.

Since poker always has a gambling component, there is no guarantee of winning. But compared to other casino games, strategy is a lot more important here. So familiarize yourself with the most important poker strategies if you want to make a profit.

It is best to start with a variant that is relatively easy. We recommend the versions that work without community cards. These are usually more simply structured and less confusing.

There are numerous games with a house edge, but only if you're playing against the house. In tournaments or private games, of course, there is no house edge since you are not playing against the house.

Herman Brooker
Herman Brooker
Senior editor at

Herman Brooker is a Senior editor at with a passion for online gambling. Present for many years in the world of casino games, he uses its expertise and experience to produce quality content to inform players abount news in gambling world.

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Herman Brooker Updated: July 7th, 2024